PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — With the help of a Pioneer Academic Center for Community Engagement grant, Dr. Peggy Marciniec associate professor of education, and her Reading Literacy, and Literature II class partnered with Southwestern Elementary School in Hazel Green, Wis., to host a reading night for pre-K through fourth grade students and their families.
The dog-themed event gave the university students the opportunity to build on what they had learned in their Reading Literacy, and Literature I course and to create reading stations for each grade level with developmentally appropriate reading activities. Children’s book author and owner of Plumery Trails in Galena, Ill., B.J. Schwartz, was also invited to the event. He and his wife brought one of their Alaskan Malamutes and also talked to the children and families about malamutes, dogs, and reading. He also shared some of his books. The goal of the reading night was to promote reading for the elementary students and show them, as well as their parents, that reading is accessible to everyone.
Marciniec expressed gratitude to the PACCE office, her students, as well as the staff at Southwestern Elementary School for all of their contributions. “I applied for a PACCE grant, and I got a lot of assistance from Carole Spelic,” she said. “I had never written a PACCE grant before. We also worked closely with the reading specialist in Hazel Green, Jodi Budden, and the teachers to come up with things that would work for each grade level. We had seven different stations, one for each grade level and then a parent education station as well.” She also expressed that she would be interested in collaborating with Southwestern Elementary School as well as other schools in the area to host future reading nights.
Marciniec hopes that not only her students, but also the community gained something from this experience. “I hope my students learned more about working with families,” she said. “They know what to do in a classroom, and they know what’s appropriate in the classroom but that other layer of community is a whole new piece for them. I hope the younger students now have a connection to college students and what they look like and realize that they’re real people. Knowing that the college is that close and offers opportunities would be good for the community as well.”
The School of Education has done previous outreach in the community. Last spring, one UW-Platteville education student partnered with Platteville High School to create a collaborative book club and used the 2013-14 Campus Read book, “Scoreboard, Baby: A Story of College Football, Crime, and Complicity,” as the text.
As UW-Platteville pursues its vision of being recognized as the leading student-focused university for its success in achieving excellence, creating opportunities and empowering each individual, it is guided by four strategic planning priorities. The Reading Night event aligns with two of the priorities, including providing an outstanding education and enriching the tri-states.
Written by: Emalydia Flenory, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194, firstname.lastname@example.org