UB's Literacy and Reading Center Accepting Applications for Fall Semester

Release Date: June 4, 2008

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction, affiliated with the University at Buffalo's Graduate School of Education and dedicated to helping children struggling with reading or writing, is accepting applications for the fall semester.

The center, known as CLaRI, supports children, their parents and their teachers through evaluation, instruction and planning in traditional and digital literacy skills. The center is committed to helping children of all socioeconomic, linguistic, cultural, religious, racial or ethnic backgrounds improve their writing and literacy skills.

Students accepted into the program attend either the UB center in 17 Baldy Hall on UB's North (Amherst) Campus during the school year, or one of several affiliated school sites throughout Erie County during the summer months.

"There are many places where parents may go for an assessment of what is wrong with their child," says Debra Dechert, associate director of CLaRI. "But the UB reading center is one of those few places that knows the child must learn to read, presumes that the child will learn to read and assumes a responsibility for teaching that child to read."

Students often arrive two or three grade levels below their current grade in reading and writing ability, according to Dechert. Center teachers, all of whom are graduate students in UB's literacy-specialist master's degree in education program, identify students' needs in reading and writing through diagnostic evaluation. The center's teachers work with UB faculty to determine specific reading and writing skills that need to be improved, provide instruction and prepare a plan to continue improvement after students leave the center.

The program also helps parents and professionals by providing them with written reports that indicate each child's specific strengths and areas in need of further development, as well as recommendations for instruction tailored to that child's individualized needs in literacy.

Students who complete the center's program often improve from one to three grade levels before leaving the center. The center's sessions are scheduled twice a week for a 12-week instructional program. Each session begins at 4:30 p.m. and concludes at 5:45 p.m., and involves a combination of one-to-one remediation as well as some small group reading/writing instruction.

A parent whose son, Ben, attended the center for instructional services described the program's benefits in this way:

"We are so grateful that the center was there for Ben and the other kids. I know that if we didn't get the help Ben needed right away, it would have affected him adversely for the rest of his life. Yet if a child is given the tools he or she needs, they can blossom into a confident child who is willing to work to learn."

The fee for the diagnostic evaluation is $200 and $450 for the 12-week instructional program. Fund-raising efforts are underway to provide scholarship for those families unable to pay the fees for diagnostic and/or instructional services.

For more information and an application, please contact Debra Dechert at (716) 645-2455, ext. 1016.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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