Wayne State University

In The News

Early Childhood Center hosts Detroit Reads visit during March is Reading Month

Published Monday, April 17, 2017

The College of Education and its Detroit school partners welcomed the 2017 Michigan Teacher of the Year Tracy Horodyski, 2017 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year Kelisa Wing, and Michigan Department of Education representatives Joshua Roesner, an educator talent analyst, and Jennifer Robel, manager of the District Partnership Unit, on Friday, March 24, for a morning event during March is Reading month. Horodyski and Wing read the Michigan Reads Book of the Year Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum! by Michigan author Lisa Wheeler to the children at the Wayne State University College of Education Early Childhood Center.

Horodyski and Wing read to children at the Early Childhood Center.“The children in my classroom are always thrilled when we have visitors,” said Deleon Williams, head teacher at the center. “However, I think the way that the readers alternated reading from page to page made this visit much more exciting. The children could not resist shouting out thoughts and ideas and laughing aloud. As a class, I think that we all really enjoyed the way the reading aloud was done.”

The Michigan Reads program focuses on reaching more children in libraries, classrooms and certified child care programs. Its focal point is sharing the importance of reading and sharing books with children at an early age — especially toddlers through early elementary — and the vital role libraries play in providing access to the quality books, programs and services that lay the foundation for reading and school success. 

The group also visited Mark Murry Elementary and Golightly Education Center.

“It was a pleasure hosting the Detroit Reads visit with Tracy Horodyski, Kelisa Wing, Joshua Roesner, and Jennifer Robel. All of them were excited to hear all about our preschool program that we have here at Wayne State University and took the time to engage with our children in each classroom before reading,” said Cathy Raymond, center director.  “They each brought the story to life through the use of their voices and asked wonderful probing questions to create such a rich literacy experience for our children here at the COE-ECC.”

In addition, Roesner and Horodyski gifted both classrooms a copy of Bubble Gum, Bubble Gum! and Acoustic Rooster and His Barnyard Band. The children at the early childhood center have continuously revisited and read the books again and again.

“Having these two state-recognized educators visit Detroit schools was a wonderful chance for our children to engage in a celebration of books and literacy. Bringing reading to life is such critical work, especially for preschool and early elementary grades when literacy skills and attitudes about reading are developing the foundation for lifelong literacy,” said Leah van Belle, director of school partnerships and clinical practice in the college’s Division of Teacher Education. “Detroit schools are continually under attack, but those of us who work closely with schools, teachers, and children in our city know that amazing things are happening in Detroit classrooms every day. Any opportunity we have to bring fellow educators to see the great things happening here helps reframe the narrative about urban education in Detroit to one that highlights our students’ strengths and assets, instead of viewing urban students through a deficit lens."

Horodyski is a reading interventionist and literacy coach at Zinser Elementary School in Grand Rapids. Her focus as a teacher is to find that hidden talent in children and bring out that special side in all of them. Her colleagues say she is a facilitator in the classroom, and her students say she makes them feel special and look forward to coming to school each day.

Wing, the first African American to be named Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year, teaches eighth grade language arts and reading to military children at Faith Middle School in Fort Benning, Georgia. She believes that every student has the capacity to learn as long as educators meet them at the point of their need. She passes her life's motto — "Pursue it and Do it: build your team to fulfill your dream" — along to her students.

“This was such a wonderful opportunity for our center to connect with the Michigan Department of Education and these outstanding teachers,” said Raymond. “We look forward to connecting with them again in the future.”

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