New TROY program aims to improve local pre-K literacy education efforts

Posted: Tuesday, 23 July 2013

DOTHAN — A new Troy University initiative launched by faculty in the College of Education will provide professional development training and support to teachers at prekindergarten programs in Dothan serving children from low-income families.

Funded by a nearly $24,000 grant from the Wiregrass Foundation, the Project Pre-K to K Literacy Transition program will forge year-long partnerships between TROY education faculty and three child care centers in Dothan serving about 85 families from low-income neighborhoods. The program will provide the pre-K teachers with training, curriculum and support to ensure that the four-year-olds at the centers are getting high-quality literacy education that will prepare them for kindergarten.

Many young children face significant challenges in learning to read because they lack essential literacy skills when they begin school, said Dr. Cynthia Hicks, an assistant professor in the College of Education.

“For well over a decade, 60-percent of children growing up in poverty have failed to meet the basic literacy standards," Dr. Hicks said. “It is widely accepted that one of the best ways to address this problem is to provide quality prekindergarten education so that all children begin kindergarten with the skills necessary to succeed."

Dr. Hicks and TROY lecturer Pam Wimbish will serve as co-directors for the Project Pre-K to K Literacy Transition program. The pair will conduct workshops and provide on-site support for the pre-K teachers designed to enhance the quality of literacy education being provided at the childcare centers. The program will also provide the centers with curriculum materials and books.

The Project Pre-K to K Literacy Transition program is expected to begin in August.