For Nancy Prosenjak, a world in which words have no meaning is like a wall with no windows or an aria merely hummed, not sung.
“I’m a book lover,” said Prosenjak, a CSUN elementary education professor and director of the university’s bright, lively Los Angeles Times Literacy Center. As such, she and her colleagues devote their lives to bringing the joy of reading to children in grades 1-12 and their families.
The entire family is involved because one of the center’s key goals is to end intergenerational illiteracy, particularly in low-income communities. “Learning how to read doesn’t just happen in school,” said Prosenjak, who taught both elementary and middle school in her native Ohio. ”Families need to know about how children learn and also learn how to support their children as they learn to read.” While the children are tutored, parents attend sessions where they learn how to instill in their youngsters a lifelong passion for reading.
“When you share a book with a child,” Prosenjak said, “you have all kinds of incidental opportunities to share words.” With the assistance of literacy tutors who are elementary and secondary education master’s degree students at CSUN, Prosenjak and her staff have shared millions of words with more than 3,500 students since 1992, when the center was named for the Los Angeles Times after a generous gift from the Times Mirror Foundation.
A partner in The Teaching, Learning, & Counseling Consortium at the Michael D. Eisner College of Education, the literacy center works with children referred by local schools. Families pay for literacy tutoring on a sliding scale, and scholarships are available. Visit the center’s Web site at www.csun.edu/education/educ/centers/literacy/.
Visit http://www.csun.edu/education/ for more information on the Michael D. Eisner College of Education.
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