Letter to the editor: Reading Corps experience great

I cannot imagine that I won’t be walking the halls of Twin Lakes Elementary School next year wearing my “reading corps red” and pulling kids from class to work on their reading skills. That’s what I do now as a Minnesota Reading Corps member: I read with kids every day using scientifically designed interventions to help them read faster, more accurately, and with better expression. I tell them they can do it, and pretty soon, they do!

I love watching a kid go from a nervous reader, that maybe you have to lean toward to hear, that maybe dreads reading out loud in class, to a kid who can’t wait to sit down at your table with you and knock your socks off. When a kid knows they are a good reader, you can hear that confidence in their voice, you know the sound, and you can see that in their walk back to class, seeing that walk makes me smile. I feel so proud of them, and proud of me, too.

Being a Minnesota Reading Corps literacy tutor takes a lot of energy because you see on average 16 kids a day for 20 minute each, and you have to give them your best, to make the most of that 20 minutes. It was challenging for me at first, because I had to learn to do everything the way that Minnesota Reading Corps has scientifically proven to work, and I had to get it exactly right. I am a “creative” type so it took a different kind of self-discipline, and organization than I had been using as a stay-at-home mom and day care provider. I had what my coach called a “learning curve.” But with lots of help from her, I saw that following the directions in the manual, is the best thing for the kids. It became very clear as I went along and saw amazing results. I grew a healthy respect for getting it right, and for my ability to do so!

So, being a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor isn’t easy but it’s awesome, and it’ll change you because you learn a lot about yourself. I know I can do anything I want to next because I’ve redeveloped those skills I will need to succeed anywhere. It was a great choice for me, and actually I’m completing my second year. Sometimes you forget how strong you are, until you look back and say to yourself “I did that!”

I’m 45 years old, but I’ve done a lot of growing up, just recently. My time of service is almost up, I am hoping these kids will be working with a wonderful Minnesota Reading Corps member next year, not perfect of course, but wonderful and willing to grow.

If you are interested in being a Minnesota Reading Corps K-3 Literacy Tutor, visit the website www.minnesotareadingcorps.com.  — Amy Thompson, Elk River