TAMIU Reading Center Post Impressive Gains
Imagine making more than a year's worth of reading progress in just
17 hours. This past semester, children enrolled at Texas A&M International
University's Hinojosa Reading Research Center averaged just such a remarkable
Dr. Barbara Greybeck, associate professor and director of the Reading
Research Center, explained the nearly 30 elementary students attending
classes at the Center averaged 13.5 months of improvement in their reading
skills, after receiving 17.3 instructional hours. She said the children
represent a cross-section of the community and are from public and private
"We test the students when they enroll and then again at the end
of the semester. Based on the tests we use, we would expect children without
difficulties in reading to gain one month in reading for each month of
instruction," said Dr. Greybeck, "Our students, aided by small
group instruction and the instructional model designed at the Center,
are improving on the average at over twice the rate we would expect."
Greybeck attributed the impressive results, which have shown consistent
improvement over time, to the unique features of the Reading Research
Center and to the efforts of some very fine, experienced teachers.
"In addition to a maximum three-to-one student to teacher ratio,
there is a great emphasis placed on nurturing and encouraging the students.
All our teachers are certified and receive special training. Most are
working towards Masters degrees in reading, early childhood or special
education here at TAMIU," said Greybeck. She noted the Center serves
as a laboratory setting for students in teacher preparation programs,
She hopes the research done here in Laredo could impact the nation.
"National trends require measures of accountability and even though
we do not concentrate on drilling for a test, we are certainly demonstrating
success with our results," she said, "In other words, our results
show how good teaching can positively influence test results."
Not all the news is good. The Center was created in 2002 and is funded
through July of 2004 by the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the
Improvement of Education, explained Gloria Canseco, associate director.
The Center has since operated with tuition paid by Center students, and
received funding from TAMIU's College of Education.
"We have applied for a U.S. Department of Education Reading Scale-Up
grant which would fund the Center for two more years, but unless the Center
receives financial support for the 2005 - 2006 school year, the Center
will not continue to operate," Canseco explained.
The impact of the Center on the lives of the students goes further than
improving reading levels, she said.
"At our holiday party, we had one student on stage who read to
an audience of approximately 80 students, teachers, and parents alike.
After almost every sentence, she would turn to mom and smile, posing to
have a picture taken," said Canseco, "...This same student,
during the first three weeks at the Center, wouldn't say a word and wouldn't
make eye contact with the teacher. Now, she beams with self-confidence
in her newfound abilities."
For more information on TAMIU's Hinojosa Reading Research Center, please
contact Dr. Barbara Greybeck at 326.2923, visit offices in the Dr. Billy
F. Cowart Hall, room 122 or e-mail email@example.com.
University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests
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