Happily ever after: Tabernacle Baptist wraps up reading program

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Selma Times-Journal

Tabernacle Baptist Church, pastored by the Rev. Rodney Morton, was bubbling over with enthusiasm as they wrapped up a five-day summer reading program.

The Reading Campaign Enrichment Program was held June 5-29 from 9 a.m. until noon. There was so much positive energy coming from students and teachers, it was hard to believe that a school-like program was taking place.

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“Reading is a life skill,” Marcia Davis said.

According to program coordinator Vanessa Goodwin, 92 students participated in the program. Selma High, Clark Elementary, Meadowview Christian, Bruce K. Craig, Knox Elementary, Edgewood and Payne Elementary were some of the area schools represented.

Davis, a fourth grade teacher at Payne Elementary School, was one of the many teachers volunteering their time this summer. She had an energetic group of soon-to-be fifth graders who were having fun learning about Christopher Columbus, antonyms, synonyms, the parts of a story and compound words.

“The most important thing about reading is you gain knowledge,” Davis said. “Anything you need, you can find it in a book.”

Angela Smiley, a fourth grade teacher at Payne, taught fourth and fifth graders about homophone, conclusion and verbs. The class was eager to show off the Freedom Quilt they made from construction paper cutouts after reading a book about quilting. The class said they enjoyed the program and it was better than school because “you get out before 3 o’clock.”

Joyce Whitely, a former teacher in the Dallas County School System, taught first and second graders. They learned how to share by reading “The Rainbow Fish” and created a color and cutout project after reading “The Old Lady Who Swallowed the Fly.”

Ovetta Suttles, a fourth grade teacher at Clark Elementary School, was impressed with the skills of her students.

“They’re comprehension skills are very good,” she said.

Her class had story time and wrote about their 10 favorite things.

“They’re enjoying it,” she said.

All hands went up in Alida Hines’ class when asked what they learned.

“We learned how to play a game with antonyms,” one student said.

“We learned how to make art and crafts,” another said.

Hines does not teach in the school system, but said she was an avid reader as a child and knows how important reading skills are in a child’s development, academically and otherwise.

“We teach them to pronounce words correctly, correct their grammar, speak better and read better,” she said. “They’re some good kids.”

Hands were flying up in Mamie Thomas’ class. A retired federal employee, Thomas is now a substitute teacher in the Selma City School System and said she is known for being “a no nonsense teacher.”

“I love children,” she said.

Thomas’ class was comprised of seventh through 11th graders and one college student.

Selma High students Darrius Thomas and Jazmine Tripp, both 16, received help with the Alabama High School Graduation Exam. Both students said they enjoyed the program and thought it was needed.

“You don’t get that much attention (in a regular classroom),” Darrius said.

Brittany Thomas and Asia Riviere, both 10, were two of many students participating in the program who were from out-of-state.

Brittany is from Atlanta, Ga. and Asia is from Memphis, Tenn. Both are visiting relatives for the summer and have participated in the program before. They said they look forward to the program and keep in touch when they go back home.

Each student received a “Readers are Leaders” certificate of participation and a book at the end of the program and was encouraged to keep applying what they’ve learned.

Tabernacle is planning a similar mathematics program in July.

“We can’t wait for the math,” Brittany said.