TAMIU Reading Center's Santo Niño Outreach Students Enjoy Reading Visits by 'Bucky,' Cheerleaders

Families of students in a special outreach reading program at Santo Niño Elementary School are learning that reading can open worlds thanks to visits by Laredo Bucks cheerleaders and Bucky, the team mascot. (photos)

Coordinated by Texas A&M International University's Eduardo M. Hinojosa Reading Research Center, the program provides a regular schedule of reading enrichment exercises that are supplemented by a family literacy component that includes in-class visits, readings by guests, and warm pastries, on Saturday mornings. In addition, participating Santo Niño teachers benefit for focused training on biliteracy.

"It's clear to us that the students enjoy the visits and that the modeling behavior from guests chosen specifically to appeal to our students helps to reinforce our enrichment efforts," said Gloria Canseco, Reading Research Center associate director, "We realize the sacrifice that our guests are making to join us and our students appreciate their presence." Other program guests have included Sammy the House of KNXT-FM, the lead guitarist of local band Undefined and TAMIU professor emeritus Dr. Eduardo M. Hinojosa.

Center director Dr. Barbara Greybeck explained that the enrichment effort provides children with sessions to help them overcome reading obstacles.

"Every day, somewhere in Laredo, a child opens a book and a world follows. Some children encounter obstacles as they move to becoming skillful readers and need help in moving past these obstacles. We believe a targeted program, such as our Santo Niño Program is an important outreach offering for our Center," Dr. Greybeck said.

The Center, named for long-time TAMIU reading professor, Dr. Eduardo M. Hinojosa, was founded in 2001 and has posted remarkable outreach efforts and provided important new research and service opportunities. Program partners sponsor many students who might not have the opportunity to receive specialized services.

The Center targets enhancing research related to linguistically and culturally diverse students' reading abilities and also determines teaching strategies that assist students in becoming skillful readers. It also works to develop and disseminate effective teaching models, which will help children learn to read more effectively.

Interested persons can contact Greybeck or Canseco at 326.2923, visit offices in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall 122 or email bgreybeck@tamiu.edu or gcanseco@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