TAMIU Doubles Summer Offering of Literacy Camps for Kids in 2004

TAMIU Doubles Summer Offering of Literacy Camps for Kids

Texas A&M International University's Eduardo M. Hinojosa Reading Research Center is making sure children will be participating in reading this summer by doubling the number of literacy camps offered.

"Thanks to the generous support from the Trull Foundation, the Laredo law firm of Escamilla & Poneck, The Texas A&M University System Regent's Initiative, and TAMIU's own Texas Center for Border Economics and Enterprise Development, we're able to dramatically increase the assistance we can provide children in response to area needs," said Dr. Barbara Greybeck, director of the Center.

She said the camps, in addition to helping children increase their reading and writing abilities, will also instruct students in the College of Education, creating well-trained graduates to help off-set the State's teacher shortage.

Gloria Canseco, associate director of the Center, said the increase in camps offered was unexpected and indicates a great need for the services of the Center throughout the South Texas area.

"Our original target was to add one or two camps each summer, but this is entirely unexpected. Since the inauguration of the Center in April 2003, we've trained 250 pre-service teachers and practicing teachers and our client base has expanded briskly, demonstrating a high local demand for services," explained Canseco.

Funded by a federal grant, Canseco said the Center was created to combat a national trend of low literacy rates in Hispanic populations, and local issues such as low high school graduation rates.

"In 1998, the National Association of Education Professionals reported that only 13 to 26 percent of Hispanic students were reading proficiently," said Canseco, "Locally, 45% of Laredoans lack a high school diploma, according to the 2000 Census. The Center is working to help area students and teachers attain higher educational goals through a research-based curriculum and hands-on learning."

"In the fall of 2003, the average student in our program made 9.5 months of progress in reading scores in only 15 weeks." Canseco said, adding that anyone wishing to support the Center could do so by donating to a scholarship fund.

"A $100 donation will sponsor one child for six weeks, and $250 will sponsor that child for a whole semester of reading achievement," explained Canseco.

In addition to the Summer Literacy Camps and a pilot reading intervention program at Santo Niño Elementary school, the Center's year-round activities include in-service training for public school teachers, intervention services for disadvantaged schools to improve student reading achievement and research regarding appropriate instructional models for native Spanish-speaking students.

For more information, please contact the Eduardo M. Hinojosa Reading Research Center at 326.2923, visit offices in Dr. Billy F. Cowart Hall, room 122 or email bgreybeck@tamiu.edu or gcanseco@tamiu.edu

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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