Deanna Stoube Strives to Build a Community of Readers
Nearly two decades ago, Deanna Stoube, PhD, told her first-grade students and their parents she had accepted a job at St. Ambrose University and wouldn't be returning to their grade school after Christmas break.
As a teacher focused on reading skills for Davenport Community Schools, Stoube had become close with her students and their families. So close in fact, she remembered the father of one student-almost angered by the news-abruptly left her classroom.
"A week later, he returned and apologized," Stoube said. "He said to me, ‘I thought about it, and yes, my son is going to miss out on you. But you will be teaching students how to be a teacher like you, so more kids are going to get that experience. And that's important.'"
Repeating the story almost brings Stoube to tears. "I continue to think about my job like that," she said. "I'm not just teaching my 20 first-graders; hopefully, I'm teaching a bunch more."
Now in her 17th year as a professor in the St. Ambrose School of Education, Stoube continues to teach education majors how to be the best teacher they can be, while tirelessly working to ensure Iowa teacher education programs continue to rank No. 1.
Not only do current and former students appreciate her knowledge, but so do many others. Stoube is president of the Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (IACTE) and works closely with the Iowa Board of Educational Examiners and the Iowa Department of Education. She also lends counsel to the education adviser to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.
In SAU classrooms, Stoube teaches literacy and content area literacy. Any student who takes her course on how to diagnose and treat reading issues also participates in the SAU Reading Clinic.
Area elementary students who need extra reading support sign up for the clinic and are paired with an SAU student. Twice a week for one semester, they tutor the child and so much more.
Stoube teaches education majors how to observe and assess the child's skill level, plan lessons and set goals based on specific needs.
Then, once a week, Stoube follows-up to review the tutoring progress, lesson plans, and goals. During these sessions, Stoube does exactly what she wants these future teachers to do: listens and offers guidance and encouragement.
"I'm not just teaching my students how to teach reading or communication arts and writing skills; I model how to be a teacher and how to work with the whole child through my personal interaction with each of them," she said.
There are yet more ways for SAU Education majors to further develop their diagnostic skills. For those who want to specialize in teaching reading, those majors participate in a second, more advanced reading clinic where they brainstorm with their fellow education students to analyze the best ways to help each child.
These reading clinics – also offered in the summer – are highly valued by the local schools, parents and children, and are making an impact. Reading test scores almost always improve.
But, Stoube believes the best measure of impact isn't found in test scores; it's in the child's attitude.
"We have to work on changing their attitude and value of literacy," she said.
Stoube wants all K-12 students to have high-quality teachers who will help them grow as a class and as individuals. So naturally, she's known for being a little tough on her students.
"Usually, after they've graduated and started working in a classroom of their own, I begin getting phone calls and emails of ‘thanks for all you taught me. It was hard and a lot of work, but it has really helped me help my students.'"
– Dawn Neuses '94