In the midst of an escalating war, Dr. Rosalind Horowitz traveled during the summer of 2014 to several cities in Israel to give lectures based on her research and to collaborate with researchers in the Negev, the southernmost part of Israel.
the southernmost part of Israel. This was also an opportunity to meet face-to-face with children living in poverty and subject to the atrocities of war.
Dr. Horowitz, Chair of the Special Interest Group on Research in Reading and Literacy of the American Education Research Association, was invited to speak at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat-Gan, outside Tel Aviv. Among Bar-Ilan’s outstanding academic units, one can find an entire building devoted to Brain Research and Psychology of the Human Mind. Dr. Horowitz was invited by the Department of Developmental Disabilities, which interacts with the brain research faculty.
Dr. Horowitz spoke to masters and doctoral students who primarily serve low-income families and who are facing a time of turbulence. Horowitz’ speech was entitled “Talking Texts: How oral discourse influences poverty populations.” This talk addressed research on the role of attention and stamina, listening comprehension, and parent-child oral interaction that is central to developing reading achievement in schools with large numbers of struggling immigrant children. This presentation was based on Talking Texts, which was published by Dr. Horowitz to display examples of the importance of oral discourse in learning—for reading achievement, critical thinking and reasoning in life.
Photo A includes leadership and in-service teachers from Bar-Ilan University.
While in Israel, Dr. Horowitz toured creative summer programs serving children in poverty who are atthe same time facing the catastrophes or fears related to war or sometimes Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They came from Argentina, India, Russia, Romania, Syria, and Ethiopia to start a new life in a Democratic society, many arriving with nothing. One of the schools funded was supported by Rev. Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio.
Photo B includes children in Jerusalem from Afikim which operates education enrichment centers for children and parental empowerment centers with the overall goal of empowering Israeli families to extricate themselves from the poverty cycle and become independent, productive members of society.
This program also maintains offices worldwide in South America, England, Switzerland, France, and the United States.
The children introduced themselves and the countries from which they originated. They were in many cases bilingual, biliterate, and from binational families. They were enthralled with meeting someone from the United States and shared information about their immigration and assimilation into Israeli communities.
Dr. Horowitz also met with research collaborators at Ben Gurion University and Kaye Teachers College in Beersheba, the later serving largely Bedouins in the Negev and in the process of establishing a partnership with UTSA’s College of Education. This research collaboration examines the effects of pre-writing, with use of graphic organizers, on written argumentation. This intervention equips students and teachers in acquiring academic writing skills in the upper-grades.
Finally, while traveling on a highway, during a time of war, from Omer to Beersheba, Dr. Horowitz and her colleague were alerted by sirens of missiles overhead. Like others on the road, they left their car, went to the roadside and fell to the ground to avoid missiles that are a frequent occurrence even before the war. Within 20 seconds, or less, they were up and back on the road to their destination. Their host and research colleague identified her bomb shelter, a hut outside of the house. When choosing a restaurant for the evening dinner, the plan was to select one with a bomb shelter dare the sirens go off and security needed.