AAP contributing writer
I never envisioned that where I am today, reading with students, would fill me with rewarding knowledge about my career goals. I am happy that this experience has helped me create meaningful memories filled with academic and personal growth.
As a recent college graduate, I had the opportunity to experience a very real and deep sense of passion from her very first career assignment. This is through serving in a program called Minnesota Reading Corps. Reading Corps’ mission is to help all students become fluent readers by the end of third grade. My preconceived notions from reading their goals went as follows.
First, I assumed my service would be divided into rigid time slots reading books with students on a daily basis. Least to say, my experience with Reading Corps has shown me that nothing could have been further from the truth. Such revelations have given me a new profound belief in tutoring that I’ve never had before.
Launched in 2003, Minnesota Reading Corps is a program within the national service organization, AmeriCorps. It strives to help every Minnesota child age 3 through grade 3 become successful readers by the end of third grade.
The program began with 25 tutors and has grown to a projected 1,000 tutors in 2012-2013. The strong growth of tutors is a testament to Reading Corps’ efforts to expand its services throughout Minnesota, reaching as many students in need as possible.
Through weekly assessments, graphs, charts and reading interventions I witnessed the progression of my students’ literacy skills in a tangible and beautiful manner. Helping those kids learn how to read was all the proof I needed to motivate myself to be better every day through the 20 minute tutoring sessions.
Through my time with Riverview Westside School of Excellence I’ve gained influential and wonderful relationships with my students, especially with my tough third grade students who shared conversations about conflict resolutions on our walk back to classes. Their confidence, positive energy and motivation to read every day with me have never ceased to amaze me. I have the highest respect for each of them.
As I help them to become proficient readers, they showed me that my passion to instill personal growth was possible too. Together, my students and I worked on their literacy skills and in the process, have created some of the best of times. In these moments, I’ve seen them recall previously difficult words fluently, reading twice as many words per minute than the months before and best of all, the strength of confidence in their voice as they read aloud.
My experience with Reading Corps has shown me that such individualized interventions and personal tutoring to children from age 3 through grade 3 are influential in building proficient and passionate readers. Reading Corps has not only taught me the importance of reading every day, but also to read for pleasure and with those you care about, like family members and friends; something I wished I realized when I was growing up. After having developed a real passion for the work I do every day, my new hope is that whatever means of teaching literacy skills we may employ in children’s lives, that we apply them starting now, today.
Yer Yang is a member of AmeriCorps in the MN Education Corps program as a Literacy Tutor. She has taken the task of reaching out to other young Asian American about the world of national service and the importance of reading. She wants to help to create more Asian American leaders in the AmeriCorps community.