Gannon University’s School of Education Supports Tutoring Program at Little Villa

Posted: May 27, 2014

Ten students in Gannon University's School of Education worked with students at Villa Maria Elementary School during the Spring Semester to improve their reading and writing skills.

The Gannon students from the Literacy for Students with Exceptionalities class taught by Jill Merritt, Ph.D., were matched with Villa students for two hours twice a week with one-on-one instruction. At each session, the Gannon students helped the younger students who had been struggling with their reading, writing, and phonics skills.

The project grew out of a meeting that Merritt, along with her School of Education colleague Janice Whiteman, had with Villa Maria Elementary principal Damon Finazzo.

"We conducted an evaluation of strengths and weaknesses prior to the program, then created a framework to document the students' progress," Merritt said. "We saw a great deal of learning taking place and are excited to see these students learn and progress in their skills. We are looking forward to collaborating with the children's classroom teachers to assist in reinforcing the skills being worked on in the classroom."

"For 10 kids to stay after school for almost two hours, twice a week--and like it-is really something. The Gannon students liked working with our students, and our teachers, who always wish they could have more time to offer help to our students were gratified to know that the kids were able to get some good solid reading support," Finazzo said.

"The most impressive result was the self-confidence of the kids in the classrooms. Some also had marked improvement in fluency, but the increase in self-confidence and the ability to use difference in strategies to be able to read in front of their peers is the biggest difference this program made."