Tulsa Third-Graders Getting Extra Reading Help In Summer School

Monday, June 16th 2014, 7:01 pm
By: Emory Bryan

Tulsa Public schools started summer classes Monday. All grades are involved, but third-grade reading classes are getting extra attention.

At Anderson Elementary, a majority of the children didn't pass the state reading test, so they'll repeat third grade. That's unless they can get their skills up through summer school.

In Gaylin Zajic's class - the next four weeks will be spent on just one subject.

"No PE, no recess, no music, just reading, only reading because we want them to be successful," said third-grade reading teacher Gaylin Zajic.

Each student comes in with a challenge to succeed quickly. They'll be held back in third grade unless they can make progress and pass a test to prove it.

"Some of them just need that extra time, and push and extra time on reading - and less time on TV or video games - and just concentrate on reading," Zajic said.

6/13/2014 Related Story: Union Summer School Putting Strong Emphasis On Reading

The class is divided into small groups. Some read with the teacher. Some read on tablets and play reading games.

Some work computers taking a literacy course called "System 44" - the same program they use during the regular school year.

"By continuing it on to the summer, they're continuing with something they know, and there's no time loss trying to learn a program, but also they can continue where they left off and continue their growth," said Natalie Hutto, TPS Reading Academy Coordinator.

Natalie Hutto is coordinating the reading academies for the summer. It's a half-day program with 600 children enrolled across the district. She's confident many children are close to meeting the standard, but says even those who don't, will get ahead.

"Truthfully they're going to be retained now, so any growth we get will have them just that much further along if they're in third grade," she said.

The reading academy students will take a test at the end of summer school - and have two other opportunities after that to pass - and advance to fourth grade as competent readers.

Students can take the test in July and August before school starts. Some will be able to advance to fourth grade for their other classes - but then get extra help with reading so they can get caught up.