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LETU education students celebrate literacy program

By Special to the News-Journal
Dec. 27, 2017 at 4 a.m.

South Ward Elementary School students participated in a 10-week literacy program with LeTourneau University this fall.

LeTourneau University teacher education students provided hands-on literacy tutoring with second through fifth grade students at South Ward Elementary School as part of a pilot partnership program this fall.

The 10-week program ended with a tour of the LETU campus, where the children were particularly excited about the Margaret Estes Library where they saw college students studying.

"They loved sitting in the desks while pretending to study, too," said Liz Williams, a LETU tutor.

The children — many of whom had not visited a college campus before — toured LETU's Solheim gymnasium, the auditorium in the Belcher Center, the Allen Family Student Center, a residence hall, the Education Building and the Glaske Engineering Building, where they saw examples of LETU student projects.

The South Ward children were enrolled in Kathy Stephens' "Intervention and Remediation of Reading Difficulties" and in Julie Teel-Borders' "English Language Learners and Bilingual Literacy" courses. "Our LETU students all said this was the most important field experience they've had because it has equipped them to be stronger literacy teachers for their first year of teaching," Teel-Borders said.

Both professors planned the pilot program last summer with South Ward Principal Rebecca Cooper. LETU students were assigned a small group of students with whom they worked on literacy development three times a week over the course of the fall semester.

"We are grateful to the LeTourneau faculty and staff and especially the pre-service teachers who were able to make such a huge difference with our students," Cooper said. "We never know what sparks a child's interest in attending college; it could very well be that this visit to LeTourneau provided a tangible experience that will allow our students to dream of attending a university."

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