June 21, 2009
About 30 students are traveling on the reading railroad at Mississippi University for Women this summer.
The post-kindergarten through seventh-graders are participating in the HEARTS -- Helping Every Age Reach and Teach Students -- summer reading program-an extension of the HEARTS after school tutoring program directed by Mary Ezell.
Participants start their day with breakfast or snack at about 7:30 a.m. and work their way through five stations based on reading components including comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, writing and phonemic awareness/phonics. Each session lasts about 20 minutes in themed rooms, ranging from the sea to the circus.
Seven-year-old Asia Pleasants, of Columbus, said her favorite room is the jungle room. "I''ve been learning sounds and how to break words apart."
Stations are conducted by MUW graduate students, according to Dr. Monica Riley, associate professor in the College of Education and Human Sciences.
"The master''s level reading students learn how to give an analytical reading inventory, diagnose reading problems, plan lessons to remediate, post test at the end and create a case study notebook."
"Undergraduate reading students are learning how to give a simple phonemic awareness assessment," she said.
Donna Burlingame, co-director of the summer reading program, added that the speech-language pathology students "gain practicum hours and experience similar to how our clinics are operated-small groups which they may encounter in small schools or rehab situations."
All agree the collaboration is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Participants return to school in the fall with improved reading skills.
"The more they read, the more they realize they like it," Burlingame said.
Riley added the MUW students are able to quickly assess students for reading difficulties and develop strategies that will help those children.
MUW graduate student Christina Freyder, who is in the reading literacy program, said, "The children are varied in their ages. I''ve learned how to be flexible and differentiate activities for each learner."
The last day of the program is June 30. For more information, call (662) 244-8444.