K-8 students hit the books at Xavier

University program has helped area students for more than 20 years | July 18, 2007

It may be summer, but elementary school students from around the Tri-state are still hitting the books: More than 110 students are reading and learning at the Cohen Center as part of the Reading Practicum.

For more than 20 years the Reading Practicum has helped students enhance their reading skills while helping Xavier graduate students work on reading strategies in a real classroom situation.

The two-week program engages students from Greater Cincinnati schools. They study reading, writing and speaking and also work on listening enrichment and remediation. This year 116 students are attending the practicum. There are 26 teachers helping the students. The teachers are Xavier graduate students who are working towards their master’s degrees.

The program utilizes a lot of hands-on projects and interactive activities such as singing or staging a play.

“I like to call this the Oprah Book Club for little people,” says Sally Barnhart, clinical faculty member and director of the Reading Practicum. “The teachers involved in this program gather the books themselves from public libraries or from their own personal collections. So, the students are constantly surrounded by books.”

The students are showing their work and the fun they’ve had to their parents at an open house on the last day of the program, Friday, July 27, at 10:00 a.m. at the Cohen Center.

Besides helping 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.

“The program emphasizes the ability to work with other teachers, administrators and other professionals to improve and coordinate the total reading program of a school,” says Leslie Prosak-Beres who has directed the program for undergraduates and graduates for 20 years.

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