Family literacy and enrichment programs net $750,000 grant

Topic: Teachers College

April 15, 2010

Ball State University has received a four-year, $750,000 grant from the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) that will provide out-of-school enrichment programs for children at Longfellow Elementary School, as well as literacy programs for preschool-aged children and their families in Muncie's Whitely neighborhood.

The 21st Century Community Learning Center Fund grant will allow enrichment programs to be offered after school, in the summer and on Saturdays to almost 170 students in grades K-3. Elementary education students from Ball State will also provide assistance with a weekly family literacy program, aimed at preschool-aged children, and provide one-on-one after-school tutoring in reading for children in grades 1-3. Each year, a new group of kindergarten students will be added into the program and will participate through grade 3.

"These funds will go a long way toward changing the lives of many children at Longfellow," said Eva Zygmunt-Fillwalk, associate professor of elementary education and co-author of the grant. "We're now able to offer some assistance to kids outside of the classroom which, in the end will help them succeed inside the classroom, and at no cost to families."

For Patricia Clark, associate professor of elementary education and co-author of the grant, it's about understanding the importance of designing these activities around what is already being taught in school, in order to reach the ultimate goal.

"At the end of the day, our goal is to make sure that all children are at the appropriate levels in reading and math by the time they reach third grade," she said.

The project is a partnership between Ball State, Muncie Community Schools, Roy C. Buley Center, Huffer Memorial Children's Center and United Way of Delaware County.

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