Teaching Teachers to Help Children with Dyslexia

New Bob and Joan Peirce Center for Structured Reading Teacher Training opens.

Joan Peirce cuts the ribbon for the new center.
Joan Peirce cuts the ribbon for the new center.

“Dyslexia is a significant challenge for our schools.”

The new Bob and Joan Peirce Center for Structured Reading Teacher Training prepares teachers to work with children with dyslexia, both in the classroom and as tutors.

The center aims to supply a steady stream of teachers and tutors in structured reading approaches, including methods of reading instruction for students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. The center also provides outreach services to parents and professional development for school districts.

The Peirces, whose $2 million founding pledge is behind the center’s creation, attended an opening ceremony and ribbon cutting in May with faculty, staff, students, and local teachers. 

“Dyslexia is a significant challenge for our schools. Demand is so high for specialized reading tutors that many children have to be put on waiting lists,” President Chris Howard said at the event. “The new Bob and Joan Peirce Center is this university’s response to the challenge.”

The center meets a current need for teachers and tutors prepared in structured reading methods, and builds upon an existing partnership between the university and the Laughlin Children's Center. That partnership was also supported by the Peirces, and resulted in the development of a graduate-level training program, including a practicum with 100 hours of supervised tutoring, to certify instructors in structured reading methods.

In the last two years, 19 instructors have tutored 32 children on the university's Moon Township campus and at the Laughlin Children's Center. The new center's budget includes funding for scholarships for teachers each year to receive the training. It also includes scholarships for families unable to pay for their children's reading instruction.

For more information contact Carianne Bernadowski at bernadowski@rmu.edu or 412-397-5463.