The sweet smell of cookies filled the room while in the library, a little girl picked a book from the shelf and read as she waited for her tutor. Hard to believe this little girl is one of many children in the local area that have trouble reading. This is what donors see when they come to visit the University of La Verne’s Literacy Clinic.
That is why this year, the College of Education and Organizational Leadership exceeded its goal with a grant from the Parsons Foundation of $100,000.
The clinic was established in 2001 and was designed for credentialed teachers who wish to receive a Reading Specialist Certificate or who are candidates in the Masters in Reading program.
“This is why the program has been so successful,” said Development Director Marsha Soboh. “We are the only private university in Southern California with a literacy clinic.”
The tutors work one on one with the children, enabling them to focus on each of their individual needs.
The tutors also offer a class for parents.
“We try to educate parents in how to help their children,” said Jessica Decker, the Literacy Center coordinator.
Help from donors allows them to offer the program at no charge to students from K-12, who are two grades or more below reading level and are recommended by their teachers. Students only pay a one-time fee of $35.
“It is so beneficial for the kids that we service,” Decker said.
The literacy clinic services a wide variety of students ranging from beginning struggling readers, reluctant readers, and those learning to speak English.
Preliminary results of a study show that students have an average increase of 1.7 levels in just one term of 10 hours.
In order to continue offering the program at no charge the clinic needs help from donors. In the last seven months the clinic received help from Verizon, Starbucks and Ahmanson foundations.
What put them over the top, however, was the donation from the Parsons Foundation. With this money they hope to establish the clinic at a new location, Decker said.
Currently the clinic is located on top of the ULV bookstore. However in a few months, it will be re-located east of the main campus on the corner of E street and Second.
Expenses for the new center are expected to be $150,000 but thanks to the different donors and the Parsons Foundation, the program received a total of $180,000.
“The grant is going to help us bring technology into the center,” said Leonard Pellicer, dean of the College of Education and Organizational Leadership.
They plan to have four individual rooms each with a camera.
In doing this, other students in the masters programs as well as teachers can observe the children’s progress without disturbing their sessions.
“We want to have a state of the art literacy center,” Pellicer said.
The Parsons Foundation is helping to make this possible.
“In the bigger building high school kids can have a more grown up space,” Decker said.
“The kindergarten kids can still have their library with the beanbags they love so much,” she added.
Laura Bucio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.