Organization Helps Children Get a Jumpstart on Reading

Texas Tech students volunteer to tutor local preschool-aged children.

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.

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College of Education

The College of Education at Texas Tech University offers a full range of programs, including 9 doctoral degrees, 10 master's degrees, two bachelor's degrees and numerous specializations which can lead to careers in public or private education as teachers, professors, administrators, counselors and diagnosticians.

Programs in the college are housed in three departments.

The Department of Curriculum & Instruction offers advanced degrees that prepare leaders, researchers, and professors with the knowledge, skills, and practical application experience needed to analyze, construct, and evaluate curricula in ways that create optimal learning conditions for all learners. Language and literacy, bilingual education and STEM education are just a few of the specializations offered by C&I.

The Department of Educational Psychology & Leadership consists of a diverse group of academic programs that equip students with a comprehensive knowledge of learning, motivation, development, and educational foundations. The disciplines of counseling and school psychology are housed within the EP&L department as are programs to prepare future college administrators, primary and secondary school and district leaders, as well as practical and academic educational psychologists.

The Department of Teacher Education focuses solely on teacher preparation, ensuring that teacher candidates are ready for the classroom on day one. The Teacher Education Department is home to TechTeach, an innovative teacher preparation program that puts teacher candidates into public school classrooms for a full year and requires that students pass teacher certification tests prior to entering the classroom. Various paths to teaching careers, including fast-track distance programs statewide and alternative certification options, are also housed in this department.

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