Contact: Ellen Sterner
SMU News & Media Relations
(214) 768-7673

August 28, 2002


DALLAS (SMU) -- Summer is over and as students return to class SMU is offering academic-skills enhancement workshops for students in grades K--12. The classes are designed for students who want or need to improve their academic skills. Workshop topics include reading, writing, science, math, study skills and test preparation (TAKS & SAT). The workshops are offered on both the main SMU campus and at SMU-in-Legacy in northwest Plano. In most cases, the classes meet once a week for four to eight weeks.

The skills learned in these workshops are applicable across the curriculum and will help make a student's overall academic experience more positive, successful and rewarding.

The classes include:

  • SAT Preparation: Verbal/Math - The SAT prep class gives students a thorough grounding in standardized test-taking strategies to help them succeed on the SAT and other multiple-choice tests. It also serves as a review of the basic verbal and mathematical skills that the SAT is designed to test.
  • Successful Reading for TAKS - Reading for information and reading for pleasure are two kinds of reading that children perform daily. Successful Reading for TAKS focuses on both areas of reading, using quality age-appropriate literature as a foundation for interactive, intensive and directed instruction. Activities and questioning are aligned with the reading objectives found on the TAKS Reading Test.
  • TAKS Math Strategies - The ability to read and interpret word problems helps students focus on tactics and tools that facilitate understanding, interpretation and solving math word problems.
  • Study Skills - Students develop strategies in organization, time management, consistent and accurate homework completion, text reading, test preparation, test taking, paper writing and project development.
  • WorkSmart for Dyslexics - The class is designed to enable students with dyslexia to gain greater insight into the difficulties that they may encounter both in and out of school. Issues of self-advocacy, organization, self-esteem and other implications of dyslexia are addressed by professionals who are specifically trained to work with dyslexic learners.
  • Phoneme Awareness - Young children learn to read and spell more easily when phoneme awareness has been developed. This awareness is developed through direct instruction and can significantly accelerate children's subsequent reading, spelling and writing skills.
  • Reading Fluency Adventure - The skills of smooth, accurate reading and rapid word recognition are enhanced through exposure to word patterns, types of syllables and high-frequency words.
  • Reading Comprehension - This workshop uses carefully selected stories, poems and novel excerpts to teach strategies for improving reading comprehension. Students are equipped with the age-appropriate techniques and tools necessary to comprehend a wide variety of materials from across the curriculum.
  • Reading Fluency - Students develop strategies to read with greater accuracy and with appropriate inflection. High-interest stories are used to practice strategies for anticipating the story flow, rapid word recognition and decoding punctuation. Matching reading style to the type of text also is addressed. Students are exposed to a variety of material such as short stories, passages from novels, nonfiction and fiction as they improve their accuracy and ease in reading.
  • Vocabulary Booster - Students discover word origin, derivation and relationships to expand their written and spoken vocabulary. Students practice various strategies for analyzing and determining the meaning of unknown words.
  • Listening and Writing Adventure - This workshop teaches strategies that enhance the auditory-memory and information-processing skills that are critical for academic success. Instruction in basic sentence construction and paragraph production promotes writing fluency and expression.
  • Power Writing - Students are given guidance in writing paragraphs, essays and reports. Grammatical usage, sentence structure, and clear and concise expression are reviewed.
  • Successful Science Skills - Students learn and practice the basic science skills required to use the scientific method - a method that is extremely important in gaining, organizing, applying and analyzing new scientific knowledge and information. This class can assist with their science fair projects.
  • Estimate Your Way to Math Success - Students learn to make reality-based estimates and then weigh them against formally calculated answers.
  • Challenges! - SMU's Challenges Program offers a selection of informal workshops designed to serve the needs of talented students in grades K-5. Each class instructor has experience in planning work for students who can go farther and faster than average.

For more information call 214-SMU-KIDS or visit