Friday, August 21, 2020

By: Claire Quigle

Happy “Where Do You Work” Wednesday! Meet alumna Laura Matter (B.A. ‘97 Elementary Education).

Matter is originally from Batavia, Illinois, and has recently started her own company, called Reading Matters, in her town. Before the start of her business, she worked both in California and abroad.

While attending the University of Iowa, Matter took many courses in reading instruction because she had a goal of becoming a Reading Specialist. Matter feels her time at the University of Iowa College of Education has helped her navigate challenges throughout her career.

“Iowa prepared me for the challenges I've encountered throughout my career whether it was a new placement with an unfamiliar student population or how to work collaboratively with the staff and colleagues,” says Matter. “I always appreciated the attention to real-life scenarios we experienced at Iowa, and truly credit the education I received while at Iowa provided me with the skills and confidence to reach my goals as an educator,” says Matter.

After graduation, Matter moved to California to teach in elementary schools in the Salinas Valley for 10 years. Later in her career, she returned to graduate school and earned a Master of Arts degree along with a reading specialist credential at San Jose State University. Soon after, Matter became the Reading Specialist at California State University Monterey Bay at their Center for Reading Diagnosis and Instruction.

After 8 years of working at California State University Monterey Bay, Matter began traveling. Eventually, she stayed in Hoedspruit, South Africa working to provide reading intervention services to the local community. She also volunteered at an after school literacy program in the village of Acornhoek, Limpopo.

“I love being able to help students improve their reading skills and confidence,” says Matter. “Sometimes that means a student meeting their goals and sharing a new achievement or that they were so excited about their book and shared it with their family.”

Upon returning to the United States in 2018, Matter opened Reading Matters in Illinois. She provides one on one reading intervention services to students online and has clients locally and in other states in the USA.

Covid-19 changed Matter’s business by pushing her completely online. She now serves students online through zoom lessons, while incorporating research-based programs and methodologies. The pandemic has allowed Matter to broaden her client base to include children who live outside the Batavia, Illinois area.

“The quality of professors and experiences I had during my undergraduate degree has served me well,” says Matter. “I am always proud to call myself a Hawkeye!”

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