NIU clinics provide literacy tutoring, counseling

Laurie Elish-Piper
Laurie Elish-Piper

Clinics aren’t always related to physical health.

If your child needs help with reading, or if you or your family members are working to cope with emotional stress, for example, please know that the Northern Illinois University College of Education is here for you.

Our Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic and our Community Counseling Training Center, both of which are staffed with talented and caring professionals and students, are open to the public.

For the people of our university community, the clinics provide close access to excellent services. For students in our college, meanwhile, they support educational and career goals through real-world, hands-on learning experiences.

As dean, I’m proud and honored to be part of this long and collaborative legacy – and I’m grateful for this chance to tell you more about the services we offer.

NIU’s Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic, located inside the NIU Health, Wellness and Literacy Center at 3100 Sycamore Road in DeKalb, enrolls around 450 K-12 students each year in programs designed to help them become better readers.

Those programs, all offered at little or no cost, include Assessment & Intensive Strategic Tutoring; America Reads; and Reading Individualized Tutoring Services. The clinic also supports 10 Little Free Libraries in our community, and assists District 428 with an after-school reading program at Littlejohn Elementary School.

You can find more information on our website (, which also features myriad resources for parents, educators and libraries. Call 815-753-1416 or email to contact the clinic directly.

Located in Graham Hall 416, the Community Counseling Training Center is a state-of-the-art facility equipped with the appropriate technology to ensure the safety and privacy of our clients while retaining a comfortable atmosphere.

Exceptional and culturally responsive counseling is free for the between 400 and 600 NIU students, faculty, staff and community members we serve. Our counselors are advanced-level master’s and doctoral students who are supervised by faculty with the appropriate licenses and doctoral degrees.

We assist our clients on everything from depression, anxiety and anger management to grief and loss, family conflicts and problems at school. Our clients and counselors also work together to explore issues of self-esteem, stress management, time management, adjustment to college and more.

Under this broad umbrella also is our Center for Grief and Loss, which delivers bereavement services and resources to children, adolescents, adults and schools in our community. Our counselors understand the grieving process and support journeys of healing.

More information about the CCTC is available online at as are links to other providers of mental health services. Call 815-753-9312 or email to contact the center directly.

Please feel free to reach out to either of our clinics with your questions, and/or requests for their services, as we partner to build a stronger university community.

(This is the second in a series of columns highlighting clinical services available to the public through Northern Illinois University.)

• Laurie Elish-Piper is the dean of the NIU College of Education. A member of the faculty since 1995, Elish-Piper is a Distinguished Engagement Professor and Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She served as director of the Jerry L. Johns Literacy Clinic for 15 years.

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