Alisa Niedlinger, an education student specializing in reading education and English as a New Language, participated in Anderson University's School of Education first summer Reading Clinic. The clinic was an intensive four week practicum focusing on reading assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. The purpose of the clinic was to provide assessment and instruction to students grades K-8 while providing opportunities for AU education students called “interns” to develop skills as teachers of reading.
Under the guidance of Dr. Katy Sample, director of the reading clinic, local students needing reading assistance were paired up with Anderson University reading education interns who are working toward a minor in reading education.
“This clinical model offers AU’s reading interns the intensive experience they need to hone their skills in reading assessment, diagnosis, and intervention,” says Sample. “The experience has been modeled after similar clinical settings which serve as the culminating experience in most graduate programs in reading education but in our model, we are offering this to our undergraduates.” Sample believes AU education graduates should leave ready to teach reading at the highest level.
To improve their students' reading, AU reading education interns administered assessments to test reading skills, and based on the results, created a profile and learning goals for each student in the clinic. The daily instructional sessions were one-on-one and lasted two hours, and the AU interns instructed two students each day. The youngest participant was six years old with the oldest at thirteen. Following the instructional sessions, the reading interns met to discuss how their students were responding to instruction and to problem solve instructional changes.
"This summer clinic experience in reading development allowed the interns to focus and reflect on a student's learning in a concentrated manner that is not possible within the regular classroom setting," comments Sample.
Parent Jennifer Stapleton whose six year old son attended the clinic says the experience was a success for him. “Through this reading program he has gained so much confidence and is eager to continue learning to read.”
Stapleton's son Ashton commented, “I feel great about reading now!"
says that the reading clinic has aided both her and her student. “In the daily one-on-one sessions my students worked on their fluency levels, word study, reading comprehension, and writing. Making progress in these areas helped them to become more confident readers, encouraging them to continue reading in the future,” concluded Niedlinger.
Now that they have completed the inaugural Reading Clinic, Sample says that they will take what they have learned and offer the clinic each summer.
“Our goal was to improve reading comprehension and get school aged children excited about reading again,” said Sample. “There are a lot of children who because of reading difficulties don’t have the opportunity to learn to love reading. This is one way AU School of Education can help extend the learning for our area children.” [Photo on right: Dr. Katy Sample, director of the reading clinic.]
The Reading Clinic was designed to serve Anderson and the surrounding communities, offering assessment and individual instruction for children that struggle with reading. Each clinic participant undergoes an initial reading evaluation to determine his or her individual strengths and weaknesses. A retest is administered at the end of the clinic to measure the student's progress. This is the first year of the clinic which is funded with a grant from the Fall Development Initiative Fund.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,700 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2009, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the sixth consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing and theology.