Assistant professor Jean Rattigan-Rohr made a trip this month to Portland, Ore., to observe Concordia University’s replication of a research project she developed at Elon University.
The project, “It takes a village: A collaborative assault on the struggling reader dilemma,” is an intentional and collaborative relationship among several stakeholders – parents, struggling readers, teacher candidates/professors, and inservice teachers.
It works toward four major objectives. 1) Encourage reading among children who struggle with reading; 2) Underscore the function schools of education must undertake in shaping teacher candidates’ views of children who struggle with reading and of the parents of such students; 3) Highlight the importance of community and the role universities can play in bridging the gap between institutions of higher learning and local community entities such as the local library; and 4) Involve the tutees’ public school teachers as a vital stakeholder in the tutoring process. That is, struggling readers’ classroom teachers are included to ensure instructional congruence between the tutoring and the tutees’ classrooms.
Concordia University is one of two universities replicating the study. Rattigan-Rohr met with Concordia President Charles Schlimpert, College of Education Dean Joe Mannion, principal investigator for the project Lynn Keyne-Michaels, and LaShawn Lee, the principal of the Title I school from which the children are drawn. “It takes a Village” project is funded by a $200,000 grant from the Geneva-based international philanthropic organization The Oak Foundation.
During her visit, Rattigan-Rohr spoke of the need for teacher educators to become innovative in their efforts to re-envisage educational practices aimed primarily at student achievement. She met parents, participated in tutoring sessions with the Concordia teacher candidates and discussed strategies and practice with Concordia Professors.
“I am encouraged to see, that as with our site at Elon and UNCG, Concordia’s administration, professors and preservice teachers, local public schools, as well as parents and the struggling readers themselves, are equally excited about participating in these reading sessions,” Rattigan-Rohr said.