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Letter to the editor

Reading Corps, good opportunity for graduates

February 7, 2013

I graduated from UW-River Falls last spring and one of my biggest concerns was what I was going to do for work. I learned about Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps and decided to join this AmeriCorps program. Minnesota Math Corps tutors work with students in fourth – eighth grade to help achieve algebra proficiency. Over 1,000 Minnesota Reading Corps tutors work on literacy skills with children age three through grade three.  As a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor, I can honestly say that I love what I do every day.

Minnesota Reading Corps is not your typical job, but an 11-month commitment to service. Minnesota Reading Corps is a statewide initiative to help students to become successful readers by the end of third grade. Today, nearly one in five third graders in Minnesota are failing to achieve basic literacy skills. This year, Minnesota Reading Corps tutors will work with close to 30,000 students at over 600 different schools across the state.  Minnesota Reading Corps is the nation’s largest state AmeriCorps program.

I was able to work with children through the extracurricular activities that I was involved in at UWRF – including Big Brothers Big Sisters, cross country, track, InterVarsity and Destination. These experiences contributed to my passion to continue to work with students. Now, I look forward to my mornings – greeting my students, my one-on-one interactions with them, my students’ reactions when they reach their reading goals and the endless stories and hugs I receive every day.

Full-time Reading Corps tutors, such as myself, receive a living stipend, health insurance and are eligible for an education award at the end of their year of service. Tutors receive extensive training and support throughout their service. Tutors use research-based methods working one-on-one or in small groups using individualized learning strategies to lead struggling readers. Graphs are produced and I often show these graphs to my students so they can see their improvement. Their responses are one of the great things I love about my job.

My fast-paced day never gets old. I look forward to seeing each one of my students for different reasons. I love the supportive school I serve at and the fun, dedicated, teachers I get to work with. I would not change it for anything. Not only is this a fun experience, but also a great experience in the working world that prepares tutors for their next professional step in any career.

I graduated from UWRF with a journalism degree, and following graduation, a position like this was the last thing on my mind. Looking ahead at graduation, consider your options.  Minnesota Reading Corps and Minnesota Math Corps are only year-long commitments with many benefits. It is perfect timing for your next chapter in life to try something new and gain some valuable skills. You can be one of the 1,000+ tutors in Minnesota changing children’s lives. Look into www.MinnesotaReadingCorps.org or www.MinnesotaMathCorps.org.