The Orange Unified School District is casting a communitywide safety net to catch youngsters who fail to grasp the essentials of reading by the third grade.
Each of the district's 26 elementary schools has drafted a "literacy plan" to aid students who aren't reading at their appropriate grade levels.
The program, which will cost $180,000 to start, is receiving state funds allocated for serving "at-risk" students.
Schools intend to call upon volunteers, professionals and business people in the district to help tutor the children, according to Nancy Young, coordinator of elementary curriculum.
The program has several parts, chief among them identifying students who are not reading adequately by the third grade--considered by educators to be a crucial time for setting lifetime reading skills.
While the program starts with the new school year in July, Young and a committee of principals, teachers and administrators have been analyzing reports and conducting workshops on the issue since last fall.
Schools will train parents as well as professionals in the community to learn how to tutor and mentor students, Young said.
Primary teachers will attend a series of early literacy workshops and seminars to learn how to target poor readers and evaluate their progress as they go through the system.