Islander Teacher Candidates Improve Children’s Reading Skills with New Resource Library

Published: April 26, 2018

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – All books are not created equally, especially when you are using that book to teach a child to read. Experts recognize the importance of teaching reading skills with proper high-quality resources because reading is the foundation for learning most other academic subjects. The College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, through its Reading Department, has recently opened the Islander Educator Literacy Resource Library, located on the second floor of the Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC). The resource library seeks to enhance Islander teacher candidates’ instructional methods.

“If we are going to teach our Islander students how to teach young children to read, they need access to first-class resources,” said Dr. Bethanie Pletcher, assistant professor of literacy education at A&M-Corpus Christi, who took the lead in organizing this new venture. “Without the foundation of reading, children and adolescents may struggle with comprehension and fluency for years to come.”

The new environment offers more than 1,370 fiction and nonfiction books, including 600 leveled reading books from the Red Rocket Readers series. The Red Rocket Reader collection, which includes color-coded books with fun images, large friendly easy-to-read text, and is organized by level, features different genres that range from entertaining fiction to educative nonfiction. The resource library will especially help undergraduates taking the course READ 3351, Diagnosis and Correction of Reading Problems, improve their tutoring of students in 1st through 8th grade.

“We are bringing the best of best into the library,” said Pletcher. “Sometimes, students go to larger libraries and get lost in enormous piles of books. In the Islander Educator Literacy Resource Library, we have a guided selection of labeled material and we curate our collection to contain award-winning books.”

Along with the recent purchase of the Red Rocket Readers collection, the library also benefited from a large book donation from Dr. Sherrye Garrett upon her retirement in 2016.

“Dr. Garrett’s collection was the starting point for this project,” shared Pletcher. “And for that we are truly grateful.”

Along with the Red Rocket Reader series, the resource library includes trade books on topics such as history, mathematics, science and other genres. In addition, it includes readers’ theatre scripts, alphabet books, Spanish-language books and American Library Association award-winning collections such as Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta Scott King, Pura Belpre and Tomas Rivera.

“The library helped me select the books I need to tutor kids as a substitute teacher in the Corpus Christi Independent School District,” shared Umamah Ahmed, a senior Islander student majoring in EC-6 interdisciplinary studies. “The Islander Educator Literacy Resource Library provides more resources related to education classes compared to traditional libraries. It also has books to better prepare elementary grade students.”

The resource library is under the daily supervision of two curriculum and instruction doctoral students who monitor the check-in and check-out system. Islander students use the “honor system” when borrowing books for a two-week period, though fines may be incurred if books are damaged or lost.

Pletcher expects to expand the resource library by calling for future donations and support from the Islander community.

“There are never enough books,” concluded Pletcher. “We would like to grow the space and encourage all professors and students to come in and take advantage of the books for their classes.”

The Resource Library, located in ECDC Room 200, is open Monday and Wednesday from 1-3 p.m.; Tuesday from 3-5 p.m. and Thursday from 2-5 p.m. For more information, including instructions on donating books to the Islander Educator Literacy Resource Library, email Bethanie.pletcher@tamucc.edu.