CENTRAL – For more than a dozen years, Project Read at Southern Wesleyan University has been in place to provide key resources to teachers educating their students on two of the most important life skills they’ll ever have – reading and writing.
“The Project Read model just works; children can use it; it’s practical; it’s multisensory,” said Peggy Bodie, Project Read Coordinator at Southern Wesleyan. Bodie explained that this model employs strategies for effectively teaching language development to students by visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic methods.
The curriculum is organized into three strands: phonics/linguistics, reading comprehension and written expression. According to their website, Project Read programs have been proven to enrich RTI (Response to Intervention) models, improve test scores and meet state standards.
Bodie, who taught elementary grades for 25 years, says Project Read covers all the bases and benefits students who are struggling as well as the most advanced students.
“I even have had teachers who’ve seen me using it and say ‘I wish I’d known about this when I was going to school,’” she said.
The State Department of Education annually underwrites the $500,000 Project Read grant using funds from the South Carolina lottery. Southern Wesleyan University began administering the program in 2003, with the help of then-state representative Bud Webb of Pickens County, District 3.
Bodie’s job is to set up classes across the state, market the program to schools and administer the state grant. Teachers taking Project Read training can earn three graduate-level credit hours for $50. The materials and training are funded by the Project Read grant.
At the same time, they earn 60 teacher recertification points, which also applies to the 120 recertification points required every five years. Southern Wesleyan hosted a training session July 6 for Project Read, attended by instructors from across the state.
Students served by Project Read continue to benefit from the program thanks to continued legislative support of grant funding. Pickens County District 3 Representative Gary Clary is a strong believer in the program’s importance.
“I am proud to be part of the South Carolina General Assembly that recognizes the value of Project Read and allows Southern Wesleyan University to administer the state-funded Project Read grant,” Clary said. “Southern Wesleyan University, through Project Read, is equipping teachers throughout South Carolina with new teaching strategies that prepare the teacher to meet the needs of a wide range of students. Students with reading disorders, like dyslexia, do not ‘learn’ like other students. Project Read instruction ensures that our teachers are well versed in multisensory strategies and kinesthetic/tactile activities to match to students’ learning needs.”
Dr. Sandra McLendon, dean of Southern Wesleyan University’s School of Education, feels that Project Read aligns well with the university’s tradition of excellence in providing quality instruction and materials to facilitate reading instruction for the K-5 students in South Carolina.
McLendon adds, “The graduate level courses include an emphasis in phonics, reading strategies, and writing strategies. The courses have been provided at the Central, Charleston, Columbia and Greenville sites for more than 500 certified teachers in 2016-2017.”
For details about Project Read, contact Bodie at [email protected] or call (864) 644-5343.
Visit Project Read at SWU online at http://www.swu.edu/academics/school-of-education/project-read/.