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FCS tackles ‘summer slide’ with required reading camps

Some parents have been concerned about their children falling behind in school because of COVID-19, but the Alabama Literacy Act will require school systems to hold a program in the summer to help close this gap in reading for kindergarten through third-graders.

At the most recent Franklin County Schools Board of Education, Superintendent Greg Hamilton said preparations are being made for summer reading camp, which will help ensure students are reading at or above grade level.

“We made early preparations for this last August because we knew this was coming,” Hamilton said.

The summer reading camp will consist of five weeks to total the legally required 70 hours of instruction.

Students will attend four days a week during the weeks of June 7, June 14, June 21, July 12 and July 19.

All Franklin County campuses will be open for these camps, with buses providing transportation to students.

FCBOE is posting the positions for 19 teachers to ensure a 10 student cap for each teacher.

All teachers for the summer camp must be qualified in the science of reading; Hamilton said Franklin County is one of the few areas where almost all teachers are qualified.

Hamilton said FCS began training teachers three years ago in the science of reading because of a grant.

“Now that (the literacy act) has become law, this is really going to help us because there is a huge waiting list of teachers to get trained,” Hamilton said.

FCBOE sent out letters to parents of students in grades kindergarten through third to assess who would be interested in attending summer reading camps, and 150 students across the county expressed interest.

Some board members raised questions about whether students with low reading scores were legally required to attend the summer reading camps through the new literacy act. Hamilton said by law the county has to offer the summer reading camp but cannot force students to attend – only recommend based on reading scores.

Hamilton said he expects to begin work to prepare for summer school for grades seven through 12 in the upcoming weeks, for which he anticipates a larger-than-normal enrollment.