Overview, Description and Purpose of Program
The Reading First Program trains Tutors to work with struggling readers in Kindergarten to third grade classrooms in local schools. Reading First Tutors work between 4 and 8 hours a week in the schools. Tutors who qualify for University Work Study can receive payment for the hours they put into the field placement: all other Tutors work on a volunteer basis.
Each year, the Reading First Coordinator is a Master’s Candidate in Literacy and a Graduate Assistant in the College of Education. The Coordinator serves as the instructor for the 2 training courses (SPST 137 & 138) and is responsible for observing Tutors in their school placements.
The Reading First Program also serves as a paraprofessional program in conjunction with the Graduate Literacy Program. Graduate students enrolled the Assessment II course (Spring Semester Only) provide professional development for the Reading First Tutors.
SPST 137 & SPST 138
Reading First Tutors take 2 one-credit training courses: SPST 137 in Fall and SPST 138 in Spring semester. In order to enroll in this course, students must have completed EDU 250 or ENGL 357.
The course meets once a time a week for approximately two hours for new tutors. Returning tutors from previous semesters are only required to attend three classes. Students will receive a letter grade for the course. All tutors are required to write one lesson plan as well as undergo one observation by the course instructor.
The focus of SPST 137 & SPST 138 is to familiarize tutors with the five essential components of effective reading instruction according to the National Reading Panel (NRP) and supported by Reading First under the No Child Left Behind Act. The components are Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Fluency, Vocabulary, and Comprehension. Tutors will also be provided with tutoring strategies and activities that they will be able to use with struggling readers in their tutoring placement.