Graduate students enrich children's reading skills

Reading Practicum has aided area students for more than 20 years | July 18, 2005

It may be summer, but students still fill many University classrooms. However, there is one group of students that is a bit young for college. They are part of Xavier’s Reading Practicum, a program that has been going on for more than 20 years.

The Reading Practicum not only helps K-12 students enhance their reading skills, but also helps graduate students work on reading strategies in a real-classroom situation.

Students who attend the two-week program come from local area schools and receive reading, writing, speaking and listening enrichment and remediation. This year 85 students are attending the practicum, which takes place at the Cohen Center. The students are recommended for the program by their teachers.

Students don’t study in ordinary classrooms either. They do a lot of hands-on projects, play Jeopardy!-like games, read while sitting in a sleeping bag and more. Most of all they have a lot of fun.

“We have classrooms that include the theme of camping, space and even the ocean,” says Sally Barnhart, clinical faculty member and director for the reading practicum. “This exciting environment helps open up the world of literacy to the students.”

The practicum is also designed to help Xavier graduate students prepare to get their Ohio reading teachers license. The students are already licensed teachers in such fields as early childhood, middle childhood, special education and Montessori. This year about 50 Xavier graduate students are taking part in the program. Leslie Prosak-Beres, who’s been the director for Xavier’s reading program for undergraduates and graduates for 18 years, points out that the program also emphasizes the ability to work with teachers, administrators, and other professionals to improve and coordinate the total reading program of a school.

“The Xavier reading department is invested in our area schools,” says Barnhart. “We feel our partnership with the schools and the children has a far reaching impact on our community.”