LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Some JCPS students are back in class, improving their reading skills as part of a special endeavor called the Summer Boost program, in which teachers are reading with students, both in groups and one-on-one.

Five-hundred incoming first and second graders from 54 JCPS Title I elementary schools are getting extra help on reading including Justin Bennett.

"Well. I've been...learning about seeds and plants," Bennett said.

Students are attending one of four elementary schools -- including Sanders Elementary -- for the four-week program. It's a half-day, and includes breakfast and lunch and bus transportation. It's aimed at avoiding the summer slump or "brain drain."

"They'll be able to jump right in when school starts and work with vocabulary, phonemic awareness and phonics and comprehension for reading and fluency," said Maria Carrico, a Title I Component Specialist.

This was a pilot program last year with just 100 students. It was so successful, JCPS says it decided to expand it, but only 14 students are selected from each of the Title I Elementary Schools.

But for some, 14 students might not seem like enough to make a difference.

"It doesn't unless you think about 500 students district-wide that's of impact that we can hope to expand in the future," said Mary Beth Stevens, a Reading Recovery Teacher Leader.

The district says the price tag for this is about $780,000 from the JCPS Title I Budget.

"I think it's an excellent use of funds because it makes a difference in children's achievement," Stevens said. "It's really focused on providing them with expert teaching. It's not a program. It's matching our neediest kids with our highest trained teachers."

The goal is to catch struggling students early before they reach third grade when the state accountability testing starts.

Educators are trying to make spending summer time at school fun and these kids seem to enjoy it. And before we left, Bennett made WDRB a picture as he practiced reading and writing.

Bennett read, "I like to be on TV."

The Summer Boost program runs through July 31. It gives students about a week-and-a-half break before school officially starts.

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