By: Megan Valerius, Minnesota Reading Corps, K-3 Literacy Tutor, Pine Hill Elementary, Cottage Grove, MN
The two most fulfilling years of my life have been spent in Minnesota Reading Corps. Minnesota Reading Corps is a statewide initiative to help every student in Minnesota become a proficient reader by the end of third grade. We provide tutoring services to students ranging in ages 3 to grade 3. As a K-3 Literacy Tutor, I have had the privilege of working one-on-one with students who need a little extra help with their reading skills. With the assistance of our specially tailored reading interventions, I have seen several children achieve their goals and become successful with reading.
One particular case involves a young girl in second grade. When I first met her, she was reading at 20-30 words per minute. I was delighted to be her reading tutor for the next year, and continued to see growth. I noticed every single day that she was gaining confidence in her skills and was able to increase her fluency. Now, in third grade, she is reading at 100 or more words per minute! Thanks to the one-on-one approach, she was able to receive the much needed attention to help improve specific skills. This has allowed her to become the successful student she is today. So far, as a K-3 Literacy Tutor, I have assisted more than 50 students! This is just my individual experience. With more than 600 members across the state of Minnesota,Minnesota Reading Corps has been able to assist tens of thousands of children over the past several years.
I am honored to be a part of this AmeriCorps State program and it has, in fact, inspired me in my personal life. My experiences of the past two years have ignited a passion in me that I never knew existed. Over the next two years, I will be going to graduate school to earn a teaching license. Thanks to the AmeriCorps Minnesota Reading Corps program, I have seen the importance in teaching children the necessary skills to succeed. Never before have I been so rewarded by the work that I do. To see how the interventions and one-on-one help really brings these students to thrive is a priceless gift. When I first began, the work that I did seemed minimal. But after two years, I have come to realize the positive impact it has had on the lives of several children. The work that Minnesota Reading Corps does ensures that the 15,000 children who are not reading at grade level by third grade are given the instruction they need to succeed. With the help of Minnesota Reading Corps, we will change the 15,000 students reading below average by third grade to 0 students reading below average by third grade!