Orange County schools start off year with reading classes

Rock Lake Elementary School embraces legislature requirement

ORLANDO, Fla. - Several Orange County schools implemented new changes starting the first day of school, by adding supplemental reading classes.

Rock Lake is one of the six Orange County elementary schools that scored among the lowest in the state on the state's reading test, along with Lancaster, Mollie Ray, Pine Hills, Washington Shores, and Wheatley.

All of the schools were ordered by the legislature to add 30 minutes to the first half of the day and 30 minutes to the end of the day with the goal of using the extra time to work on the weaknesses.

Rock Lake principal Lynne Wassatt says her student body has a unique set of circumstances with 96 percent of students qualifying for the free lunch program and nearly thirty percent of the students are homeless.

"It's difficult to focus on literature when your struggling to put dinner on the table or looking for a place to live," she said.

Wassatt says it is not an excuse but an explanation that sometimes personal circumstances take priority over homework. The faculty and parents hope the extra hour will help.

"I think it will benefit them," said parent Della Kirkland. "I think it will be perfect."

Last year about 31 percent of the student body read at grade level. The school hopes the extra hour of reading will help increase that number.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.