Community Literacy Center Update
All summer, the sounds of construction could be heard on the first floor of Morrill Hall as the facilities team turned the 109 Suite to be the Education Department’s new Community Literacy Center. The result? Sunny, welcoming literacy quarters designed with flexibility in mind. The new floor-plan includes a large room with flexible desk space for hosting both 1:1 tutoring meetings and small groups of learners. Past the main room is a smaller conference room perfect for collaborating on writing, hosting a book club, or working on big projects. In the middle of the suite, an observation room looks onto the conference room and an individual tutoring room so UNH graduate students and member teachers can observe literacy work in process without disturbing working readers and writers.
Also present this summer was Dr. Bethany Silva, new Research Assistant Professor in the Education Department and Director of the Community Literacy Center. Dr. Silva comes to UNH via the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her Ed.D. in Reading, Writing, and Literacy. During her research assistantship at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Silva developed and ran out-of-school literacy programming for Philadelphia youth. One program, Friday Night Writes, was a drop-in writing program for students in grades 7-12. Through that program, three of Dr. Silva’s students earned national awards in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards program.
While in Philadelphia, Dr. Silva also developed and directed a two-week summer writing camp, Project Write, in partnership with Independence National Historical Park. That camp has become a flagship for the National Writing Project and National Park’s collaborative work with youth, educators, parks, and writing. In honor of her work with Friday Night Writes, Independence National Historical Park, and practitioner inquiry groups, Dr. Silva won the 2017 Philadelphia Writing Project Award for outstanding commitment to practitioner inquiry and literacy instructional leadership from the University of Pennsylvania.
This fall, the Literacy Center will launch programming for youth and educators. For youth, this includes 1:1 literacy tutoring, a Friday Night Writes drop-in writing program for teens, and an afterschool Book/Art club for elementary-aged youth. For educators, the Literacy Center will host a monthly book clubs and bi-weekly Twitter chats at #NHLiteracy. Additionally, the Literacy Center will host a reading specialist forum for reading specialists across New Hampshire to meet and share ideas. More information on programming, including costs and details for signing up will be posted on our web page, http://cola.unh.edu/education/program/community-literacy-center, shortly.
Interested in volunteering or signing up for programming? To stay up to date about Community Literacy Center programming and events, sign up for our mailing list at http://cola.unh.edu/education/community-literacy-center-online-newsletter-mailing-list, visit the Facebook page, or check out the blog!