Reading Corps is a program that has somewhat of a domino affect. Students make connections with their tutor creating a trusting, encouraging relationship that follows that student back into the classroom. Now, the student can keep up with peers and gain confidence in his/her ability to read along, with others, and possibly in front of the class. That student can then go home and share his/her experience with family members. Reading can become a favorite activity not just for the student, but for others in his/her life. Many times family members will circle back and share stories about their children’s new love for reading. It’s an amazing process.
We are so thankful to have the fantastic tutors and coaches that make all of this possible. Lives are being transformed and the future is brighter for many children in Reading Corps program communities. But, we want these effects to continue spreading. We want to reach more children, more classrooms, more families… We want to share with you the experiences of our tutors in hopes that you’ll want to join us in our goal: to help every child become a successful reader by the end of 3rd grade.
Today, we’re going to introduce you to two wonderful tutors. One is working with PreK students in Fargo and another with those in Kindergarten through third grade in West Fargo.
First, meet Anna Wilson. This is Anna’s third year as a Reading Corps tutor currently working with PreK students at Nokomis Childcare Center, Fargo. In past years, she has worked with K-3 students at Longfellow Elementary, Fargo.
Anna has a fun story to tell as she was initially enrolled in college and taking courses towards a degree in interior design when she became a literacy tutor for Reading Corps. She found out about the program through a past tutor whom she met at school. In conversation, she shared her passion in life for children and reading and was encouraged to apply to become an AmeriCorps member and serve as a literacy tutor in the Reading Corps program.
“I just took a leap of faith and applied. I love that every day, every moment with a child is rewarding. Whether they reach their goal or not, their confidence in themselves and their abilities increase and it’s amazing to be a part of that,” explained Anna.
Because of her positive experience with AmeriCorps and Reading Corps, Anna transferred in the spring semester and changed her career path and dove into pursuing an early education degree!
Anna’s explained how her time with Reading Corps has provided her a pathway to gain knowledge and experience in data-based decision making.
“Being that I’m going into a preschool classroom during my third year of service, I’m learning a lot about classroom management, classroom organization and what it truly means to be a SEEDS (Sensitive, Encourage, Educate, Develop through Doing, and Self-Image) quality teacher as well.”
BUT – what Anna said she truly hopes for is to see her kids succeed.
“Even if they don’t make their goal… if I can just see a spark in their eye… can excite them to learn… motivate them to put forth effort and take control of their learning, then I have gained more than I could ever ask for!”
Next, I’d like you to meet Kathy Lande a first year tutor in West Fargo at Independence Elementary working with Kindergarten through third grade students. Kathy comes from a very different point in her life as she had just retired when she saw an ad for Reading Corps in The Forum.
“I have always loved kids and at one time I thought about teaching. I had just retired and thought NOW is a good time in my life to do this. The hours are perfect and now I have my chance to work with kids and help them gain a very important skill,” says Kathy.
Starting in the fall of 2014 Kathy entered the program training hoping to find a sense of accomplishment throughout the school year.
“I hoped I would feel as if I’d made a difference in someone’s life – helping them gain an essential life skill. Even though the year is only half complete, I have already experienced the BIG smile on the students’ faces when they feel that confidence they’ve gained in becoming a better reader. It’s a great feeling.”
Both of these tutors have been an essential piece of the entire Reading Corps program and we are so thankful to have individuals like them working with these students and making a difference in their futures.
If anyone is still contemplating whether or not Reading Corps is a good fit for you, I’ll leave it to these two ladies comments to help you make your decision.
“If you’re thinking about becoming a Reading Corps tutor, GO FOR IT! It’s been a great experience and very rewarding to help children become better readers. Without reading a student will not succeed to their potential in education.” – Kathy Lande
“I would say [being a Reading Corps tutor] is the best decision I have ever made! Even if you aren’t going to school to be a teacher, but have a passion with being a positive influence to others around you and bettering the youth, this is the place for you. And, on top of all that Reading Corps is the most supportive organization I have known. Whenever I have a question, I know I have an entire team of people ready and willing to support and guide me through anything.” – Anna Wilson