The Division of Undergraduate Studies at The University of Southern
Mississippi recently created a way in which students could apply
lessons from the classroom to real-world settings while giving back
to the university community.
the Summer Development Program conducted a service-learning project
in which they read to and practiced reading strategies with children
at the Southern Miss Child Development Center. "This is something
we have wanted to do for a while, and this summer we got the opportunity,"
said Julie Howdeshell, reading instructor for the Division of Undergraduate
the service-learning project, students learned various ways to read
different material. The materials included everything from scholarly
works to textbooks and children's literature. Students also spent
time in Cook Library learning how to select appropriate reading
material for the project. The reading course teaches students not
only how to read material for understanding, but also how to engage
and gain interaction from their listeners.
and Ritha Funchess, teachers at the Child Development Center, allowed
the students to read to their 3- to 5-year-old classes. "The
students did a wonderful job. They chose books that were interesting
and appropriate for the children, things that the children enjoyed,"
said the students interacted with the children very well. Watkins,
who teaches 3- and 4-year-old children, said she liked that the
students read to the kids in small groups. "The project went
very well," Watkins said.
an activity allows students to feel as if they are actually gaining
something from the classroom experience," said Lorie Fulton,
an instructor in the Division of Undergraduate Studies. "This
activity goes beyond the test and the students feel they have a
At the conclusion
of the service project, students were to write narrative essays
about their experience.