SUNY Potsdam Graduate Students Design Family Literacy Kits for North Country Elementary Students & Parents


SUNY Potsdam graduate literacy education students pose with Dr. Lynn Hall (top right), alongside their Family Literacy Kits at Massena’s Jefferson Elementary School. For a full caption, please see the release.

Graduate students in Dr. Lynn A. Hall's course, "Literacy: Family, School, Community Collaborations," recently got some hands-on experience helping local elementary students and their parents. The associate professor of literacy education worked with the students in her class to design and implement a Family Literacy Event as part of a Curriculum Night held at Jefferson Elementary School in Massena.

The program was a huge hit, with games and activities, and the SUNY Potsdam students handed out 200 family literacy kits that they had created.

"The children were so actively engaged in the activities that parents had difficulty prying them away from the intervention tables to get ice cream sundaes or check out the selection of books at the Books on Wheels carts!" said Faith Bish '03, literacy specialist at Jefferson Elementary.

Support for this program comes from "Branching Out With Books," a collaborative literacy program between SUNY Potsdam and St. Lawrence University. "Branching Out" is coordinated by Dr. Marta Albert, associate professor of literacy education and Tina Wilson Bush, director of the Rebecca V. Sheard Literacy Center at SUNY Potsdam, along with Brenda Papineau, director of community-based learning partnerships at St. Lawrence University, Canton.

The "Branching Out with Books" program provides college students with an important hands-on learning experience working with approximately 400 high-need children throughout the school year, at Massena's Jefferson Elementary School, Herman-DeKalb Central School, Madrid-Waddington Central School and the Akwesasne St. Regis Mohawk Reservation. The program is funded through a grant from the Charles R. Wood Foundation, and from a generous donation from the KeyBank Foundation.

Following the event, Dr. Hall and the SUNY Potsdam students gathered for a photo along with Bish and Mary Russell, a first grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary.

Photo caption: Clockwise, from top left: Jenna Landon, Nicole Osgood, Carly Walbridge, Katherine Denny, Kelly Snyder, Morgan McGrath, Colleen Cotey, Faith Bish, Lynn Hall, Mary Russell, Maggie Stasko, Olivia Parker and Elizabeth Ringer.

The SUNY Potsdam Department of Literacy Education offers two graduate Master of Science in Education programs that prepare candidates to serve in the field of education: the literacy specialist and literacy educator programs. For more information, visit

SUNY Potsdam's graduate programs seek to encourage academic achievement and to provide each student with a sense of personal and social responsibility while providing the best possible preparation for specific professional and vocational goals. The College's NCATE-accredited teacher education programs are approved by the State of New York to lead to initial or professional certification. To learn more, visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,350 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which aims to raise $27 million by the College's bicentennial in 2016.