Reading center at UNL receives boost of support
Lincoln, Neb., Sept. 17, 2009 — Struggling to read is frustrating for young readers and places stress on families who don’t understand why their child may be lagging behind in school. The Reading Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has been a resource for Nebraska families for five years by helping children of all ages improve their reading abilities and do better in all areas of school.
The center now hopes to do even more because of a major leadership gift from Kit and Dick Schmoker of Edina, Minn., to the University of Nebraska Foundation. The gift establishes a permanent endowment for the center for annual support of salaries, outreach services, equipment, scholarships and fellowships for the college students involved in reading education.
In recognition of their support, the center has been named the Kit and Dick Schmoker Reading Center.
“The Kit and Dick Schmoker Reading Center is making a significant difference in the lives of hundreds of children and student teachers,” said Marjorie Kostelnik, dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences. “Children will have many more successful school days as a result of their time in the center, and our college students will develop many more skills to help Nebraska’s children become proficient readers. We are so grateful to Kit and Dick Schmoker for helping address these needs.”
The Schmoker Reading Center is nonprofit organization started in 2004 as a training, service and research center affiliated with UNL’s Great Plains Institute of Reading and Writing. Graduate and undergraduate students are able to take courses about teaching children to read and then apply what they’ve learned as tutors for the center.
The center serves students who are reading one to three years below their grade level. Its goal is to help children develop reading and studying skills, greater confidence as a reader and a love for reading. To date it has helped almost 300 students in elementary, middle and high school.
About their decision to support the reading program, Kit Schmoker said she and her husband heard incredible stories from families who have received help from the university.
“One parent said that without assistance from the reading center her child would not be able to go on to study in college and would not be as successful,” Schmoker said. “For us that really says it all.”
Schmoker said she and her husband, who are graduates of UNL, received a “solid foundation” at the university and “have a strong commitment to education.”
“Early childhood education really unlocks ones potential and provides the building blocks that young people can use to make a difference throughout their lives,” Schmoker said. “Reading is definitely a lifetime skill that takes you anyplace; everything we do in life requires the ability to read. And if you can’t read, where do you go?”
Schmoker said having the ability to read reminds her of a passage from “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss. She recites the line, “And will you succeed? Yes indeed, yes indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed!”
“This is absolutely true about reading skills, because so many children are going to succeed in life because of what the reading center is going to do for them,” she said. “The reading center is going to open doors of opportunities for them—they just have no idea what’s in store for their future.”
The Schmoker Reading Center is located on UNL East Campus in the Home Economics Building near 35th and Holdredge streets.
The University of Nebraska Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation that has raised private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for 73 years. Last year, it provided more than $130 million—the most ever—for students, faculty, academic programs, research, and for campus and building improvements on all four campuses.
Schmoker Reading Center contacts:
Robb Crouch, office 402-458-1142, mobile 402-304-3085, email@example.com
Guy Trainin, co-director, 402-472-3391, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathleen Wilson, co-director, 402-472-5970, email@example.com