Literacy Center wins $15,000 grant

Above: Dr. Paulette Harris (right), founder and director of the GRU Literacy Center, speaks at the recent dedication of the center’s Little Free Library.

The GRU College of Education Literacy Center has been awarded a $15,000 grant by the Creel-Harrison Foundation to fund technology improvements at the facility.

“We were delighted, because we actually requested $10,000, but they thought the project was worth more,” said Dr. Paulette Harris, Cree-Walker Professor of Education, who also founded and directs the center.

The grant will go towards the purchase of the Power Reading Pro software, recommended by the National Reading Styles Institute, and towards the acquisition of iPads, iPod Touches, Nook tablets, iPad minis, iPad Airs, Lenovo ThinkPads, and warranty coverage for the items, in order to provide more hands-on learning experiences to clients.

Research on tablets in literacy education is still in its infancy, but it seems to show that, overall, tablets do offer some advantage in literacy education. For example, in “Unlocking Literacy with iPad,” Ohio English teacher James Harmon found that students with iPads had a 6-percent greater chance of passing the Ohio Graduation Test’s reading portion than those without, and an 8-percent greater chance of passing the writing portion.

“This will change the nature of the Literacy Center, and bring us in line with the National Reading Styles Institute,” Harris said. The center is currently under review by the institute for certification as a National Reading Styles Exemplary Program.

The center serves 250 clients each week on site, and more in the community every month, including an up-and-coming satellite location at Jenkins-White Elementary Charter School. It offers free one-on-one tutoring for children, youth, and adults, in all grade levels and subjects, supervised by certified teachers at all times. The center was founded in 1990, and serves children and adults. It also provides training and consultation services to community organizations. For more information, visit gru.edu/colleges/education/lcenter.

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