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Tice awarded national literacy grant for service-learning program focused on early English language learners

Friday, July 3, 2015 • Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

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A UT Arlington educator helping to prepare future teachers for work with preschoolers who are learning English has won a 2015 Literacy Grant from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.


Kathleen Tice, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, is one of only 14 recipients nationwide to receive the award.

The grant will be used to support a service-learning program run by UT Arlington with Open Door, a Dallas nonprofit that serves preschool-aged children who are English language learners. Most of the young students are from ethnically diverse and economically challenged families with parents who do not qualify for Head Start and cannot afford preschool.

Through the partnership, children at Open Door receive individual or small group reading aloud experiences over time. The project takes place during two semesters and includes a family literacy event where each child is given a tote bag with the books that were read aloud.

“I am thrilled to receive this honor and support from Phi Kappa Phi that will make it possible for us to continue our work,” said Tice, who began collaborating with Open Door in 2008.

“Research tells us that reading aloud to children is one of the best ways to prepare them to be successful readers, and my students have learned that from the children at Open Door,” she said. “Each semester, we are amazed at how much the children gain in vocabulary, and many learn to read the books on their own.”

Jeanne Gerlach, dean of the UT Arlington College of Education, noted research indicating that language is the basis of learning and said students need basic literacy skills – the ability to read and write – before they can be successful in any content area. 

“We also know that a focus on family literacy gives students an opportunity for greater success, especially when parents support the learning process,” Gerlach said. “Dr. Tice is a master literacy teacher who has established herself as a specialist in the field. I am pleased to support her work.”

Tice is a multi-award winner from Phi Kappa Phi, having most recently earned a literacy grant from the organization in 2012. Read more about all 2015 grant recipients here.

The Phi Kappa Phi Literacy Grant program was established in 2003 to provide funding to Phi Kappa Phi chapters and active members for ongoing projects or new initiatives that reinforce part of the Society’s mission “to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” Drawing from a multi-disciplinary Society of students and scholars from large and small institutions, applicants are encouraged to consider literacy projects that have creative relevance to their disciplines and the needs of their communities.

About the College of Education

The College of Education is fully accredited through the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and in 2006 became the first College of Education within the UT System to receive accreditation through the prestigious National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The college currently offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees through Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Visit to learn more.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 50,600 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at