Texas A&M Reading Clinic Helps Local Students

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: May 12, 2010

Lauren Jones is working to open the world of books to her student. In turn, the student is helping her to master the knowledge and skills necessary to teach reading. Jones, a fourth-grade teacher and graduate student specializing in reading education, is participating as a tutor in the Texas A&M Reading Clinic, which is offered through the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture once a year.

During the spring semester, the Reading Clinic pairs local students needing extra reading help with graduate students who are studying reading education. "We have a range of students attending, with our youngest being in second grade and our oldest in college," says Erin McTigue, assistant professor of reading education and director of the Reading Clinic. "However, the majority of our students are upper elementary students." "It is discouraging to see students in upper elementary grades feel burdened by reading when it can be so freeing," Jones says. "It can whisk you away to a fictional land, transport you to the rainforest or invite you to learn about the latest medicinal discovery." To improve their students' reading, the tutors administer assessments to test reading skills, and based on the results, create a profile and learning goals for each student.

The tutors produce lessons tailored to their students' reading level, strengths, weaknesses and interests. "We have a young boy this semester who just loves to read about insects, so his tutor is using that as a theme for his lessons," McTigue says. The Reading Clinic provides the graduate students, many of which are classroom teachers, with a valuable learning opportunity. "This experience deepens teachers' understandings of reading development by allowing them to focus and reflect on one student's learning in a concentrated manner that is not possible within the context of a classroom setting," McTigue says.

Jones says that the Reading Clinic has aided both her and her student. "I saw a zest for reading restored, not because we did anything magical, but because we did what was right for that student. This experience has given me a confidence to help restore the morale of restless readers who walk through my classroom door," Jones says.