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In regard to pairing developmental reading courses and college level
courses, Barbara Gose, Professor of Political Science at Central Wyoming
College, and I have done that for four semesters. We feel that we have had
success with helping underprepared students succeed in the college's
required American Government class.
 
The key to success seems to be that the students be motivated and remain
committed to attending and seriously studying the material required for
both classes. Naturally, in the government class that means studying
the content area of government. In my reading class, it means applying
the reading, test taking,  and learning strategies that I teach to the
material required in government. I have designed the reading class
around the concepts associated with teaching reading in the content
area and am continually looking for more and better ideas.
 
As to whether the developmental reading component of such classes deserves
any college credit, I have always maintained that it does not;
however, two things have caused me to rethink my position.
 
First, I taught a college level children's literature class last semester
and ended up running out-of-class study sessions teaching
sophomore level education students how to read for comprehension and
retention (exactly what I teach in developmental reading).
 
Secondly, in observing and visiting with some of my former developmental
reading students (this applies mostly to those with high motivational
levels, average or high ability, and poor educational backgrounds), I have
repeatedly discovered that they are teaching some of the strategies they
learned in developmental reading to other college students who did not
test into or take the reading classes. In other words, as they move on to
college level classes, some students who took a developmental reading
course are aware of using the learning / reading strategies they were
taught in developmental classes and are also aware of peers who need, but
do not know those same strategies.
 
Thus, now I am wondering if perhaps one college level credit
could fairly be given when a three or four credit developmental studies
course is taken.
 
Barbara and I are excited to have been given some release time for Fall
95 to compile data as to the efficacy of this paired approach to teaching
content area classes to high risk students and to investigate the idea of
extending the idea (if in fact it deserves extension) to other required or
high failure courses. We are very interested in hearing from other people
who are trying similar approaches - successes and failures.
 
You may reach Professor Gose or me at the following addresses:
 
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                                Pauletta Augustine
                                Assistant Professor English/Reading