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Sacred Heart Literacy Program Reaches Children In Bridgeport, Beyond

Sacred Heart University Students have been working with the Book Ends program to teach Bridgeport children how to read.
Sacred Heart University Students have been working with the Book Ends program to teach Bridgeport children how to read. Photo Credit: Submitted

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Certified teachers attempting to become remedial reading specialists are logging much needed clinical hours while working with Sacred Heart University to teach children how to read.

The university's Student Success Center is at the heart of the Sacred Heart University's Horizons program, according to a statement from the school.

The educators, many of whom are employed by various districts in Connecticut and in need of 60 hours of clinical experience before earning state certification as remedial reading specialists or remedial language arts in literacy teachers, tutor students in grades kindergarten - 12 at the Success Center as part the Book Ends program, the statement said.

Book Ends is a site-based university reading clinic drawing student enrollment from the Horizons program.

Karen Waters, the university's program director for literacy, said the Book Ends and Horizons programs work well together.

“We aligned with their mission,” Waters said. “We thought we could join forces, and we did.”

According to the university's statement, Horizons was founded to address the academic achievement gap that exists between children from struggling and underserved communities and their more affluent peers.

The program has grown over the years and offers children academic help as well as social and emotional enrichment.

“All of our youth, regardless of where they are starting on the socio-economic ladder, need the opportunity to achieve and contribute to our future,” said Jeff Rumpf, executive director of Horizons. “We were looking for places to provide opportunities for our students. We see value in this.”

Each tutor is assigned a student at the beginning of the semester. The tutor then works with the student for 12 weeks. While many children who come into the program are reading one-two years below grade level, the gains made by most children are visible several weeks after the tutoring sessions begin.

“Horizons’ strong education and enrichment programs help students overcome their many challenges and succeed,” Rumpf said. “Sacred Heart is the best place I can imagine to run Horizons; its community of caring students and faculty, along with excellent facilities, make us a leader within the Horizons movement nationwide.

"Together we are not only solving the problems of the inner city, we are developing the future leaders in Bridgeport and beyond.”

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