An intense summer reading academy started Monday for Oklahoma City Public Schools.
The district said the third graders enrolled in the program are lacking some of the critical skills needed to move on to 4th grade. OKCPS offered the 3rd grade reading academy to 1,200 students for free.
Highly-qualified teachers are leading students through two weeks of intensive reading instruction.
“Any student who we decided would benefit from that we had a meeting with parents and together, we decided to place them in reading academy,” said Glenna Berry, Willow Brook Elementary Principal.
Reading scores revealed about 28 percent of OKCPS third graders scored unsatisfactory on the state test. The reading academy is one of five summer school opportunities the district created to boost student scores.
Students who scored unsatisfactory have this summer to take alternate tests and attend summer reading academies. Teachers can provide portfolios of a child's work to show he or she can read at grade level.
“To get a child excited about reading, you have to be excited about reading and that excitement shows through and it gets them excited,” explained Berry.
Kids get homework each day and the district hopes the learning doesn't stop when students leave school.
“Helping with that at home by continuing to read with students would be the biggest benefit,” said Berry.
At the end of the academy, the third graders will take a test to see if they can move on to fourth grade. If the students in the reading academy do not pass the test, they still have a few more options to improve their reading skills and advance to the 4th grade.