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East Nashville Hope Exchange Begins Summer Reading Program

As this article posts, elementary students from East Nashville are participating in one of the country’s most innovative summer reading programs. Over a six week period, these students will increase their reading levels while taking exciting field trips, creating compelling art projects, engaging with a diverse cohort of guest readers, and asking essential questions about their own place in the world that, frankly, more adults should ask themselves.

Each week of the program focuses on an essential question. For example, in Week Three, students consider “What are the roles and responsibilities of people in a family/community/world?” with regard to government. That’s pretty heady stuff for the second grade. So how do they do it?

Week Three projects include 4th of July arts and crafts, acting workshops, and work on a major visual art project, the 'Silhouette Cipher Project',with artist Brandon Williams. In mural form, students will fill in silhouettes of their bodies with poems, song lyrics, colorful symbols and iconography dealing with the meaning of family, community, and their aspirations in life. Their fieldtrip will include a tour of Downtown Nashville to City Hall and the State Capitol. Along the way they will engage with Guest Readers including Mayor Karl Dean, First Lady Crissy Haslam, retired military Sgt. Betty Wade, and YMCA Executive Lonnell Matthews.

An overwhelming number of students, all considered to be at risk, show dramatic increases in reading and analytical skills. Humanities Tennessee is proud to sponsor the summer reading program of the East Nashville Hope Exchange.