April 7, 2008

Positivity: Creating readers, one child at a time

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Colorado Springs, Colorado:

Endowed professorship will honor UCCS professor who has a passion for literacy

April 6, 2008 – 12:56AM

Barbara Swaby, Ph.D., says her life has been a series of “unexplained miracles.” Local students might say she is their miracle.

For 31 years the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor has been rescuing the futures of children doing poorly in school because they can’t read well. As director of the UCCS Graduate Reading Program and the Graduate Reading Clinic, she teaches graduate students how to teach reading. Using their newfound skills, her students provide one-on-one help to children in free reading clinics, and most of them go on to teach reading in their communities.

“She has been changing lives one child at a time,” says Jaime McMullen Garcia, associate director of development at the University of Colorado Foundation.

This year, the UCCS College of Education is establishing the Dr. Barbara Swaby Endowed Professorship. It is one of the highest honors a college professor can receive. A $500,000 community fundraising effort is under way to create the endowed chair that will ensure that Swaby’s invaluable work will continue after she retires, Garcia explains. This is the first endowed professorship for the College of Education.

Swaby provides 400 to 500 free reading evaluations for children each year. Unlike a typical professor’s office, hers is filled with children’s books, a child-size table and chairs. On the walls are colorfully drawn thank-you notes sent by children over the years.

“Everywhere I go, when people know I’m from UCCS, they say ‘Oh, do you know Dr. Swaby?’ And then they talk about how she helped them read, or helped their child or grandchildren to go to college,” Garcia says. “I can’t believe how many people whose lives have been touched by her.”

Step by step – sometimes by sheer energy and will – she built at UCCS one of the finest reading programs in the country, educators say. Because of her scholarship, she holds the university’s highest title of President’s Teaching Scholar, Garcia says.

But Swaby does not promote her accomplishments. Instead, she says simply, “I’ve had good fortune.”

Go here for the rest of the story.

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