Feb 19, 2014
By Cheri Russo
Ohio University Lancaster Lecturer of Education Terri Green is passionate about literacy. As a retired elementary school reading teacher, Green knows how important it is for today’s teacher candidates to learn how to teach literacy to young children. She also knows that it is important for her to share her knowledge of reading education with her students and with her community.
“Every semester, when I begin the first lecture of my new classes, I look at my students and say ‘I’m here because I want you to know how to teach my grandkid how to read,’” said Green. “That’s the driving force. That’s why I want my students to be the best they can be because they are impacting the lives of future students and the future leaders of our community. Literacy is very important.”
Green and Ohio University Lancaster are partners in a state grant project to help area elementary school students read at their grade level by the third grade. The Lancaster City School District was awarded a nearly $230,000 grant for one year to implement the early literacy program. A new state law requires students to meet certain proficiency levels on reading tests to advance to the fourth grade. The project is using data and resources to target all students below proficient reading levels for intensive, explicit and systematic instruction.
“When the state of Ohio decided that the third-grade guarantee should be implemented during the 2013-14 school year, where we’re saying that third graders have to achieve certain levels to go on to fourth grade, it became very apparent that school districts in the area were going to leverage any resources they could find to help struggling readers in kindergarten through third grade achieve for that third-grade guarantee,” said Green. “I was happy to offer my services.”
Green conducted staff development sessions for Lancaster City School teachers and staff. There were five, two-hour sessions. During the sessions, LCS employees talked about literacy issues and teaching strategies.
“We talked about the major components of literacy. We talked about phonics and vocabulary and comprehension and fluency,” said Green. “As we would talk about those, we would discuss issues that were showing up in the classroom and how we could really empower that classroom instruction to benefit the students.”
“Teachers feel comfortable with Terri,” said Tallmadge Elementary Principal Jeromey Sheets. “Teachers are willing to make mistakes and talk to Terri because they know her and have worked with her.”
“The training she is giving our teachers lasts forever,” said Director of Human Resources Nathan Hale. “We’re building capacity in our staff to do this type of literacy teaching forever.”
Green is also conducting parent training sessions in Lancaster to help parents of kindergarten through third-grade children tackle literacy issues early in a child’s life. The sessions are being held at elementary schools and libraries.
“We believe if you teach a parent, you reach a child,” said Green. ”It’s really important to do that.”
Green’s students at OUL are also working with district teachers to reduce the student-teacher ratio and are part of an extended day reading program in the district to help struggling readers improve their literacy skills. There are more than 300 children in the extended day program. The district has also hired 10 OUL education graduates to help with the reading initiative.
“The more you invest at an early age, as opposed to an older age, the bigger bang you get for your buck,” said Sheets.
“Self-esteem is tied up in school success,” said Green. “One of the ways we succeed in school is by being a good reader and a good writer. Anything I can do to help achieve that, I am ready and willing to do.”
This special Compass series highlights the ways in which Ohio University staff and faculty are living their passion while making a difference – on campus, in the community, in their fields, and around the world.
The Ohio University community is home to a family of staff and faculty committed to inspired teaching and learning and driven by a desire to make a difference.
University Communications and Marketing (UCM) launched a new Compass series, “Making the Difference,” this past fall. The series focuses on OHIO staff and faculty who are making a difference – on campus, in the community, in their fields, and around the word.
UCM is calling on Bobcat Nation to help us share the stories of the numerous ways in which OHIO staff and faculty are making a difference every day. If you know of an individual or group of individuals who would be ideal candidates for this series, please contact Angela Woodward at email@example.com.