February 16, 2016

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

Book Fair Benefits VSU Literacy Initiatives, Runs Feb. 22-26

Scene from the 2015 Fall Scholastic Book Fair

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Department of Early Childhood and Special Education will host a Spring Scholastic Book Fair from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22, through Thursday, Feb. 25, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26. The semi-annual fundraiser will be held on the first floor of the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services and will feature lots of affordable, high quality books for school children of all ages.

Proceeds from the Spring Scholastic Book Fair will help purchase books and other materials for two VSU-based literacy initiatives — Read Fest and the Ruby R. Sullivan Literacy Center.

Sponsored by VSU’s Odum Library and Student Council of the International Reading Association, Read Fest 2016 will be held on Friday, April 15.  Nearly 300 prekindergarten students from area schools will spend the morning participating in a variety of activities, including puppet shows, games, singing, crafts, read-along stories, and coloring. The purpose of the annual event is to promote literacy in the community by encouraging children to get excited about reading at an early age. Every participating child receives a book to take home.

The Ruby R. Sullivan Literacy Center offers several programs designed to help children in the elementary grades build literacy skills, gain confidence, and be more motivated to want to read for both pleasure and study year-round:

Literacy Education Assessment Program (LEAP): This is a literacy tutoring program that involves VSU pre-service teachers assessing the community children’s current literacy skills, developing specific literacy goals, providing one-on-one research-based literacy instruction and intervention, and monitoring the children’s literacy development progress. Students in LITR 4120: Literacy Assessment and Applications work with the children, gaining experience in assessing and planning appropriate literacy remediation. 

Blazing Through Books Program: This feeder program for LEAP pairs VSU athletes and students with community children in one-on-one and small group literacy skill-building activities, such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Reading is RAD! (Radiant, Aromatic, Delicious): Pairs of students from LITR 3110: Emergent Literacy work with all of the children in the Blazing Through Books program during the fall semesters. They specifically promote reading through small group interactive read-alouds, comprehension-building strategies, and extension activities, such as writing, drama, art, music, and so on. The purpose of this program is to get the children excited about reading, work on basic literacy skills, and expose the children to different genres.  

Multidisciplinary Child Advocacy Team (M-CAT): Through this program, any and all departments at VSU, as well as interested community organizations, provide identified services for the community children and families, such as comprehensive assessments, health screenings, family support and therapy, content area tutoring, shadowing opportunities, adult literacy, and much more.

Dear Blazer Buddy: This is a pen pal program that pairs community children with VSU athletes and students. It is designed to get the children involved in a reading and writing activity that is fun and motivating.

Blazer Books Television Series: This is a developing program that gives all VSU faculty, staff, and students, as well as area public schools, organizations, and others the opportunity to read their favorite childhood book on camera.

Reading Enrichment Club (REC) Center: This group was formed for those children who exceed their grade-level reading proficiencies but still want to participate in the program. It focuses on helping them extend their literacy competencies by providing more challenging reading and writing experiences. Participants have worked their way through the Blazing Through Books Program and the Literacy Education Assessment Program (LEAP).

Blazing LitES: Pairs of students from LITR 3120: Early Literacy lead the children in this focus-guided reading program designed to improve their literacy skills in a way that is meaningful, relevant, and purposeful. Participants receive reading instruction with pre-service teachers in small groups based on their instructional reading level and fluency, word attack, comprehension, vocabulary, and writing strategies.

VSU has had some sort of literacy outreach initiative since 1989.

The Ruby R. Sullivan Literacy Center is located on the first floor of the James L. and Dorothy H. Dewar College of Education and Human Services. 

Contact Dr. Gina M. Doepker, director of the Ruby R. Sullivan Literacy Center and associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Special Education, at gmdoepker@valdosta.edu, (229) 333-5625, or (229) 333-5645 for more information.

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Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities. 

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals: 

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 2: Increase financial support for the institution.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.