Improving Academic Performance Of Student-Athletes With An Innovative Reading Enhancement Program


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Improving Academic Performance Of Student-Athletes With An Innovative Reading Enhancement Program


Transitioning from high school to college can be difficult for any student, but student-athletes often face even greater challenges. Although many students come to college unprepared for the academic rigors, student-athletes often come under lower admission standards and face the normal psychological and academic obstacles of adjusting to college life in addition to the full-time job of preparing for success in their sport and facing scrutinizing fans. Although there are benefits to being a student-athlete, the pressures can weigh heavy.

Administrators noticed a daunting trend in 2008: Student-athletes were coming in at alarmingly low reading levels. Specifically, within one sport in 2007, an average student-athlete entered with a grade-equivalent reading level of 11.3. This average dropped to 10.7 in 2008 and 7.62 in 2009. In January of 2009, a first grade teacher who was working on her master's degree in reading began working part-time in the evenings with two student-athletes who were reading at the fourth grade level. The progress this teacher was able to make with these two student-athletes convinced administrators to begin a full-time Reading Enhancement Program for the athletic department in August of 2009.

This webinar will outline the development and success of a Division I University Athletics Department Reading Enhancement Program, including assessment, documentation, and curricular decisions. We will discuss the unique academic needs of student-athletes and learn how reading specialists can achieve impressive results when working with collegiate athletics programs. Participants will also receive a guide to implementing a successful reading program for student-athletes at their own institution.


  • Discuss unique academic needs of student-athletes
  • Learn how a specific athletics program is addressing these needs
  • Define the unique role of the reading specialist and how it differs from a learning specialist in a collegiate athletics program
  • Explore how similar programs can be implemented in their school
  • Strategize how to modify the program based on needs in other places, the resources you have, and with different populations
  • Attain an understanding of how solid reading philosophy at any level can be applied to adult learners

Who Should Attend?

  • 2-year & 4-year institutions
  • Academic Affairs/Instruction
  • Student Services/Affairs
  • Reading & Developmental Education
  • Advising
  • Retention Specialist
  • Learning & Tutoring Centers
  • Tutors, Mentors & Academic Coaches
  • Athletic Coaches and Coaching Staff
  • Anyone concerned with the academic success of student-athletes