Texas A&M International University Launches Reading Research Center, Outreach Programs

A growing concern for reading achievement by the children of South Texas has led Texas A&M International University's College of Education to establish the Eduardo M. Hinojosa Reading Research Center.

The Center is open, but will be formally dedicated in March as the Eduardo M. Hinojosa Reading Research Center. Dr. Hinojosa, professor emeritus and a longtime professor of reading at TAMIU, was a tireless advocate of literacy and helped hundreds of local and area educators to become successful reading teachers.

Dr. Rosa Maria Vida, dean of the College, said the Center will focus on research and teaching strategies dedicated to helping students become skilled readers.

"We are committed to enhancing research related to linguistically and culturally diverse students' reading abilities and determining teaching strategies to assist students in becoming skillful readers. We'll also be assisting the development and dissemination of effective teaching models to help children learn to read effectively," Dr. Vida explained.

In addition, through a teacher referral system, the Center will operate a daily clinic that will offer outreach programs primarily to third and fourth graders that will nurture students' literacy while also encouraging writing and listening activities.

"Local students meeting criteria for the program will benefit from working with the Center's reading and preservice teachers who will undertake diagnosis and remediation of reading difficulties through clinical experiences, observations, and demonstrations. State of the art facilities and technology are provided to all participants," Vida said.

She noted that the Center's germination grew from an initial study undertaken in 2002 with selected elementary schools in Zapata County.

"This study focused on a model of collaboration between TAMIU and Zapata and resulted in the development of a reading instructional model, primarily through efforts led by former TAMIU reading professor Dr. Idalia Rodriguez Perez. We hope to extend this University-school collaboration model through public and private school districts throughout Laredo," Vida indicated.

Dr. Barbara Greybeck, associate professor in the College of Education and a language and literacy specialist, is director of the Center.

A member of The Texas A&M University System's Academy for Educator Development, Dr. Greybeck's research has focused on the development of reading comprehension , or biliteracy in English and Spanish, and on such diverse topics as professional development for teachers and critical thinking in university students.

She said the Center's guiding philosophy should have tremendous resonance for students, teachers and parents.

"Our guiding philosophy is 'Open Books, Open Minds, Open Hearts,' and we are dedicated to making literacy accessible so that new and exciting worlds are open to our children. We will be utilizing unique instructional approaches for students facing literacy obstacles and have state of the arts facilities and technology to help guide our participants," Dr. Greybeck said.

The Center is currently accepting its initial group of students through a referral system utilizing local private and public school teachers. The Student Referral Form is available at the Center. Fees are $20 per month and financial assistance is available.

Services for students will be available in 50-minute sessions from 4 to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday. Center operating hours are daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.

For additional information on the Center and its programs, contact Dr. Greybeck at 956.326.2923, fax 326-2925, visit offices in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, room 122 or email:bgreybeck@tamiu.edu

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu