"It doesn't matter about their grade level as much as meeting their reading needs," said Director of Elementary Curriculum Buffy Williams. "... The teachers who are in here [in the morning session] are actually in a reading enrichment class in the afternoon, but they're doing a practicum in the morning, and so we have middle school teachers working with elementary students, elementary teachers working with middle school students -- we try to put them with different grade levels."
The program, called Intervention Convention, is made possible through the county's Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Grant received in the spring, which totals $3.9 million.
Teachers at Intervention Convention include Scott Evans of Cass Middle School, who, for example, has worked with rising fifth- and sixth-graders teaching the RAP strategy for reading comprehension.
The acronym RAP stands for, "Read a paragraph; Ask yourself what were the main ideas and details in the paragraph; and Put the main idea and details in your own words."
"The kids are just loving [Intervention Convention] and the parents are thrilled," Literacy Specialist Barbara Neslin said.
Even though the system used the grant money to incorporate technology into the reading program by purchasing Macbook Air computers for the instructors, Neslin said the program also targets common areas of weakness that exist in the classroom that transcend into daily life.
"We're using a lot of level texts with our core reading program that are informational in nature because as we're switching into the Common Core State Standards, we're looking more at teaching kids to read the informational text and particularly a weakness nationwide is interpreting and using graphic features of that text, like maps," Neslin said.
South Central Middle School teacher Beth Rushing, for example, had students design their own map of travelers who explored Florida.
"[The map] is a visual kinesthetic as they work through it and they'll be able to summarize the key ideas," Neslin said.
Upcoming Kingston Elementary School fifth-grader Hayden Nowlin created a timeline of Christopher Columbus' travels as a visual representation of what he learned while reading through course material. Neslin and Williams said he raised his reading score 22 points in one day.
"When I was in fourth grade and in third grade, they said I was under the reading standard and not where I was supposed to be," Nowlin said. "Now that I've done reading here I'm past the fifth-grade reading standard."
The program ended Thursday and more than 300 students applied for seats.