Reading doesnt have to be a chore or punishment.

Thats the thinking behind a unique and popular summer reading enrichment clinic at West Virginia University. The mission of the clinic conducted by the College of Human Resources and Education is to get youngsters acquainted with the joys of a good bookwhile also knocking out varied reading problems that could keep them off track for the coming school year.

More than 40 children between the ages of 6 and 15 are taking part in the clinic, which also serves as a clinical teaching core for HR&E graduate students in the reading specialist program and other related disciplines.

Participants (both children and teachers) are turning pages and having fun while doing it. And that, said Dr. Steve Rinehart, the HR&E reading specialist who has directed the clinic for the past several years, cant help but make for a happy ending.

Because while the clinic is about fostering the fun and joy of reading, it still has that serious mission, Rinehart said: to recognize and correct reading problems so children and teens can gain self-assurance by way of the printed word.

If there are bad experiences with readingthe frustrations, other kids laughingthat means the kids on the receiving end are almost always going to lose confidence, then interest,Rinehart said.Youve lost them, at least for a little while. And if you cant read, learning can certainly be hindered.

Which is where the clinic comes in, he said, even if it isnt always easy.

The tricky part for our clinical teachers,he said,is to provide explicit instruction balanced with opportunities for kids to apply what is learned.

And one of the best parts (besides the expressions on the faces of the children and their parents), is that its all happening in the newly revamped Allen Hall on WVU s Evansdale Campus, the home base of HR&E.

College personnel started moving back into the building two weeks ago. It was closed for a year for a $10.1 million renovation that included outfitting classrooms with the latest state-of-the-art distance learning capabilities while also revamping HR&Es speech and hearing facilities.

New digs mean new energy, Rinehart said. And while the reading clinic runs through Aug. 10, the educator is hoping for a never-ending story: he wants to grow a crop of lifetime readers.

Read with success and youll reap the benefits forever,he said.

To find out more about the College of HR&E and its programs, go to: