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Clinic opens doors to expansion

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Jennifer Kitzmann
Staff Writer

The Literacy Clinic has outgrown its current location at the bookstore and is currently relocating to a larger facility this spring.

“The expansion of the clinic will provide more room in servicing more students in the graduate program and children in the community,” said Nancy Walker, ULV literacy center co-creator and associate professor of education.

The reading program will be relocated to the church at Second and E streets, and the building is being refurbished to become a literacy center.

New state of the art observation booths and a demonstration center are being built so the clinic will be a working model for other groups who are looking to establish the same types of programs to learn new literacy techniques for teachers and other local schools.

“We are also excited about having a dissemination center for teachers in the surrounding school district where they can come and learn professional development,” Walker said.

The Literacy Clinic is a non-profit tutoring center connected with the Graduate Reading Program and reading specialists are required to complete 80 hours of field work, working one-on-one with struggling readers to receive certification.

“At the Literacy Clinic we match the credential candidates and tutors with the struggling readers each term, as different grade levels of students are selected for each class,” said Jessica Decker, literacy center coordinator. “The children are recommended by their teachers or principals and the information is sent to the clinic, where they are placed on a waiting list.”

Walker and clinic director Janice Pilgreen are in charge of supervising the tutoring, teaching most of the graduate level classes and developing the clinic’s reading curriculum.

The program was first developed in fall 2001, as a response to the requirement of the California Commission on Teachers Credentialing, the accrediting institution that raised the expectations for the amount of clinical fieldwork that candidates should complete.

“The clinic is funded through grants and donations,” said Marsha Soboh, director of development. “The foundations that have supported us in upgrading the literacy clinic is the Parsons Foundation, Rose Hills Foundation, Ahmanson Foundation, Verizon Wireless, Starbucks and Wal-Mart.”

Everyone at the clinic including the facilities management at ULV and other volunteers such as graduate students in the program have offered their time and energy in helping with the relocation.

“Because of the clinic’s partnership with the local Starbucks stores, their employees are also planning to help with some of the process,” Decker said.

A summer celebration will be held in July 2005 to announce the new location and to inform children and parents in the community what services will be offered.

There will be an open house in the fall, which will be open to the ULV community and all of the organizations that participated in offering financial support in making the dream become a reality.

“Our theme is helping children read for life and the move to the church will add to our ability to make this happen for even larger numbers of children,” Pilgreen said. “We are thrilled to be able to offer more to the parents, children and teachers of our surrounding communities.”

Jennifer Kitzmann can be reached at jlynnjen88@msn.com.

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