A recent gift to the University of Mississippi established the Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program—a fund to provide literacy programming for area children with the potential for statewide outreach.
All literacy programming, provided by certified speech-language pathologists and graduate student clinicians from the UM Speech and Hearing Center, is designed to improve children's reading skills and provide interventions for children with reading disabilities. This program provides quality services for children diagnosed with a reading disability, those at risk for learning to read and clinical training for graduate students in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.
This program will expand the Mississippi Scottish Rite’s support of children with language and literacy problems through direct service as well as through educating graduate students who will continue this work in their professional practice.
“On behalf of the approximately 2,400 Scottish Rite Masons of Mississippi, it is with great pleasure that we partner with the University of Mississippi Foundation to establish a literacy program for children, while enabling student practitioners to hone their skills,” said Bill Sloan of the Mississippi Scottish Rite.
“The Scottish Rite Masons work hard in supporting the identification of dyslexia and literacy issues with children to improve their learning abilities at the earliest stage as possible. This leads to a more positive learning environment, enhances their perspective and comprehension and results in better-prepared young adults and more productive citizens. We look forward to many years of supporting Mississippi’s youth and teachers in this field through this partnership with the University of Mississippi,” Sloan continued.
Ann Michael, who just completed her term as interim chair for Communication Sciences and Disorders, initially reached out to the group because of their affiliation with supporting language and literacy programs at a state and national level.
Sue Hale, advisory board member, Communication Sciences and Disorders alumna and 2009 American Speech-Language Hearing Association president, explained that the Scottish Rite is well known for their philanthropy with programs that help children achieve their greatest potential.
“Scottish Rite has a distinguished history of providing funding to language and literacy programs nationwide, and I am grateful that CSD at Ole Miss will be able to extend its good work through their donation and this partnership.”
This Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program directly addresses components of the University of Mississippi's mission by creating, sharing and applying knowledge in a format that trains students to use evidence-based practice to serve the people of the Mississippi. The student training and client remediation for this program will be based on the latest research recommendations for reading instruction. The remediation will be designed to meet the unique characteristics and needs of each child and it will include explicit one-to-one instruction as well as some small group interactions.
Offering children comprehensive reading evaluations to identify targets for intervention is top priority for the Department of Communications and Disorders, which operates the center. They are also working to create an after school literacy program, preventative programs in collaboration with local schools and summer literacy camps.
“We are incredibly grateful for this gift from the Mississippi Scottish Rite, because it allows us to provide a critical service to children and a clinical opportunity for our graduate students to expand their practical experience and research,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean for the School of Applied Sciences.
For more information about the Mississippi Scottish Rite Literacy Program, visit csd.olemiss.edu or call (662) 915-7652.
By Sarah Sapp