Aspiring teachers offer literacy clinic

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Zeiva Bivens, 8, of Farmington reads to her literacy tutor, Kate Herbert, Thursday, Nov. 29 at W.G. Mallett School. Herbert is an early childhood education student at University of Maine at Farmington. Zeiva and Herbert have worked together one-on-one throughout the fall semester. (Dee Menear/Franklin Journal)

FARMINGTON — Some children taking part in the 21st Century Kids of F.R.A.N.K.L.I.N after-school program are receiving extra attention in reading and language arts.

The literacy clinic, offered at W.G. Mallett School, is a partnership between the after school program and University of Maine at Farmington. Early childhood education students work one-on-one with young readers to build a personalized literacy program.

The college students, or preservice teachers, are enrolled in Reading, Language Arts, and Children’s Literature for K-3. The course is taught by Dr. Kathryn Will-Dubyak,  UMF assistant professor of literacy education. The course focuses on literacy instruction for students in grades K-3. The after school clinic is part of the course, she said.

Preservice teachers are UMF students who are studying to be teachers, she added. The students are introduced to the teaching role by taking part in guided teaching opportunities.

“In my work in teacher education, I believe that learning by working with one child allows preservice teachers to put into practice the foundational theories, concepts, and skills they need to be successful literacy teachers,” said Will-Dubyak. “The preservice teachers are supported with my oversight in planning instructional opportunities that are shaped specifically to the children’s needs.”

“These preservice teachers and young students have the chance to form a relationship during the literacy clinic, which runs through the fall semester,” she added.

Will-Dubyak worked with Mallett school Principal Tracy Williams and the 21st Century program to build the literacy clinic. It was first offered in the fall of 2017.

“This semester is a continuation of this work,” Will-Dubyak said. “I wish the course was offered every semester but, for now, it is only offered in the fall.”

Kate Herbert is one of 14 UMF students taking part in the clinic. Herbert works with Zeiva Bivens, 8, of Farmington.

“I like reading with her,” Zeiva said. “It is fun and I learn.”

dmenear@thefranklinjournal.com

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