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UAlbany Literacy Lab helps students develop confidence in reading and writing

Students from Harmony Hill and Abram Lansing elementary schools strengthened their reading and writing skills this summer thanks to the UAlbany Literacy Lab, a capstone practicum for students pursuing their literacy specialist master’s degree.

“We want students to see themselves as readers and writers,” said Dr. Cheryl Dozier, associate professor in Literacy Teaching and Learning, and director of the lab, which has been held in the Cohoes school district for the past 17 years.

One way she encourages students to develop a love of reading and writing is to “always make it joyful.”

Working under the guidance of the graduate students, the children chose topics for their presentations that were of interest to them, such as how to keep Lansing Pool clean and safe, how to use composting gardens, or how to reduce plastic usage to save sea turtles.

“The kids become experts on their topics of interest, which, in turn, gives them confidence to write about what they’ve learned,” said Dr. Dozier.

Students presented their findings during the Family Celebration on August 4th, the culminating event of the six-week program, which included individual and group presentations.

The summer program was a win-win for both sets of students. The elementary students became stronger learners, honing both their analytical and creative thinking skills; and the graduate students are better prepared for their careers as educators, many of whom are beginning their first teaching positions this fall.

Perhaps, most importantly, were the connections made with families. “We love our partnership with Cohoes,” Dr. Dozier said.

Preparing our students for success in tomorrow’s world.

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