Bringing a wealth of experience teaching in the Shrewsbury School system with their knowledge in reading, Marcia Seery and MaryPat Calderwood are thrilled to bring the Shrewsbury Literacy Center to the community.
Both Marcia and MaryPat are Title One certified teachers. Marcia is also Orton Gillingham certified. The two are a dynamic team with an infectious, enthusiastic drive that has already enabled their new business to expand and move into a new space since the opening in January 2011.
The pair originally met teaching Title One reading at the Coolidge Elementary School. They both agreed it was a great experience that they found rewarding. However, it was a five-day a week commitment with part time hours. The confines of the job were a little difficult with their own busy schedules. They recognized that they both wanted to branch out and felt that if they could provide similar services with their own business, this would allow them to still do what they loved.
“We thought, how can we still work with kids and still do reading, Calderwood said. "We see that there is a need for this because we were working with these students in the Shrewsbury public schools. Some kids just need that extra one on one attention. The teachers do a fabulous job teaching the whole class but it is hard to meet everyone’s needs.”
Neither woman, knew of anyhing like this type of service where parents would have an option to bring their children who are either accelerating and they want some extra enrichment or are struggling a bit and want extra help.
“One of the pluses is that working in Shrewsbury School system, we know the benchmarks," said Seery. "We know some of the teachers and where these kids need to be by the middle of the school year as well as the end of the year. It’s more of a collaboration with the teachers.”
The program is customized to accommodate the needs of each child. Children as young as pre-kindergarten and up through grade six can be serviced at the Center. There are daytime literacy classes and private after school tutoring by request. The center offer all the pre-reading activities; guided reading lessons with site words, big book story, alphabet play and more.
“MaryPat and I might be working separately with students but nearing the end of the class we come together for a collaborative activity with the kids," Seery said. " We do a lot of phonemic awareness, book handling and just getting them ready. It’s amazing what they will pick up.”
“Our individual tutoring is for anyone. We’ll work on whatever the child’s need are," Calderwood added. " Whether it’s reading comprehension, decoding, rate, fluency, responding in writing, which is a big one for the older kids.”
There is no charge for the initial evaluation, which can last up to one hour. Each child also gets a folder in which to send home materials like leveled books and more. The response from parents has been nothing but positive and by word of mouth the pair has been busier than they could have imagined. The kids, too, have been thriving in such a short amount of time.
“We only have a half day kindergarten program in Hudson," said parent, Liz Hallsworth. " The amount of ‘one on one’ my son, Aiden gets here is worth weeks at school. He’s already shown great improvement."
Another parent, Carol Bodette of Worcester added, “All three of my children come here, ages eight, six and four. They look forward to coming because it’s fun for them. It helps with their reading and writing skills, too."
In the future, the two hope to expand and offer MCAS prep as well as hire someone who has an expertise in math. The Shrewsbury Literacy Center will offer a summer program with private tutoring; drop in, $10 per class preschool and kindergarten classes, kindergarten workshop as well as first and second grade workshop.
For additional information, please call the Shrewsbury Literacy Center at 508.981.7916 or visit the website at www.shrewsburyliteracycenter.com