Leon County School Officials Look Into Summer FCAT Reading Camps

Roughly 20 percent are in jeopardy of being held back. Three hundred plus students failed to tame the FCAT. The silver lining is this isn't the end of the road. The kids still have another chance to make par.

Just Read Florida, three simple words, but is seems this act is easier said than done. Initial FCAT figures show roughly 32,000 third graders can't read at grade level, which means instead of spending their summer in the sun, thousands will be heading to reading camp.

In Florida, failing the third grade FCAT means chances are you won't be making roll call in the fourth unless you conquer camp. Even then it's not a guarantee.

"The point of camp is to ensure students leave better readers not necessarily master skills for the fourth grade," says Mackay Jimeson from the Florida Department of Education.

Setting up the camp's intensive instruction falls to the district as well as funding. The state supplies the supervision. Most people agree the camps give kids another opportunity to be successful students.

Sharon Davis, a Tallahassee resident, says, "I think that it's very good because it will give them a chance to do better. There's a lot of pressure to take the test and this is there to help them."

Florida Department of Education officials say the numbers are still preliminary as to how many third graders failed the FCAT and will be held back because they waiting on other factors like SAT 9 test scores and portfolio's.

The camp will run for six weeks and will resemble last year's format, which the district found to be successful.