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Program Helps Students Improve Reading Skills

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Chatham County students who are struggling with reading are getting help fine-tuning their skills. The Savannah Chatham County Public School System's Reading on Grade Level summer program is focusing on addressing problems early.

Teachers around the district selected about 150 incoming students, kindergarten to third graders, who needed a little more work with reading. 

The goal is to not only make sure these students aren't being left in the dust but also to show them how reading can be fun.

"If we can just teach them to enjoy and not be afraid of our language and learn our vocabulary words, I think they will be good," said teacher Rosemary Clark.

The more comfortable students get with reading the less scary it can seem.

"I'm learning new letter sounds and new vocabulary words," said student McKenzie Ingram.

The 8-year-old's new favorite word is melodramatic.

"That you're acting like a drama queen" said Ingram.

The Reading on Grade Level principal said it's important for students to have the skills for that subject at least by the third grade.

"The district is really embracing the fact that children shouldn't be moved along the line just because they are supposed to be in that grade," said ROGL Principal, Sharon Draeger.

Sharon Draeger goes on to say when kids aren't getting it, it can be all too easy for them just to give up. 

"We have some major competition out there with video games, and computers, and cartoons, and everything else, and reading isn't as exciting to them because for some of them it's actually a struggle. It's work," said Draeger.

With the individual attention, the teachers are seeing some great results. 

I'm just pointing [to the letter] and they're happy, just enjoying it, it's kind of fun, and they are doing it on their own. We are handing it off now," said Clark.

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