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Friday, March 2, 2012

UNCP professor donates literacy program to local school

Dr. Reginald Oxendine Sr., a UNC Pembroke professor in the School of Education and co-creator of an electronic literacy program, has donated a set of the reading enrichment series to Lumberton Junior High School.

Dr. Reginald Oxendine, Sr. presents program to Lumberton Junior High SchoolOxendine, a 40-year veteran educator, donated the three-CD set and access to the expanded Internet-based program for use at the school. He began training teachers to use the reading support program on January 10.

Literacy Reading Voyages is made up of three components, Phonics Voyage, Fair Voyage and Zoo Voyage, and is theproduct of Dr. Oxendine’s family-owned company, Arrow Education Products. His son and partner, Reginald Jr., is an assistant principal at Lumberton Junior High School.

When asked about the value of the gift, Dr. Oxendine said this: “Value?” he asked. “In terms of money, it’s difficult to say; literacy is priceless.”

The software has evolved over the years into its current Internet-based form, but its origins stem from a time when Dr. Oxendine worked at a school for at-risk youth.

“It was what they call an extended day program, and I quickly learned that our students’ other problems were really academic in nature – they couldn’t read,” he said. “To help them, I started this project.”

Literacy issues brought Lumberton Junior High School to Dr. Oxendine’s attention. “Because Reggie is at the school, I was fortunate to meet the principal, Erica McComb,” he said. “She said she could use help with reading scores, so I offered our programs.

“[Difficulty] reading is a nationwide problem, not just a Lumberton Junior High School problem,” Dr. Oxendine continued. “I know these programs can help. If you can use a mouse, I can teach you to read.”

Dr. Oxendine’s programs engage students one-on-one with interactive stories. Literacy Reading Voyages usesboth phonics and “whole language” techniques, he said. “I was taught to read using phonics, and I believe some of our literacy problems began when educators abandoned this method.”

Dr. Oxendine came to higher education through the public schools. He teaches education psychology and human development at UNCP, but began his career as a 7th grade teacher. He earned a doctorate in education in 1982 and, before joining the university faculty, served as an assistant principal, counselor and principal of the extended day or alternative school for the Public Schools of Robeson County.

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