Reading and Writing Clinic

Are you a parent who seeks support for a son or daughter who is struggling to learn to read or write?

The Donald D. Durrell Reading and Writing Clinic (RWC) at Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development brings together qualified literacy teachers and university faculty who share a common interest in bringing the best practices in literacy instruction to area children.

The Goal
The RWC provides assessment and individualized tutoring to students in and around the Boston area, with a focus on helping students in grades 1-12 who are experiencing difficulty learning to read and write. Working collaboratively with parents, teachers, and school administrators, the RWC staff assesses each child’s strengths and needs and then implements appropriate research-based interventions.

Our Students
The RWC serves students in grades 1-12 having a range of learning profiles: some struggle just a bit, while others experience severe reading and writing difficulty. Some are diagnosed as having specific special education needs while others are not eligible in their respective schools for special support services in reading and writing. Some do reasonably well in reading, but struggle in writing.

When students first arrive at the RWC, they participate in an assessment, based on a collection of research-validated formal and informal measures, to determine areas of strength and need. Assessments represent the critical literacy domains of motivation and interest, phonemic awareness and phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and writing. In addition to identifying children’s capabilities and skills, these assessments provide a starting point for determining the instructional materials and strategies that will lead to improved reading and writing proficiency.

At the end of each term, literacy teachers prepare a comprehensive, written final report that documents the student’s progress from beginning to end of tutoring. The report includes all assessment results and a description of the instructional strategies used, the texts read, and recommendations for continued progress. Parents and any school personnel involved in the child’s instructional program are invited to attend a conference on the last day of the term to review and discuss the report.

RWC teachers are licensed, experienced, and highly-skilled literacy teachers. In addition to their work in the RWC, many work in area schools. In collaboration with the RWC faculty, literacy teachers assess each student, and plan and implement individualized instruction within a one-on-one setting. In addition to using materials in the clinic, literacy teachers work with parents, classroom teachers, and administrators to obtain curricular materials that the student is currently using (or will be using) in the school setting. This combination of clinic and school-based instructional materials contributes to the development of a tutoring plan that is congruent with school-based instruction and matched to the student’s individual learning needs.

During each session, students participate in reading and writing activities specifically tailored to their needs and interests. Each day, activities address all six domains of literacy: motivation & engagement, word study (phonemic awareness and phonics), fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and writing (composition and spelling). In addition, for older students focus is also placed on teaching students strategies for becoming critical readers of web-based materials, including how to conduct a search, how to determine trustworthiness of information, and how to gather information from multiple sources. As literacy teachers work with their students, they carefully monitor performance and evaluate areas of strength and need.  Based upon their daily observations, literacy teachers plan the next session’s activities and make any necessary adjustments to meet students’ evolving needs.