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SUNY Potsdam literacy students branch out with books at Jefferson Elementary

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POTSDAM - Graduate students in Dr. Lynn A. Hall’s course, “Literacy: Family, School, Community Collaborations,” recently got some hands-on experience helping local elementary students and their parents.

The associate professor of literacy education worked with the students in her class to design and implement a Family Literacy Event as part of a Curriculum Night held at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena.

The program was a huge hit, with games and activities, and the SUNY Potsdam students handed out 200 family literacy kits that they had created.

“The children were so actively engaged in the activities that parents had difficulty prying them away from the intervention tables to get ice cream sundaes or check out the selection of books at the Books on Wheels carts,” said Faith Bish ‘03, literacy specialist at Jefferson Elementary.

Support for this program comes from “Branching Out With Books,” a collaborative literacy program between SUNY Potsdam and St. Lawrence University. “Branching Out” is coordinated by Dr. Marta Albert, associate professor of literacy education and Tina Wilson Bush, director of the Rebecca V. Sheard Literacy Center at SUNY Potsdam, along with Brenda Papineau, director of community-based learning partnerships at St. Lawrence University, Canton.

The “Branching Out with Books” program provides college students with an important hands-on learning experience working with approximately 400 high-need children throughout the school year at Massena’s Jefferson Elementary School, Hermon-DeKalb Central School, Madrid-Waddington Central School and the Akwesasne St. Regis Mohawk Reservation.

The program is funded through a grant from the Charles R. Wood Foundation, and from a generous donation from the KeyBank Foundation.

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