January 23, 2014
A Texas Tech student reads to preschool-aged children in the Lubbock community.
Today is National Reading Day, an event celebrating and encouraging young readers across the country, but Texas Tech University’s College of Education celebrates young literacy every day with their Jumpstart program.
Jumpstart is a national organization that provides educational programming for preschool children in low-income communities. The Texas Tech chapter was established in 2002 and has now grown to more than 50 students who volunteer.
Nationally, 50,000 children have been impacted by the organization’s support, and Dawn Burke, site manager for Jumpstart Lubbock at Texas Tech, said the goal is that one day every child in America enters Kindergarten prepared to succeed.
“We provide essential early literacy skills to preschool children who are lacking in those language and reading skills,” she said.
Texas Tech students who volunteer for Jumpstart are trained to engage preschool students in different activities such as singing songs, playing word and letter games, and reading poems. Volunteers teach lessons on concept knowledge, vocabulary and reading retention.
“We have been able to help more than 150 students each year in the Lubbock community,” Burke said. “This past year, 96 percent of the children who participated gained one developmental level within the September thru May time period.”
Student volunteer Hugo Ontiveros said it’s a great opportunity to get to know the Lubbock community and to make an impact on a child’s life.
“It’s awesome seeing them grow throughout the year,” said Ontiveros, a senior psychology and biology major from El Paso. “We’re lucky to be able to be in the same classroom all year because we get to see firsthand the huge progress the kids make with our help.
“It’s impacted me personally because each time I teach something new the kids give me satisfaction when they show they’ve learned something.”
Recently, Texas Tech’s College of Education was rewarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education for the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood. The grant will allow Jumpstart to expand its services and help more children in need.
The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including eight doctoral degrees, 12 master's degrees and two bachelor's degrees with numerous specializations leading to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.
Programs in the college are housed in two departments. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers undergraduate programs leading to initial teaching certificates and graduate programs in bilingual education, curriculum and instruction, elementary education, language literacy and secondary education.
The Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership offers graduate programs in counselor education, educational leadership, educational psychology, higher education, instructional technology and special education.