Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017

If you visit Bell’s Crossing Elementary School this summer, you’ll find 50 or 60 students reading from a treasure trove of books available in classrooms, the media center, and around the school. They’re participating in Read to Succeed, a state program that provides struggling young readers with strategies to boost their reading levels.

In Greenville County Schools, the program is underway at four elementary schools – Alexander, Bell’s Crossing, Pelham Road, and Robert E. Cashion elementary schools. Under the umbrella of The Royalty Within Me, students are immersed in “royal” reading and writing activities for five weeks. They’ll participate in field trips tied to the theme, including Medieval Times and Biltmore House. A coronation ceremony will be held at each school the week of July 17.

Teachers use strategies to find out what’s “royal” or special about each student and what makes them unique and different. Students discover their talents along the way, leading to a more positive self-image.

“We provide an environment that doesn’t feel like school but teachers are doing a lot of school things. It feels like camp,” explained Josh Rice, Camp Site Administrator at Bell’s Crossing Elementary. “The kids come back because of their true heroes, the teachers. They work hard with these students every day.”

Within the classrooms, students are working with their teachers one-on-one and in small groups on reading and writing strategies. Kobie Wilkerson, an author from the Columbia area, was invited to join the students and staff to develop reading skills and unique ways of writing. Wilkerson is the author of the children’s book, Read Like Royalty- Queen Infinity.

“We want to make sure students stay where they were at the end of the school year, or they make progress, which is our goal,” said Rice. “Nearly 100 percent of our students make progress by the end of the summer.”

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