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Purchase Professor Teaches Literacy to Port Chester Students

When her graduate students needed to teach in a community that needed to learn, Purchase resident Dr. Rebecca Rich figured out a way to bring the two together.

The professor has now created a partnership between special education and literacy programming at Long Island University Hudson Graduate Center and Port Chester’s Carver Center. The goal is to teach reading and writing skills to students of varying learning abilities.

The after-school tutoring service is part of a lab practicum course taken during the students’ final semesters before graduation. As Rich supervises, they are able to test out teaching methods picked up during their own academic study. Carver Center kids then learn to decode vowels, consonants and read passages ranging in difficulty to build comprehension skills.

“It’s not enough to sit in classrooms and learn,” said the institution’s Director of Literacy Programs. “The students need to actually practice the craft.”

Plus, a lot of parents can't afford pricey tutoring services, making this hands-on approach a win-win--especially for students seeking extra-help throughout the school day.

Graduate students follow a teaching structure consisting of reading, phonics and sight word learning. At the end of the semester, Rich collects portfolios from her students marking day-to-day progress.

“We like to think of it as a three-tiered partnership,” Rich said of the relationship between Long Island University and Carver Center. “The kids at Carver Center, [our] graduate students and the community at large are all benefitting.”

Before she began work at Long Island University’s Hudson Graduate Center, Rich spent ten years as the Director of Special Education at Manhattanville College. She published her current text, Teaching Students with Learning Problems in the Inclusive Classroom in 2004.

She lives in Purchase with her husband Jeff and is the mother of two daughters, Jessica and Elyse.

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