Miami Students Help Local School Children Find Joy in Reading

James M. Loy, Miami University

Celebrating summertime with a good book is a hallmark of the season. super summer readers take pictures with the maks they createdIt’s also a time-honored tradition that the Oxford Literacy Team introduces to young readers through its annual Super Summer Readers program.

Super Summer Readers invites Talawanda grade school children who struggle with reading to participate in a variety of enrichment activities. It shows students how books can be both fun and important while also strengthening their literacy skills by interacting with mentors, guest speakers, and by spending quality time reading.

This year, the program expanded by partnering with Miami University’s department of teacher education, which connected local children at the Reily Community Center with a group of Miami graduate students.

children doing a learning activity together“Miami students were assigned specific students for whom they had to assess, design appropriate lessons, and work with daily,” said Eva Howard, Miami University visiting assistant professor of teacher education. “They also had a chance to meet each parent and provide a list of recommendations that would continue to help the student improve his or her reading over the summer.” 

In addition to increasing the depth of support that Talawanda students received through individualized tutoring in reading and writing, the partnership also allowed the Miami teacher education students themselves to gain experience working with young learners in an authentic setting.

“It has been an incredibly beneficial partnership for all involved,” said an Oxford Literacy Team spokesperson. And as a result, the overall enthusiasm and engagement of the school children increased as well. 

“Kids who would never choose to read aloud asked to read their book to the whole group,” Howard said. “Another group of kids asked for time to just read. They were enjoying their books and wanted to read them -- something they resisted before coming to the program.”