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UW-Eau Claire Receives Grant
To Support Literacy Action Network
MAILED: Nov. 12, 2002
EAU CLAIRE — Each year students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire contribute thousands of hours helping area children and teenagers improve their abilities to read and write. They are involved in community and campus-based programs such as Jumpstart, Reading Partners, America Reads and other programs designed to increase reading readiness and other literacy skills.
A new grant project will boost the students’ efforts by establishing a Literacy Action Network at UW-Eau Claire. The network will pull together campus-based literacy efforts and help the university develop a coherent, organized and community-based approach to literacy, said project manager Donald Mowry, director of the Center for Service-Learning.
“A Literacy Action Network will also give added visibility to all of the opportunities that exist for students to complete their service-learning requirement,” Mowry added.
Mowry said the $5,500 grant and matching university funds will enable participants in the various literacy programs to come together in a seminar starting in the spring 2003 semester. The monthly seminar will address literacy education in the U.S., diversity and tolerance, Hmong culture, socio-economic issues affecting literacy, model local programs and collaborations, English as a Second Language and immigration, family literacy and literacy across the lifespan.
Initial plans include a goal of moving the seminar around to various literacy program sites. The seminar will be non-credit bearing, but plans are to explore the possibility of granting credit to those participants who maintain a high level of participation and complete a final project.
“There is also a provision to plan and manage a semester’s end action project with a literacy focus,” he said. “The seminar participants will plan the project, which may involve a day of celebration, literacy-focused fun and games and family literacy-based activities for all project participants and families.”
Mowry said Literacy Action Networks exist at a number of public and private colleges across the nation.
“The whole idea is to bring various literacy efforts together so that they are more consistent and students can learn from each other,” he said. “The result will be better prepared tutors and better service to the community.”
Susan Mc Intyre, a reading specialist and chair of the department of curriculum and instruction in the School of Education, will be a consultant on the literacy education part of the seminar. Mowry is in the process of hiring a seminar coordinator and student assistants for the project.
Funding for the program comes from the Student Coalition for Action in Literacy Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of literacy education on campuses across the nation.
“It is interesting to note that the history of this organization is similar to Jumpstart, in that it was begun by students who believed there was a better way to do things and become involved in facilitating and advocating for change,” Mowry said.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: November 12, 2002