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Tutoring Tuesday: America Reads from Mansfield University, part 2

March 6, 2012

This is part two of a three-part series. Read part one here.

Hello – My name is Kylie Flint and I was part of the America Reads Program at Mansfield University for two years. At the end of my freshman year at Mansfield University I knew that I needed to find a way to get more experience working with students. That is when one of my friends told me about her experiences with the America Reads program. Thinking that it might be something I could be interested in, I contacted the supervisor, set up an interview, and just like that I was all set with a tutor position for the fall semester of my sophomore year at college. I did not know it at the time, but it was one of the best decisions of my undergraduate career.

As a tutor, I feel that I really did make a difference. At the school where I tutored, there were quite a few of us. At times there could be up to four America Reads tutors in the room at a time, which allowed for more individualized attention for the students. There were many times that the reading specialist and each of the tutors were able to work one on one with the students. This allowed us to concentrate on what that particular student needed help with, which might not have been the case if the reading specialist were to work with them all in a group. Not only did this individual attention benefit the students’ reading, they each got excited about having one of us all to themselves.

When working with my students, I tried to share my own love of reading with them. I showed enthusiasm in their progress and helped them become excited about it as well. I wanted to help my students find reasons to want to read. I was able to do this for many of them. I knew that what I was doing was important when I would see how excited they would get when they were able to read a new book or master their sight words. These were my greatest accomplishments as a tutor, every proud smile and look of accomplishment on my students’ faces. This was how I really knew I was making a positive impact.

My decision to become an America Reads tutor was truly a life changing one. I may have made an impact on my students’ lives, but this experience had an equally significant impact on my own life as well. In the two years I spent as a tutor, I learned so much more than I could have in my college courses alone. I was implementing the strategies we were learning about in class, in an actual classroom environment. I also had the opportunity to learn from two reading specialists who went above and beyond for their students. These two women were my mentors, from who I learned so much. It was my experiences with the America Reads program that led me to further my education in reading and literacy. I found so much joy in helping the students learn to love reading, and it is something I can see myself doing for a long time. Being a tutor helped me realize this.

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