VALDOSTA — “By working with these children,” Doepker said, “we’re bringing up their confidence and giving them skills they can use” inside the classroom in every subject, as well as outside the classroom. “It’s effective. Their success on the CRCT is phenomenal and says that we are doing something right. The kids that we work with are purposely chosen because they are lower-level readers and struggling.”
The Ruby R. Sullivan Literacy Center’s mission is to be an integrated system of care for the children and families of Valdosta and surrounding areas with a focus on building children’s literacy skills, motivation, and confidence. The center serves children in grades first through fifth, but programs are being developed for middle school and high school students, as well as prekindergarten and kindergarten students, said Doepker.
The Ruby R. Sullivan Literacy Center offers several programs designed to help children in the elementary grades build literacy skills, gain confidence, and be more motivated to want to read for both pleasure and study:
• Literacy Education Assessment Program (LEAP): This is a literacy tutoring program that involves VSU pre-service teachers assessing the community children’s current literacy skills, developing specific literacy goals, providing one-on-one research-based literacy instruction and intervention, and monitoring the children’s literacy development progress.
• Blazing Through Books Program: This feeder program for LEAP pairs VSU athletes and students with community children in one-on-one and small group literacy skill-building activities, such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
• Multidisciplinary Child Advocacy Team (M-CAT): Through this program, any and all departments at VSU, as well as interested community organizations, provide identified services for the community children and families, such as comprehensive assessments, health screenings, family support and therapy, content area tutoring, shadowing opportunities, adult literacy, and much more.