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Citadel News Service
4 Jun 2007

Reading program celebrates 30 years

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Thirty years ago Citadel education professor Col. Dan Ouzts founded a summer tutoring program to improve the reading skills of Lowcountry school children, and, at the same time, to give graduate students hands-on experience working with children. The program—now called the Wachovia Reading Program—has become a mainstay of summer education in Charleston.

Each year, graduate students pursuing a degree in Literacy or School Psychology are paired with one student who has been identified as reading below grade level. Approximately 25 children are evaluated through diagnostic reading tests and assigned an individual tutor who works with them based on their strengths and weaknesses. The program is held for two week-long sessions during the summer and is a free service. It is funded, in part, by a $250,000 grant from the Wachovia Foundation.

This year 30 students will take part in the program which will begin June 11 and end June 21. In its 30-year history, the program has had an impact on more than 1000 children.

“Without doubt, this program has been the highlight of my career at the Citadel. Often I receive calls from parents who had children in our program many years ago and they relate how the program changed their child’s life as well as their own. And, that is what reading instruction is about—changing lives,” said Ouzts.

Ouzts is retiring after this year, but the program will continue.

“The Citadel is recognized as the place in the Lowcountry for literacy instruction, primarily because of Dr. Ouzts’ efforts over the past 30 years. With support from the Wachovia Foundation, our goal is to build upon this legacy by ensuring that area teachers can both diagnose a child's reading problem and provide the appropriate remedy to correct the problem," said Tony Johnson, dean of the School of Education.
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