Professor Policastro
Reading for the joy of it is a hallmark of Roosevelt's Summer Reading Clinic
"Today we...are becoming a model for what literacy learning should look like in the public schools." Margaret Politcastro Professor of Reading and Founder of Roosevelt's Summer Reading Clinic

Roosevelt University’s 2019 Summer Reading Clinic, which runs through July 11 at the University’s Schaumburg Campus, will be much more  this season than simply a learning experience for children and their parents.

Now in its 32nd year, the clinic led by Roosevelt Reading Professor Margaret Policastro this season also will be a model learning laboratory for visiting educators from two Illinois school districts seeking to improve reading achievement.

“My goal has always been to set up a best-practice school where kids can see what joyful reading and learning are all about,” said Policastro. “Today we have achieved that goal and now are becoming a model for what literacy learning should look like in the public schools.”

On June 10, the clinic welcomed more than 50 youths, ages 5 through 12 and hailing mostly from the Northwest suburbs, to the celebrated program that encourages reading, writing and storytelling with one-on-one help from Roosevelt students in training as reading specialists.

The program has proven to boost children’s reading levels by a grade level for each summer session attended and is soon to be a model for school districts in south suburban Dolton, Ill. and downstate Rantoul, Ill. that Roosevelt partners with through an Illinois Board of Higher Education grant program called Illinois Empower.

“We understand that reading is the foundation for everything we do, and are impressed with the balanced literary approach that Professor Policastro uses to improve reading environments that can boost reading scores,” said Shelly Davis-Jones, superintendent of Dolton School District 149.

A team of principals and literacy coaches from District 149, which serves approximately 2,700 students at eight schools in the south suburbs, will visit and observe Roosevelt’s Summer Reading Clinic in action on Wednesday, June 19.

“My hope is for our team to see and be inspired by this love of reading that Professor Policastro believes is possible at all my schools,” said Davis-Jones, who received a doctorate degree in Educational Leadership from Roosevelt in 2013.

"We want to learn from the Roosevelt program so we can do more as a district to start our own clinics that will support summer reading by our students,” she said.

Tom Magers, principal of Broadmeadow Elementary School in Rantoul, Ill., will bring a team of literacy specialists and instructional coaches from the four-building Rantoul School District 137 to observe and learn from Roosevelt’s Summer Reading Clinic on July 9-10.

“We hope to get a better grasp of what balanced learning looks like,” said Magers, who began his career as an educator with a Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Roosevelt in 2008.

“We think this model will be a good base we can use to build a successful reading program in the Rantoul schools,” he said.

To visit the clinic and/or to learn more about Roosevelt’s balanced literacy approach, contact Margaret Policastro at or Laura Janota at or 312-341-3511.

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