By Jana Cunningham
Since 1999, the University of Utah Reading Clinic has helped more than 11,000 children improve their reading and retention skills. The clinic serves children by offering assessment and intervention to struggling readers and providing professional development to educators.
“Reading is the cornerstone of academic and socioeconomic success in our society,” said Kathleen J. Brown, director of the clinic in the College of Education. “Children who struggle to learn to read often fall into a negative spiral of learning problems, low grades and poor self-esteem that continues to mar their adult lives. In contrast, successful readers experience a positive spiral that includes a much wider array of college and career options.”
The clinic, based in Murray, provides resources for children from kindergarten through12th grade. After an initial assessment, readers receive either basic or intensive intervention starting at their own level and moving forward as quickly as possible. The clinic stresses reading comprehension to ensure the ability to understand the text meaning.
“Struggling readers typically only make a half year’s progress, but with intervention and tutoring, they make at least a full year’s progress in 45 sessions,” added Brown.
Unlike for-profit tutoring centers, the clinic uses a sliding scale to calculate tuition according to income and family size.
Educators interested in learning and implementing reading assessment and intervention in the classrooms have the option of attending a practicum at the clinic or receiving on-site coaching and mentorship in their school. The programs are designed to help teachers increase their knowledge about reading development, improve instructional practices, develop a team approach, ensure struggling readers make yearly progress and create a sustainable infrastructure.
Through their yearlong clinics, summer clinics, after school clinics, curriculum and resources, the Reading Clinic has served more than 5,500 educators, 35 Utah school districts, 50 charter schools, youth correctional facilities, Utah State Office volunteer programs and Utah schools for the Deaf and Blind.
“Those who have successfully completed the rigorous year-long practicum now possess the skills to assess, diagnosis and provide intensive, effective reading interventions to our most at-risk students” said Paula Kashiwaeda, special education teacher specialist for the Ogden City School District. “Since the clinic first arrived on the scene more than 10 years ago, Kathleen and her staff have greatly impacted student and staff performance.”
For information about services and resources, visit uurc.utah.edu or call 801-265-3951.
Jana Cunningham is a communications specialist at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.