FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Unified School District is making sure no students fall behind with their reading skills this summer.
Norwood Mccoy finished the 2nd grade just weeks ago, but he's already reading between a 3rd and 4th grade level thanks to the summers he's spent in the summer literacy program.
"We noticed an improvement in his reading," said his mom Kimberly Mccoy. "We noticed that he was able to pronounce to us big words instead of just his sight words."
Mccoy says even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this summer is no exception.
"They do a lot of storytelling," added Mccoy. "They do a lot of writing after they read the book and then they talk about the book."
"We do writing, reading and spelling words and spelling out sounds," added Norwood Mccoy.
Over 700 Fresno Unified students are part of the African American Academic Acceleration's' summer literacy program.
"Looking at the data, I could see African American kids were below level in reading and if we're going to academically accelerate children they need to be able to read well," said FUSD Executive Director of School Leadership for the Office of African American Academic Acceleration Wendy McCulley. That's the basic building block."
When the pandemic hit, staff simply found ways to switch the format to online with daily readings with teachers, small group lessons and family workshops.
"Kids come away wanting to write their own books, reading more books, being engaged in more books," added McCulley.
In its first year Fresno Unified had the highest reading growth out of all the districts who participated in the program nationwide.