School of Education and Human Development

USM's Summer Reading and Writing Workshop Turns 50

Student in USM's Summer Reading and Writing Workshop.

The Department of Literacy, Language and Culture’s 2020 Reading and Writing Workshop is gearing up for its 50th summer of discovery for young readers and writers. The workshop takes place at the Gorham Middle School during the month of July and is an intensive program for children who have just finished their Kindergarten year up to those who are about to enter high school in the fall.

The children are taught by tutors who are completing their graduate degrees in literacy education, at a ratio of 3:1, in addition to the supervisors of the program from the University. Although it is a summer program, it is designed to keep children focused on their studies and, for that reason, attendance to every half-day session, 4 days-a-week for 4 weeks, is mandatory. Due to the focused academic attention the kids receive, plus the frequency with which the program meets, many children experience sadness when the program ends at the end of July; even those who may not have been excited to start the program on the first day.  

"The graduate students who participate in the USM Summer Reading and Writing Workshop spend their time studying best literacy practices, assessing students, constructing individualized reading and writing plans for students, teaching reading and writing strategies, and developing not only students' love of reading and writing but student's confidence as readers and writers,” says Melinda Butler, director of the USM Reading and Writing Workshop.

“The USM Reading and Writing Workshop addresses the literacy needs of a variety of learners through expert tutoring of children by fully certified teachers pursuing the MSEd in Literacy Education or CAS in Literacy and the literacy specialist license,”  adds Andrea Stairs-Davenport, Professor in the Literacy, Language, and Culture Department at USM. “We are celebrating our 50th consecutive year of offering this capstone experience to our graduate students in service to the local community. The workshop provides an authentic learning experience for graduate students to put into practice their learning throughout their master's or CAS program, and the children are more motivated to read as their reading skills improve, all while preventing summer slide.” 

Educators who engage in this successful program experience an exciting summer of teaching kids from all over Southern Maine and, in turn, these children discover the joys of reading and expressing themselves through the written word. 

Parents and graduate students: Learn more about this inspiring summer workshop.