Reading Clinic honors the Tubman family’s legacy of service

The magic of reading may seem elusive to those struggling with literacy. However, clients of Towson University’s Reading Clinic learn otherwise.

Graduate students in the Reading Education Master’s program intern at the clinic, where they design individualized instructional plans to reach each client’s literacy goals and improve confidence. Client concerns range from meeting grade-level expectations to combating dysgraphia and dyslexia.

Demand for services is extremely high.

“We are only able to accept as many clients as we have graduate students. This semester, we have only 16 interns, so we can only accept 16 clients, and spots are filled within the first hours of the online application opening,” says Shelly Huggins, director of the Reading Clinic and the TU Literacy Center. Huggins’s heartbreak over turning away students in need led her to create the Literacy Center, which expands clinic services off campus to reach more students in the Towson community.

While clients of both the clinic and the center pay little to nothing for the services they receive, Huggins has struggled financially to meet clients’ changing needs. For the past 10 years, Huggins has relied on the Tubman Family Literacy Endowment to provide funding for what she describes as “our most impactful literacy tools and resources,” such as specialized technology for those battling dysgraphia and the engaging Bee-Bot sequencing robot.

Members of the Tubman family created the endowment to honor the matriarchs of their family who served as educators. “Harriet Tubman’s legacy of perseverance, determination, bravery and service held a special meaning for the Tubman sisters.

She inspired Vernadine (Tubman) Brooks, Bernice (Tubman) Johnson, and Barbara (Tubman) Davidson to dedicate their careers to literacy. Believing in the transformational power of education, they shared the gift of learning with thousands of students and provided students struggling to read with the foundation to succeed through literacy,” says Mrs. Brooks’s daughter.

The College of Education honored the Tubman family with a room dedication in April. Hawkins Hall room 102A within the Reading Clinic now displays a plaque honoring the Tubman sisters who were “Lifelong Champions of Readers.”

To support the Tubman Family Literacy Endowment, visit or call 1-866-301-3375.

Members of the Tubman family created the endowment to honor the matriarchs of their family who served as educators.