Reading touted at symposium

The Helen Richards Smith Teaching and Learning Symposium held Tuesday pushed educators to move reading from a stand-alone subject into a skill that can be learned through all content areas. “It can be done, and it has to be done,” said host Tiffany Curry on blending reading into all subjects. She proclaimed that the days of doing worksheets are over.

Eight graduate students in the College of Education presented projects they used in classrooms throughout North Louisiana to connect reading at different grade levels, to other areas of learning.

Myesha Varner, a teacher at Ruston Elementary designed a reading project that paired high need and high ability students together in groups.

Geraldine Coleman from Caddo Opportunity School instructed students to clip articles they were interested in from the Shreveport Times. The students then created math-related story problems from the newspaper articles.

Presenter Senchal Davis who teaches Biology at Arcadia High School incorporated scientific journals into an interactive center students could explore to encourage them to read.

Willie Butler, an educator at Ouachita Parish High School used familiar fairy tales to help students identify protagonists, antagonists, and other literary elements.

Jasmine White, a teacher at Southside Elementary in Jonesboro used Mythology to combine Social Studies and literature. Sharon Sneed from J.L. Jones Elementary in Minden used Celebrations from around the world to combine the same.

First grade Crawford Elementary teacher Keyana Carr worked to cultivate an appreciation for poetry for her students by starting a poem with two stanzas and letting each student add to the class poem.

Graduate student Rudolph Ellis used humor to get Ruston Junior High students excited about reading by creating a classroom center where they could create comic strips about themselves in their free time.

Senior Brandy Carrey presented the life of Hellen Richards-Smith whom the annual Symposium was named after. Richards-Smith graduated from the first four-year class of Grambling College in 1945. She earned a Masters degree from the University of Michigan and a Doctorate from the University of Iowa.

She returned to Grambling as a college educator, she implemented numerous programs, worked as a department head and many other leadership positions at the university. She also spearheaded the formation of the Earl Lester Cole Honors college in 1990.

“She is a teacher, reacher, leader, mentor, distinguished educator, and phenomenal lady,” Dr. Loretta Jaggers said to the audience.