Tag Archives: Paulette Harris

GRU Literacy Center to open two satellite centers

AUGUSTA, GA. – Just in time for the school year, the GRU Literacy Center announced that it will open two new locations to serve the community. On Sept. 8, the Augusta-Richmond County Library on Telfair Street and Paine College will both open satellite locations for the GRU College of Education to address illiteracy rates in the CSRA.

“We have simply outgrown our current location,” said Dr. Paulette Harris, founder and director of the GRU Literacy Center. Harris is the Cree-Walker Endowed Professor of Education for the GRU College of Education.

The current facility only allows them to reach about 1,000 people a month, but Georgia’s Task Force on Adult Literacy estimates that one out of three adult Georgians is functionally illiterate. In the Augusta area alone, there are more than 65,000 adults whose basic educational levels are less than those of the average eighth grader. And so Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System and Paine College have offered space in partnership with the center, with Paine College focusing on mathematics literacy, also known as numeracy.

“Literacy is the foundation for civilization,” said Russell Liner, assistant director for public services for the Augusta-Richmond County Public Library System. “Throughout history, the ability to read was power. In the Middle Ages, the nobility kept education from the masses to protect their power. And in American history, we disenfranchised certain groups because we were afraid they’d use their knowledge against us. The purpose of the library system is to bring access to knowledge to the public. So offering facilities for the GRU Literacy Center just dovetails with our larger mission.”

Paine College’s Department of Mathematics, Sciences and Technology will foster mathematics literacy with volunteers from students in their upper-level classes and faculty and alumni. The volunteers will help ensure that students have a basic competency in algebra and in the standards set in local school systems and in the colleges.

“Mathematics is as crucial to success in life as reading,” said Dr. Raul Peters, chair of the department. “Early math mastery is predictive of success in high school and college and also impacts adult lives. Career-wise, algebra is used by a wide range of professionals, from electricians to computer scientists to architects. But even in our personal lives, we use math – from calculating the best price on a sale item to figuring out an appropriate tip at a restaurant to higher-level life choices like understanding compounding interest or financing the purchase of a house.”

Both of the satellite center openings are part of the center’s celebration of International Literacy Day, organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which highlights the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies.

The importance of literacy is that it impacts everything from poverty and income level to incarceration rates. Nearly two-thirds of illiterate adults are employed, but most struggle to find stable employment at a family-sustaining wage, according to the most recent data from the Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). A low ability to read leads to limited opportunities for employment or income generation, higher chances of poor health, propensity toward crime and dependence on social welfare. For example, 70 percent of prison inmates cannot read.

Research makes it clear that we must do everything in our power to ensure that children do not fall behind in their reading skills,” Harris said. “With the help of our volunteers, most of whom are certified teachers, we are privileged to work on everything from born-to-read to lifelong literacy.”

All students start by getting evaluated so they can get a personalized learning experience. The center addresses learning differences like dyslexia and other problems that may not have been fully addressed in a student’s educational experience. And the staff works hard to provide a safe space for older adults, including later hours and providing additional options.

“And we will continue to work with them as long as they would like to continue to grow,” she said.

The GRU Literacy Center is located at 1401 Magnolia Dr., Augusta. Call 706-737-1625, or visit gru.edu/colleges/education/lcenter.

Professor awarded literacy grant

paulette harris

Paulette Harris, Georgia Regents University’s Cree-Walker Professor of Education and director of GRU’s Literacy Center, has been awarded a 2015 Literacy Grant from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Harris is one of 14 recipients nationwide to receive the award.

The $2,450 grant will be used to support the Promoting Literacy through Puppet Plays project, which is a joint-effort program between the GRU Literacy Center, the GRU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and three area childcare centers. The program is designed to build young children’s emergent literacy skills through dramatic play settings. As part of the program, children will engage in puppetry plays designed to enhance the development of early language skills including word recognition and vocabulary building.

The Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant program was established in 2003 to provide funding to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and active members for ongoing projects or new initiatives that reinforce part of the Society’s mission “to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Drawing from a multi-disciplinary Society of students and scholars from large and small institutions, applicants are encouraged to consider literacy projects that have creative relevance to their disciplines and the needs of their communities.

In addition to literacy grants, Phi Kappa Phi’s robust award programs give more than $1 million each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, undergraduate study abroad grants, and member and chapter awards. To learn more about the award and grant programs, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org/Awards.

About Phi Kappa Phi
Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Phi Kappa Phi inducts approximately 32,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni annually. The Society has chapters at more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The Society’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information, visit


Reading to your child really matters

Written by: Dr. Paulette Harris, contributing writer and Director of Georgia Regents University’s Literacy Center.

Brain research findings indicate that early reading to your child promotes early literacy development. Of course, you want your child to develop a lifelong love of reading, and it is best to start early by reading to your young child from birth.

Picture books are great for the first books that you share with your child. Books with bright, colorful pictures are perfect for early sharing. In addition, black and white photos are even better for attracting very young readers to the page. However, feel free to change the words in the story to match the age of your young child. Keep in mind when selecting stories that certain stories are excellent for lulling the young child to sleep (e.g.,Goodnight Moon).

Your goal is for your young child to grow up loving books. Reading with your child is one of the best ways to raise readers. It is important to continue to read aloud to your child long after the child has learned to read. It is also critical that your child has books that he owns and can read and reread as he becomes a proficient reader.

The thrust of the Greater Augusta Partnership for Literacy is to provide families with young children books that truly belong to the child. From the time the first book arrives in your mailbox to the last time the child has that book read to themselves  or is able to read the book on their own is when remarkable growth occurs.

As stated at the beginning of this article, brain research findings substantiate that the child who is read to becomes the lifelong reader. Let’s read to our children so that they will always read!

Grant will boost technology at GRU Literacy Center

Georgia Regents University Logo

AUGUSTA, Ga.- The Creel-Harrison Foundation has awarded Georgia Regents University’s Literacy Center with a $15,000 grant for technology improvements.

”The  grant will be used to purchase Power Reading Pro software, Lenovo ThinkPads, Nook Tablets, and several Apple computer products, including iPads, iPod Touches, iPad Minis, and iPad Airs,” said Dr. Paulette Harris, Cree-Walker Professor in GRU’s College of Education and Director of the Literacy Center. “We were delighted to receive this award, because we actually requested $10,000, and the Foundation thought the project was worth more.”

“All of this new technology will change the nature of the Literacy Center, and bring us in line with the National Reading Styles Institute,” Harris said. The center is currently under review to receive certification as an NRSI Exemplary Program.

GRU’s Literacy Center offers free year-round individual tutoring to children and adults throughout the area from certified teachers and GRU students. It also provides training and consultation services to community organizations.

For more information, visit gru.edu/colleges/education/lcenter.


Georgia Regents University is one of four public comprehensive research universities in the state with nearly 10,000 students enrolled in its nine colleges and schools, which include the Medical College of Georgia – the nation’s 13th-oldest medical school – the nationally-ranked Hull College of Business and Georgia’s only College of Dental Medicine. The clinical enterprise associated with the university includes the 478-bed Georgia Regents Medical Center and the 154-bed Children’s Hospital of Georgia. GRU is a unit of the University System of Georgia and an equal opportunity institution.  http://www.gru.edu


Rust finalist for EcoArt 2014

Brian Rust, Assistant Chairman and Professor of Art and Humanities, is a finalist for the public art program, EcoArt 2014. He will travel to Lexington, Ky., in November to visit possible sites for a public art project that will bring attention to the natural surroundings of Kentucky. To view the video about the program, go to lexarts.org/participate/EcoART/.

Deering and Hardy present at conference

Drs. Tom Deering and Sam Hardy, Counselor Education, Leadership, and Research, presented a paper titled “Performance-based Principal Preparation: Lessons from the Georgia Model” at the Critical Questions in Education Conference sponsored by the Academy for Educational Studies held this year in San Antonio, Texas.

Harris wins 3rd place for educational electronic aid

Dr. Paulette Harris, Professor and Cree Walker Endowed Chair in Counselor Education, Leadership, and Research,  won 3rd place with her educational electronic aid prepared for instructor use for the D26 United States Power Squadrons, the largest boating education organization in the world.

Professors to be published in American International Journal of Contemporary Research

Paulette Harris, Sam Hardy, and Olajide Agunloye, Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Special Education, have had their research paper “Perceptions of Online Versus Face-to-Face Learning of Educational Leadership Graduate Students” accepted for publication in the American International Journal of Contemporary Research. The authors wish to acknowledge Doug Hearrington for his contributions to research methodology in the study.

Harris awarded literacy center grant from PKP

Paulette P. Harris, Cree-Walker Professor of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Special Education, has been awarded a Literacy Grant from the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

“Making Sense to Dollars” project is an initiative between the Georgia Regents University chapter of Phi Kappa Phi and the university’s Literacy Center that promotes and encourages financial literacy. The program aims to educate and train participants seeking a General Education Development diploma (GED) to make financially responsible decisions through tutoring and resources related to mathematics instruction, skills practice, and actual financial literacy simulations.

Harris presents at conference

Dr. Paulette Harris, Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Special Education, presented Tools for Empowering Young Children:  Today’s Child/Tomorrow’s Future at the Early Childhood Development Conference at Augusta Technical College. Harris was invited by Pearson Publishers to be a reviewer for Reading Specialists and Literacy Coaches in the Real World, and she recently served as a trainer for the Paine College Historical Re-enactors.