The day-to-day work of UFLI encompasses four interconnected programmatic areas: Reader Development, Teacher Development, Technology, and Research. The development of readers and their teachers is at the heart of UFLI.
Reader Development programs focus on direct tutoring and assessment services to students. Our latest endeavor is the development of a virtual tutoring platform, with the goal of expanding our reach nationwide. Our Teacher Development programs prepare teachers to serve struggling readers effectively through graduate coursework and professional learning experiences, with an emphasis on providing teachers with opportunities to put their newly developed expertise into practice with struggling readers.
In addition to developing our web-based virtual tutoring platform, our Technology work includes online coursework and professional development, video models of exemplary instruction, development of software for students and teachers, and a resource-rich web site for students, their families, and professionals. Finally, through our Research programs, we study the efficacy of all UFLI work. Our studies have demonstrated that the methods we employ have a significant positive impact on readers and teachers. Ongoing studies are examining the effects of our technology-based tools.
Through the UFLI Tutoring for Beginning Readers program, UF’s preservice teachers now serve more than 150 first and second graders each year. We consider the UFLI Summer Reading Program to be a showcase project, which combines teacher development and reader development. UF graduate students who are pursuing dual certification in elementary and special education participate in an intensive 9-credit block of courses focused on the diagnosis and remediation of reading problems. These prospective teachers provide multi-sensory tutoring and small-group intervention to develop phonological awareness and decoding skills for children with dyslexia and other reading difficulties. The dual certification program has recently been nationally recognized via accreditation from the International Dyslexia Association—one of only 18 programs nationwide to receive this distinction. These programs, along with our small-group intervention and technology innovations, are changing the trajectory for both readers and teachers.