Shorter University’s School of Education and Alto Park Elementary are teaming up to host a Reading Extravaganza on Thursday, Feb. 25. The event, which is being designed by Shorter’s Early Literacy class, seeks to promote literacy and build a love for learning among the K-5 students at Alto Park.
“Our teacher candidates are designing the Reading Extravaganza to be a fun evening of literacy-based activities,” said Julia Houston, assistant professor of early childhood education and director of early childhood education at Shorter.
“All of the activities that evening will be planned to help with literacy. There will be many fun activities that students can participate in during this event, including making Trail Mix, listening to a live storyteller, and having their picture made in the Wild West Photo Booth.”
In recent years, Shorter’s School of Education has partnered with local schools to offer a number of events like the Reading Extravaganza that are designed to engage parents in the learning process. The most recent example was a “Peace, Love, and Books” event held at Pepperell Elementary on Feb. 15.
“By working on this type of event, our students see how teachers can build partnerships with the family and the child,” Houston said. “Engaging families has been shown to improve student success. If the parents themselves struggled in school, they may tend to have a negative view of school. We as educators want to help build positive experiences that go beyond talking with teachers at conferences.”
Dr. Norma Harper, dean of Shorter University’s School of Education, emphasized that this type of university-school partnership is beneficial for everyone involved. “Shorter’s partnership with Alto Park to prepare future teachers is a win-win situation for all involved. We work collaboratively to increase student achievement now and in the future.”
Houston added that the partnerships are also beneficial for the teacher candidates in Shorter’s classrooms. “Our students will be the ones teaching soon,” she said. “We could teach our education classes in isolation, but we want them to understand what it is like to be in the classroom and in a school environment.”
Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Learn more about Shorter at www.shorter.edu.