Reading Clinic observes 50th anniversary as TU Literacy Center expands outreach

Founded in 1967 and opened in 1968, the Reading Clinic provides internships for TU
students — primarily experienced classroom teachers — who are in the final stages
of the university’s graduate reading education program.

The learners range from first graders to grandparents — and everyone in between. At
Towson University’s Reading Clinic, they acquire the skills they need to flourish in the classroom, in the workplace
and in their everyday lives.

Founded in 1967 and opened in 1968, the Reading Clinic provides internships for TU
students — primarily experienced classroom teachers — who are in the final stages
of the university’s graduate reading education program.

Today, under the umbrella of services now called the TU Literacy Center, the clinic
continues the good work educators initiated a half-century ago.

Reading Clinic internships enable grad students to hone the teaching skills they’ll
need as reading specialists while benefiting people from all walks of life.

“Entire families learn strategies that help them continue to develop literacy skills,”
says Shelly Huggins, director of the Reading Clinic and the TU Literacy Center.

“The clinic is the oldest outreach effort on campus and the most diverse,” Huggins
adds. “People find us through recommendations or teachers, many of whom are Reading
Clinic alumni.

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“We have great word-of-mouth.”

And no wonder: the Reading Clinic offers up-to-date techniques; one-on-one evaluation
and tutoring; one-hour sessions; family literacy initiatives; home activities; a lending
library; the opportunity to discuss concerns with education professionals; an end-of-term
list of recommendations; and opportunities to meet parents/guardians with similar
concerns.    

An $80 fee covers at least 10 sessions, and Huggins says low-income families can apply
for scholarships supported through the clinic’s foundation account.

Huggins points with pride to stories about clients who contacted the clinic many years
after their Reading Clinic sessions to recount how the experience changed their lives.
“They often identified a reading strategy they learned here and still use,” she says.
“They date their academic confidence to that time.”

She also tells of a man who worked construction but lacked the literacy and test-taking
skills to obtain a driver’s license. “He wanted to grow his drywall business but had
to take public transportation to job sites,” she explains.  

“With the help of the Reading Clinic’s literacy tutors, he accomplished his goal in
one 10-week session,” Huggins says. “We have a photo of him at the MVA with his driver’s
license.

“Experiences like that affirm our belief that we change lives though literacy every
day.”

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With the establishment of the TU Literacy Center, Huggins says the College of Education allows the expansion of services to children and adults at schools and other sites.
 

“The Reading Clinic is tied to enrollment in the graduate program, and that limits
it in term of outreach,” she says. “The TU Literacy Center enables us to offer a variety
of low-cost, effective literacy support to a more diverse population. We can go off
campus since there’s no longer a need to fulfill a course requirement.

“Through the TU Literacy Center, we’ve been able to work with people with dysgraphia
(the inability to write coherently) and autism,” she continues. “We’ve also assisted
refugees who are learning to read English.” 

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel’s priorities for Towson University: TU Matters to Maryland

View more information: https://www.towson.edu/news/2017/readingclinicanniversary.html

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