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School day about get longer for some elementary students Andrew Capasso, First Coast News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Department of Education says dozens of schools in Duval County need to improve when it comes to reading. That's why students in more than 40 schools will have an extra hour of reading time every day starting next school year.

It's a program that's been around for several years across the state. Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti says schools with the program in place see results.

"The majority of schools saw an increase with the number of students reading at grade level and showed learning gains," he said.

For the past several years, the Florida Department of Education required the lowest 100 performing schools to add the time. That program has expanded to the lowest 300 schools. Dr. Vitti says it impacts about 40 schools, and an additional 11 that are seeing sagging scores. The price tag for the extra hour is between $8 million and $10 million.

"We're going to have to switch things around in our budget to make it happen," he said.

Dr. Vitti says in some cases, an hour is added to the school day. In other situations, the 60 minutes is made up during part of the existing school day. He says though that is still in the works, it's a good chance to students to improve once the plan is in place.

"A lot of students are not being read to at home, not being exposed to the right vocabulary, and they're behind, so this allows us to catch up," he said.

Parents with children in impacted schools will be notified this week. Meetings will be set ahead of the start of school to answer any questions parents have.

To see the list of grades Elementary Schools received, and the lowest performing schools in Duval County, click here.

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