Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Duval Students Have Summer School to Help with Reading; Students Who Need It in Kindergarten through Second Grade Have to Go

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Duval Students Have Summer School to Help with Reading; Students Who Need It in Kindergarten through Second Grade Have to Go

Article excerpt

Byline: Khristopher J. Brooks

Amy Terry's kindergarten son, Dylan, has been struggling with reading these past few months.

"My gut says send him to summer school because Dylan struggled the whole year," Terry said. "He doesn't know half of his alphabet. I mean, he can say them, but when you show him a letter, he can't tell you what it is."

As Dylan continued his struggle this year, his mom went back and forth on sending him to summer school. Dylan said he doesn't want to go; he'd rather go swimming or to a summer camp.

Then, on Thursday morning, Terry opened Dylan's bookbag and saw a letter from Duval County Public Schools. She read it and realized that Dylan's summer had already been decided.

Students in kindergarten through second grade who are not reading at grade level are now required to attend summer school.

The requirement applies to Duval students only. In coming days, many Jacksonville parents like Terry will have to decide whether to send their children for extra reading instruction or keep them at home and, in essence, have them held back.

The school district has yet to determine how many students will need summer reading help. Officials should have a concrete figure early next week.

One school district official said the district made the change so educators could fix poor reading skills early in a student's life.

"If we get kids reading on grade level early, they're going to hopefully be reading at level throughout their years," said Kathryn LeRoy, the district's chief academic services officer. "If we can't catch them up in these years, it's an uphill battle the whole way through."

LeRoy said the district adopted the summer school requirement last November and letters were mailed home to notify parents of students in grades K-2.

The summer school program is not a pass-or-fail setup, LeRoy said. …

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