Since its founding, the Center for Reading and Writing at Rider University has helped more than 7,000 area children students hone their ability to read and write. Using the eponymous program she developed, Dr. Susan Mandel Glazer employs a teaching strategy and philosophy that has proven just as effective in Finland as it has in Lawrenceville.
“Finland is ranked number one in literacy in the entire world, and they have achieved that through a literacy program based on our program,” said Glazer, who founded the Center in 1980 and has helped develop curriculum in school districts as nearby as Trenton and as distant as St. Charles Parish in New Orleans and Torku Public Schools in Finland.
The basis of instruction for the acclaimed Center for Reading and Writing is the Glazer Reader Response Model, in which the same rules of consideration apply to everyone, from the principal – Glazer – to the Rider graduate interns who make up the instruction staff and the students themselves.
“There is never a reprimand,” Glazer said “There is only direction, with the staff getting the student back to task. We use dialogue to push students toward comprehension.”
A faculty member in the Department of Graduate Education who came to Rider in 1969, Glazer teaches learning strategies, not rote content – a method she’d like to see adopted by more public school districts. “The program puts the responsibility back on the kids,” she explained. “In our program, there is no direct instruction. Instead, we present options.”
In April, six of Glazer’s students had an opportunity to conduct a presentation on the Glazer Reader Response Model at the International reading Association’s 58th annual convention in San Antonio. Shannon Carlson ’12, Lindsay Csogi M.A.’12, David Hassine M.A.’13, Stephanie Madden ’08, M.A.’12, Elyse Willey M.A.’12 and Graduate-Level Teacher Certification student Evan Malakates joined Glazer and Phyllis Fantauzzo ’83, assistant director of the Center for Reading and Writing, in Texas to present the model’s innovative strategies to teachers and educational administrators searching for effective methods of literacy instruction.
“Our institute day was a huge success in my eyes. We had the largest room and spoke to a sellout crowd,” said Willey, a 12-year teacher who received an M.A. in Reading from Rider on May 16. “At the end of the institute, fellow teachers asked me questions, remarked how excited they were to bring the model to their classroom, and commented how useful the Glazer Model will be for their school.”
Hassine said the group was thrilled to see interest in their presentation running so high even before they began.
“By the time we presented, we saw extra chairs being brought in to accommodate those that were standing along the walls,” he said of the audience, which included beginning, classroom and reading teachers, reading specialists and coaches, researchers, school administrators, special education teachers, teacher educators, and undergraduate or graduate students.
In the end, the Rider group agreed that the experience was not only a great deal of fun, but inspiring, as well.
“IRA was an exhilarating experience, both professionally and academically,” said Csogi, who also received an M.A. in Reading this month. “Susan was wonderful in helping the crowd to understand the model and the research behind it. The attendees were many; it was the most attended workshop of them all. We also received really wonderful reviews. Seeing teachers work together in an effort to better their students learning process is profound.”