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East Tennessee third through fifth graders who are struggling in reading will have the chance to improve their skills through a free summer tutoring program offered by UT.

The program, which is also a research project, is geared toward children who have completed grades three through five but are reading below grade level. To be eligible, children must have received free or reduced-price lunch during the 2012-2013 school year.

The initiative is being offered by the faculty and students in the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education’s Special Education Program and the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling. They are partnering with the Korn Learning, Assessment, and Social Skills (KLASS) Center.

Parents whose children meet the project criteria and who are interested in having their children take part may call 865-974-6177 to schedule an appointment.

The project has two parts. In early June, children whose parents agree they can participate will receive reading assessments from UT graduate students in special education and school psychology. Once assessments are complete, children who qualify will be assigned to either a books or tutoring group.

Half of the children will receive eight free books of their choice at a book fair when they are given their reading assessments.

Beginning in mid- to late June, children must agree to read one book per week for eight weeks and keep a reading log. They also must be willing to participate in follow-up reading assessments in late July.

The other half of the children will participate in tutoring for ninety minutes every day for about four weeks, from July 1 to July 26. No tutoring will be held on July 4 and 5.

Parents must provide transportation and the children must be available to attend all four weeks of tutoring. Children whose families have vacations or other activities that will keep them from participating will not be included in the tutoring project.

Reading tutoring will be provided by newly trained special education teachers under the supervision of Sherry Bell, a professor in special education, and Melissa Martin, a graduate student in special education.

Arrangements for dropping children off, picking them up, and parking will be made by the staff of the KLASS Center.

A summary of children’s assessment scores both before and after the books or tutoring will be provided to parents.


Sherry Bell (865-974-4154,

Lola Alapo (865-974-3993,