Reading Camp

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Leon County sixth graders are exercising their minds with a vocabulary workout. It's all part of a summer session for struggling sixth grade students.

Patricia Rouse, a reading coach at Belle Vue Middle School, says, "Should have been thought of a long time ago; perfect segue into school year, because leave with greater confidence."

The sixth grade summer reading academy is a first for Leon County and one of only a few statewide. It mirrors the third grade reading academies designed to give students who score a level one on the FCAT a second chance.

Bill Montford, Superintendent of Leon County Schools, says, "[We] see more difficulty in middle school grades than any other grades. [The] best thing [is it] lets us identify sixth graders so [there’s] more success in middle school."

Besides boosting academic achievement, the academies boost a student's self-confidence. Each sixth grader is grouped with other kids who earned similar scores.

Laura Joanas, a teacher, says, "Makes me feel good as a teacher, but to see them improve, is the best. [It] builds self confidence and [they] see they can do it."

Numbers show they can do it as well; 38 of the 162 sixth graders tested are now eligible for the seventh grade.

Since the sixth grade reading academies have been so successful, Leon County school leaders are looking at expanding the camps to other grades in the future.