Niagara University Unveils Family Literacy Center

April 24, 2014  |  by Michael Freedman

  • Family Literacy Center

    NU graduate student Kristen DeMarco works with a young student inside the Family Literacy Center.

  • Dr. Kathleen McGrath

    Dr. Kathleen McGrath, clinical director of the Family Literacy Center at Niagara University

  • Dr. Debra Colley

    Dr. Debra Colley, dean of the College of Education

  • Kaitlyn Kiszewski

    Kaitlyn Kiszewski, a Niagara University graduate student, assists a young girl with homework.

  • Dorothy Swift

    Dorothy Swift, parent of a Family Literacy Center student

  • Dr. Tim Downs

    Dr. Tim Downs, provost and chief academic officer at Niagara University

Niagara University’s College of Education held an event Wednesday, April 23, to officially unveil the Family Literacy Center.

The center, which is housed in the university’s Academic Complex, is an on-campus educational opportunity for graduate students to demonstrate teaching while enhancing the literacy performance of at-risk readers and their families. The center’s programs focus on improving reading, writing and listening skills among children while supporting the literacy and basic skills of the family itself.

“The Family Literacy Center is a great asset, not only for our students here at Niagara, but also for the local community as well,” said Debra Colley, Ph.D., dean of Niagara’s College of Education. “Through our programs, we provide evaluation and remediation programs for local P-12 school students in a one-on-one setting. These programs provide students and their families with a plan for future educational support.”

The center is a valuable community resource for diagnosing and remediating reading difficulties. Its programs, which are staffed by NU graduate students, focus on improving reading, writing and listening skills among children while supporting the literacy and basic skills of the family itself. The beginner program is available for students in grades K-2, and the intermediate program is geared for students in grades 3-12.

In addition to the diagnostic and remediation services, the Family Literacy Center also offers an Enrichment Book Club Program. The book club allows children to engage in active learning and provides them with opportunities to speak, interact and exchange points of view. The club is based on research that confirms that student motivation is a key factor in successful reading, and that book clubs can be an excellent venue for building excitement and friendship over good books.

The center is a 3,000-square-foot facility, which features Smart boards, iPads, a Smart table, laptop computers, literacy apps, and online books. The center also houses nearly 7,000 guided reading books for levels from pre-K to grade 12. Other student resources include big books, themed books, level books teacher guides, teacher games, spelling/phonics programs, literacy assessments, and data collection software.

For more information on the Literacy Center and the programs available, please contact Dr. Kathleen McGrath at 716.286.8309 or email ude.aragainnull@gck.