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Wednesday, November 8, 2006
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Program improves reading skills of troubled youth

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio (Nov. 8, 2006) -- Ohio University-Eastern and the Juvenile Drug Court in Belmont County have partnered together to create a special reading program to assist the young people in the court system.

Lisa Baker, literary specialist on the Eastern campus, and Judge Mark Costine have joined forces to create a program that will educate and improve the confidence of many middle-school and high-school students in the court system.

The program began in the fall of 2005 and has been extremely successful.

"Of the students that have participated, we have already seen many of them improve their reading skills by a grade level or more," Baker said.

This program is run through An Appalachian Ohio program: Combining Our Resources to Promote School success (AppalCORPS). 

The reading program first began when Costine contacted Ohio University Eastern Dean Paul Bibbins about having students mentor young people in the court system.

Students' reading skills are evaluated, and then they are placed with a tutor to attempt to strengthen their weaknesses. Tutors spend an hour and a half a week working with them on their reading skills in local libraries or during their study hall periods. Nick Tracy and Jillian Johnson are the program's current tutors on Eastern campus. Tracy is an Ohio University graduate and Johnson is an education major at Eastern.

"We have found a strong correlation between young people involved in the court system and low reading levels," Baker said. "This program has proved very beneficial for many of these people."

In addition to the Eastern campus, Shawnee State University and the Ohio University Athens campus also participate. Between the three locations, the program has 30 full-time reading tutors who also work on service projects in the community.

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Media Contact: Media Specialist George Mauzy , (740) 597-1794 or mauzy@ohio.edu

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