UW clinic seeks to increase literacy

(Photo by Katy Grogan)

Every day that goes by people of society read something. On the highway, they may pass a billboard, advertising the latest gadget. At the University of Wyoming Literacy Research Center and Clinic (LRCC), located on the first floor of the Education Annex, this idea of literacy being vital to making a more productive society surges the center forward in its present and future endeavors.

Since officially opening March of 2014, the Literacy Research Center and Clinic has had three main objectives: to aid professional development for present and future educators, to conduct field-based research on literacy and to supply individual tutoring for K-12 students who struggle with reading and writing.

Dr. Dana Robertson, the director of the LRCC since October of 2015, oversees all of the work that the LRCC does. The LRCC is involved with many education and literacy organizations and schools around the state of Wyoming, focusing on various programs of teaching literacy to not only school-aged children but also to adults who want to learn to better their literacy skills and to professionals who want a better way to teach literacy.

The Teton Literacy Center and the Fremont County School District number 25 are only a couple examples of how the LRCC is engaging in literacy with the Wyoming community.

“We’re focused on the idea of how we can work with teachers and students, to learn from text, learn with text, produce text, so our professional development takes on many different possibilities,” Robertson said.

The “clinic” portion of the LRCC refers to the tutoring of K-12 students regarding reading and writing. Most of the tutors working for the LRCC are UW undergraduate students. The undergraduate students, while working one-on-one with the school-aged children that come in for tutoring, get a practical experience of utilizing various teaching methods, learning how to teach literacy for when they may someday have a class and classroom of their own.

The tutors make a curriculum for their student based off of what the child wants to learn, and then the tutors intertwine the teaching of reading and writing.

“The knowledge they [the students] want to acquire is always first and foremost. Within our mission of helping students learn from and with text, what do we learn from text? What we learn is how to think, we learn the particular knowledge that we are interested in acquiring,” Robertson said.

With the teaching of literacy comes the education of acquiring knowledge in an effective manner that affects every portion of their lives.

“Literacy and being able to learn from text helps anyone, whether they’re an adult or child. They help them reach their goals in life, all of those parts of their lives have literacy in them,” Robertson said.

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