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Connecting the Community to the Power of Reading

As a Bexley community elementary school educator for close to 40 years, Bev Finley, M.A., a 1972 graduate of Capital University, had never considered teaching at the university level until a call from her alma mater challenged her in a way she never saw coming.

Twice a week, in a quaint space on the third floor of the Blackmore Library, Finley observes Capital and Columbus-area K-12 grade students grow in a way that is possible in very few settings. The promise of individual, personalized tutoring, along with Finley’s passion for education, makes the Reading Center an invaluable resource.

Led by Finley since 2010, The K-12 Reading Center is an essential part of Capital teacher education training. Launched in 1976, and initially funded by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, the Reading Center has served over 2,000 students.

“The reward is watching children and college students grow and gain their confidence, to know that they can go out and do what they need to do,” said Finley. “Our bigger students obviously can read, but when you hear a kindergartener yell out ‘I can read’, there’s no greater joy than that.”

Capital students enrolled in the “Assessing Reading Difficulties in Children and How to Intervene” course are in a didactic classroom setting for five weeks and then move to the Reading Center to tutor for the remaining 10 weeks.

“The Reading Center is a safe place for a lot of our tutees. It is a place where as soon as you walk through the doors, it is magical,” said Jennifer Faison Kelly, Ph.D., dean, School of Education. “Professor Finley has shepherded that welcoming environment and positive climate for more than 10 years.”

In 2019, Finley was awarded the first teaching excellence award for part-time faculty at Capital.

“She is remarkable and tireless,” said Kelly. “Capital students often comment about the feedback she provides to each of them related to the lesson plans required for each tutoring lesson. Professor Finley’s rapport with the tutees and their parents daily illustrates the CapFam community.”

As a Capital alumna, she has made a lasting positive impact on the hundreds of students she has served.

“I’m really spoiled in that Capital students are wonderful students. I tell people that all the time who complain about young people. Capital students really want to do well; they really want to learn,” said Finley. “There’s no more of a rewarding career. I don’t know that the world respects teachers like doctors and lawyers, but there is no more rewarding career.”

To read more about Capital University’s teacher education program, go to