On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, Hawkins Hall serves as the site for a reading clinic that benefits Master of Education in Reading students, local children and their parents alike.
Student clinicians and their clients work one-on-one.
The 60 or more clients come from public, private and parochial schools, with ages typically ranging from kindergarten through high school. The clinic frequently tutors one or two adults per term.
Almost all the student clinicians are local classroom teachers attending TU part-time. Their Master of Education in Reading program prepares them to become reading specialists in Maryland schools.
"The clinic is designed as a practicum experience for reading education students. Under the guidance of their professors, everything they’ve learned about teaching and assessment comes together,” says Elizabeth Dicembre, clinic director.
Weekly reading clinic sessions last an hour. Student clinicians and their clients work one-on-one in small tutoring rooms equipped with a computer and essential teaching supplies. Tutoring rooms frame a large behind-the-glass observation room where professors watch and other students can observe instruction.
Clinicians develop an individualized program of study based on a battery of assessments that they administer to the clients during the first few sessions. During the tutoring sessions, teachers and clients work together with a variety of materials, including books, magazines and computers.
Parents play a collaborative role in clinic activities. While their children work with graduate students
Parents attend workshops.
from both clinic courses, parents attend workshops led by students from the advanced clinic course.
“Our clinic encourages an active partnership between parents and the student clinicians,” says Dicembre. “Parents learn about developing literacy in the home. Children are assigned homework designed to promote subsequent collaboration between the family and the clinicians."
The term ends with a Family Night dinner and graduation at the University Union. Each clinician brings his or her client to the stage where they talk about the child’s progress. For reading education students, the night marks a major milestone in their own education. For the children and their parents, Dicembre says the celebration marks the beginning of a process rather than an ending.
“Parents need to be committed long-term to their children’s literacy,” she says. “TU’s Reading Clinic is just the first step in their journey."