Fairfield University Awarded New Grant To Extend Literacy Support For Children
Launched this fall, the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions’ (GSEAP) Sixth Year Professional Certificate in Reading and Language Development program has been awarded a grant to track the literacy progress of children who will attend the program’s summer assessment and intervention clinic.
The grant has been awarded by the John H. and Ethel G. Noble Charitable Trust and will be used to fund a Clinic Outreach Coordinator who will evaluate, track and monitor the reading progress of the clinic’s graduates. This role is critical to ensure that the literacy plan children receive from Fairfield GSEAP students is implemented and built upon when the children return to school in the fall.
The coordinator will be responsible for establishing relationships with the child’s educational team and collaborating with the child’s intervention team to develop an individualized monitoring plan to track each of the children’s reading progress. The coordinator will regularly monitor the children’s progress to ensure that each has the one-on-one attention and support they need. This initiative is an example of the program’s vision for collaborative university-district partnerships dedicated to promoting positive literacy outcomes for children.
The role of the Clinical Outreach Coordinator is just one unique component that sets the Reading and Language Development program (RLD) apart from other literacy programs in the state of Connecticut. The RLD program is grounded in scientifically-based reading, writing and spelling instruction, and intervention and remediation practices, and allows students to undergo extensive supervised clinical experiences involving work with K-12 students. The program also prepares candidates to identify and serve the remedial reading needs of students with reading disabilities, including Dyslexia.
Graduate students enrolled in the RLD program participate in carefully coordinated courses reflecting current research and best practices. The program model is based on the Literacy How Mentor/Apprentice Model developed by Dr. Margie Gillis, Fairfield University Research Affiliate. This developmental model supports theory to practice through the presentation of foundational knowledge that program candidates learn through extensive classroom observation, one-on-one tutoring and small group reading interventions. This year, there are 11 students enrolled in the program who are working closely with University supervisors who serve as coaches as the students develop their expertise as reading and language specialists.
Dr. Jule McCombes-Tolis, director of the RLD program, states that “one of the most unique features of the Fairfield University RLD program is the dynamic nature of the program's coursework and candidate experiences. We rely on collaborations with external stakeholders, including collaborations with districts, advocacy groups and research centers, to inform the work we are doing and to inform ongoing refinements to our program.”
For more information about school district partnership opportunities with Fairfield’s RLD program, please contact Dr. McCombes-Tolis.
The Sixth Year Professional Certificate in Reading and Language Development program was founded through grants from the Anne E. Fowler Foundation and the Grossman Family Foundation.