BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - It may be some of the most important time ever spent over the summer for 40 students involved in Pathway to Graduation.
The program is a partnership between Jefferson County Schools, Samford University and the Jefferson, Blount, and St. Clair counties' mental health agency.
Pathway to Graduation targets struggling readers in 5th through 8th grades.
Zoe Cupps will be in the fifth grade this fall.
"Cause I was kinda good at reading, but this helps me get better at reading," Cupps said.
Mary Beth Malone is one of the coordinators with Jefferson County Schools.
"We really try to choose students that would benefit from intensive reading instruction," Malone said.
"We really just work on all the components of reading. That includes reading comprehension, decoding, vocabulary and reading fluency," Malone added.
Tyler Hicks was worried about missing camp this summer but says he likes being part of Pathway and coming to a college campus.
"I like the program because I got the nicest teachers and I like what we do in our decoding and fluency and we get into small groups and we work together and we try to figure the problem out," Hicks said.
The college part goes two ways. It teaches younger students to dream of a future and furthering their education and it gives students in Samford's School of Education valuable experience.
The program was born three years ago when Jefferson County school administrators discovered a number of students in family court for behavioral problems were poor readers. They realized those poor readers were acting out to mask their poor performance in school.
Administrators will be monitoring the students' achievement in school to help determine the program effectiveness.