The community that reads
Reading Clinic teacher Scherie Leak and student Shabria Sharpe
Photo by Kanji Takeno
Cherry Hill children and parents and TU graduate students participate in summer Reading Clinic
By Stuart Zang
TU’s Reading Clinic returns to Cherry Hill for a second consecutive summer as part of the university’s ongoing commitment to the Cherry Hill Learning Zone initiative.
“Over the years the summer clinic has been to many schools throughout the city,” explains Elizabeth Dicembre, clinic director. “When TU started focusing on the Cherry Hill initiative, we decided to move the summer clinic there to focus on developing an enduring relationship.”
The 2007 summer clinic runs for 10 days during the weeks of July 9 and July 16, serving 50 summer school students from Cherry Hill Elementary/Middle School and Dr. Carter G. Woodson Elementary/Middle School at the latter facility.
Thirty TU Master in Reading Education students from the College of Education work one-on-one with clients for an hour each morning. Seven Master in Reading Education students and two Woodson teachers, both enrolled in TU’s Guided Reading elective course, work with the remaining 20 students in small groups.
Parents play an important role in clinic activities. Teachers speak with their clients' parents daily, as nightly homework assignments, such as following chocolate cookie recipes, involve both parents and children. Dicembre says parents have fun with their children while reinforcing reading skills at home. Parents also attend workshops provided by students from the advanced clinic course.
In contrast to the on-campus fall and spring Reading Clinics, which charge a nominal tuition, the summer Reading Clinic is free to clients and therefore dependent on grant support. This year Dicembre raised $36,000 from Bank of America, TU’s Mid-Atlantic CIO Forum and Dollar General. The grants pay for equipment, software, books, school supplies sent home, and costs associated in bringing parents and children to TU’s University Union for a Family Night dinner and graduation the evening before the last clinic session.
Dicembre says the College of Education hopes to sustain a capacity for reading education in Cherry Hill that extends beyond the summer clinic. Computerized reading test software used this summer will remain in the schools for Cherry Hill teachers to use in the future. Grants cover the tuition for the two Woodson teachers enrolled in the Guided Reading elective course. During the spring and fall, about nine to 12 students from Cherry Hill and their parents are shuttled to the Reading Clinic, tuition free.
“The summer clinic plays a significant role in the Graduate Reading Program’s commitment to Cherry Hill,” says Dicembre, “but we see it as part of a larger relationship we’re maintaining year round.”
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