Tutoring program sharpens student reading skills

Dr. James Finck (right), assistant professor of American history, confers with Jordyn Yates (center), senior elementary education major from Waxahachie, Texas about his daughter, Savannah’s (left) progress during a summer reading program. The program concluded with a parent-tutor conference on July 26.

Tutoring program sharpens student reading skills



Parents, children and university tutors met together last week at the University of Science and Arts to discuss progress made during the course of an eight-week reading improvement program.


The program was offered to area elementary students this summer on a first-comer, first-served basis. The tutors were USAO elementary education and early childhood education majors, who were enrolled in a senior-level course under the supervision of Dr. Linda McElroy, professor of education.


Tutors worked one-on-one with the children twice a week for eight weeks.  The tutoring sessions included reading and writing activities specifically designed for each individual child. 


“Our goal was to provide each child with successful, enjoyable experiences that would support their literacy development,” said McElroy. “It was an outstanding experience for the college students as well, and we appreciate the interest and support of the parents who made the commitment to have the children here for the tutoring sessions."


Jordyn Yates, a senior elementary education major from Waxahachie, Texas, echoed McElroy’s assessment of the program.


“I absolutely feel that this helped prepare me to be a teacher,” Yates said.


“There was constant work that I needed to be doing. I planned lessons for twice a week and learned new ways to introduce different concepts. I had to learn how to make changes during my session to better fit the needs of my student, and, in the process, learned more about what to expect as a future teacher.”


Yates tutored Savannah Finck, daughter of Dr. James Finck, assistant professor of history at USAO, who was pleased with the program from start to finish.

“The tutors were amazing,” Finck said. “These were upper level education majors who were excited to begin practicing the craft they have been trained for and their enthusiasm made the difference.


My daughter was excited to come to class to work with Jordyn because she made it fun.  Yet while Savannah thought she was just having a good time, she was also learning important concepts, working not only on just reading, but on comprehension and writing skills.”


The session ended with parent conferences and a reception hosted by the USAO Student National Education Association, led by Dr. Jeanne Mather, professor of education. 


A similar program is offered each summer. 


Beginning next March, parents who are interested in having children participate next summer can contact area school principals, McElroy or the USAO teacher education office for application information.