Below read a guest blog post from the parent of one of the children who participated in the first ever TU Free Reading Clinic for DHH Students!
When Anna was selected for TU’s first Deaf Ed Reading Clinic, my initial reaction was relief. As the mother of a Deaf+ child, I am constantly searching for help: help with language, help with schooling, help with her grades. All of that would improve if her reading skills improved, and here was a FREE program!
As a girl who has spent several days of every week of her life in some sort of therapy, Anna may not have been excited about her first session … but that quickly changed when she realized that it was all about books. And these are fabulous books – colorful books, funny books, talkative books, even one with absolutely no words!
The 10-week clinic included evaluations in the first and last sessions to not only assess the effectiveness of the program, but also to help the tutors plan their lessons. While every session including reading, there was also writing, sentence building, grammar lessons on ASL vs. English, some doll play once our tutor learned about Anna’s obsession with all things Barbie, and an Easter egg hunt with fun sentences hidden inside each egg. They didn’t just sit at desks; they stood, they taped words to walls, they played, and they laughed, oh yes, they most definitely laughed.
Thank you, Erin Hoefer, for planning engaging activities and lessons, and for building that all-so-important rapport with my child. Thank you, Jessica Scott, for choosing excellent books that are enjoyable and have a learning purpose built into each one, and for supervising these terrific students. But mostly, thank you for creating this amazing program and for writing a grant which will hopefully ensure its continuance next year. Anna is more excited about reading than ever, and when the grant gets approved, we’ll be waiting right outside the Chapman Center.
It’s hard to believe, but we have reached the end of the 2013/2014 academic year – today was the last official day of classes here at University of Tulsa. We had a really incredible year! Let’s recap.
-We started off the year with the wonderful news that TU’s Deaf Education program received a grant to fund our juniors and seniors for up to 50% of their tuition! Thanks to the hard work of Dr. Sharon Baker writing this grant.
-The beginning of this year also saw the beginning of Jessica Scott’s joining the Deaf Education faculty!
-As part of her literacy course, Jessica set up a free reading clinic for Deaf and hard of hearing students in the Tulsa area – which went amazingly well! Thanks to generous individual donors and The Frugal Bookworm we got some excellent children’s and adolescent books to start off our collection. Thanks so much to the AMAZING undergraduate students enrolled in the Literacy course who spent an hour every week working with a struggling Deaf or hard of hearing reader!
-Dr. Baker and Jessica Scott had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. and stay on Gallaudet University campus for the Association of College Educators of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (ACEDHH) conference, where we heard from politicians, university professors and researchers about the latest theory and research in teaching Deaf students!
-Dr. Baker had a number of very exciting guests in her Deaf History and Culture course, including Laurent Clerc’s great great granddaughter, who works at Oklahoma School for the Deaf, Dr. Peter Crume, who does research on Deaf and hard of hearing students in Kenya, and Marie Guard, a local preschool teacher who is deaf and recently chose to have cochlear implants.
Wow! What a year – we feel truly lucky to have the opportunities that we do. Some things to look forward to:
-Jessica Scott is working on a grant to expand the reading clinic to an academic year, where tutors trained in the spring course will be paid to tutor students in the fall. The grant will also give us access to better assessments, more materials and more books!
-The OKRID conference will be on TU campus this summer! Anyone in the area interested in ASL interpreting or Deaf Education should register and join us!
-The TU faculty plan to start some collaborations with the Deaf Education faculty at USAO in Chickasha, OK – we will keep you updated as those develop next year!
Readers – what new developments are you most excited about? What other ideas do you have for our program? We’d love to hear from you!
So it has been a week since the free reading clinic for Deaf and Hard of Hearing students started at the University of Tulsa, and things are going great so far! We’ve had lots of excited students and tutors hard at work on improving reading skills using a variety of strategies!
First of all, we had to start with some assessments, which you can see being given by one of our awesome tutors in the photograph to the right of the page! She is giving an assessment of reading comprehension so that as we move forward in the reading clinic, she can make sure that she is giving her student activities and books that are appropriate for her reading ability. It is so important that when you work with children who are developing their reading skill, whether they are Deaf, hearing or hard of hearing, that you are choosing books that are motivating for them, but also books that are at just the right level – not too hard, not too easy, but as Goldilocks might put it, just right.
The students in our clinic have a variety of needs, including communication and language
as well as literacy. We also have students enrolled from between the ages of six and sixteen. To the right you can see a picture of one of our tutors working with one of older students using American Sign Language. All of the tutors enrolled who work in our clinic have taken at least through level 3 (and are currently enrolled in level 4) of American Sign Language courses, and have also taken courses about the education of Deaf and hard of hearing students.
And it’s not all assessments and work in our program either! Below, see some pictures of our tutors playing word creation and fluency games with their students. Alphabet soup, anyone?
Interested in learning more about our literacy clinic? Feel free to get in touch with the clinic supervisor, Jessica Scott – firstname.lastname@example.org
We will post more updates on our clinic as the semester continues on. Thanks to all the tutors working with students, and parents and teachers who support us and provide much needed
transportation for students between their homes or schools and our clinic on University of Tulsa’s campus!
This spring, here in the Deaf Education department at TU we have a very exciting new program we are launching. We will be starting a free reading clinic for Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) students in the Tulsa area in grades kindergarten through twelve.
The clinic will initially be attached to a spring course taught by Jessica Scott, a new faculty member in the Deaf Education program this year, on the literacy development of DHH students. As part of the course, students enrolled will tutor a student for one hour a week on reading and writing skills. This will benefit the Deaf Education student, who will get hands on practice teaching literacy skills in a supervised environment, as well as the DHH student.
Jessica has done a lot of work in this area before – before she came to TU she coordinated the Jeanne Chall Reading Lab at Harvard Graduate School of Education, supervised reading specialist interns, and worked as a reading specialist herself at The Learning Center for the Deaf.
It is our hope that once we get this free clinic off the ground, that we can expand and continue the clinic to provide free literacy tutoring services for Tulsa area DHH youth all throughout the academic year.
We have been working to grow our collection of children’s literature for use during tutoring sessions, and through the generosity of friends, family, anonymous donors, and the local bookstore The Frugal Bookworm our collection has gone from zero to these shelves full!
We are very excited to get this program started in just a short month from now! If you have any interest in donating books to our cause, we accept any gently used children’s books that you may already have in your collection (comment below to get contact information!) or you could also check out our amazon.com wishlist at http://amzn.com/w/3D2ZG4OC3H29R
Do you know of any similar programs? Any advice for us as we get started on this new project?