MATR candidate, Jill Carlisle discusses a book with her reading group.
About five years ago, School of Education faculty member, Kathy Rosebrock (Master Teacher in Residence) and Sheryl Davis, Executive Director of Mo’Magic, formed a partnership between the University of San Francisco and Schools of the Sacred Heart (SSH); both organizations with the same Jesuit mission.
This brought together an academic program (MATR), with a goal of preparing teachers to work in an urban environment, and a need in the community for a summer enrichment program to address “summer learning loss.”
The partners include the Master of Arts in Teaching Reading (MATR) program at the USF School of Education, coordinated by Dr. Helen Maniates, Mo’Magic, a non-profit neighborhood-based organization serving the Western Addition community in San Francisco, and the Heart to Heart program of the Schools of the Sacred Heart (SSH) that donates their classroom space, playgrounds and cafeteria, equipment (including laptops and iPads), and classroom supplies. See our Summer Reading Program video »
The partners share the belief that access to high quality literacy education is a human right and they have a common objective to prevent “summer learning loss,” particularly in the area of reading.
MATR candidates in their culminating course, Reading Practicum, serve as classroom teachers and lead the classroom team of co-educators during the 5-week Summer Reading Program for grades 1-8. They are responsible for planning community-building and literacy activities for their classroom, assessing students in reading, and targeting instruction to incorporate student strengths and meet student needs and interests.
The children who attend the Summer Reading Program come from three Mo’Magic-affiliated summer enrichment programs; Magic Zone, Booker T. Washington Community Service Center (BTW) and Prince Hall Learning Center. Summer 2013 included 166 students in grades 1-8. Nine MATR candidates lead nine classroom teams that included ten co-educators (professional youth development staff from the three community programs). Each classroom also had one to three high school interns.
New to the Summer Reading Program this year was Tail Wagging’ Tutors, one of the newest services of Therapy Dog International, Inc. (TDI). Working with schools and libraries, volunteers and their dogs schedule reading hours for children with certified and registered Therapy Dogs. The volunteer in this case was School of Education faculty member, Dr. Caryl Hodges with her two Therapy Dogs. The students, individually or in small groups read to the dogs (several read from books about dogs) in a relaxed and non-judgmental setting. Research has shown that reading to a Therapy Dog not only improves a child’s self-esteem and self-confidence, but their reading abilities as well. Students loved the Tail Wagging’ Tutors.