literacy

Great Story - A year of growth

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AmeriCorps St. Louis Education Member Arlene FairST LOUIS - At the end of second year of service, now as the Team Leader at Woodward Elementary, I decided to tutor a couple of my students from last year once more before the end of the school year. My little first graders have become taller, almost-third-graders, and they are no longer in need of tutoring. They do, however, enjoy special attention nonetheless. At the close of one of our final group tutoring session, I let each of my second graders choose a couple of books to take home. I asked my once-struggling readers to name their favorite thing about second grade - they answered, "READING."

On the way back to class, I told my students that I would miss them very much. They assured me, "We will miss you too, but we can write to each other, and we can remember you when we read our books." That made my heart melt. These kids did not know how to read or write when I first met them. Now they enjoy reading and are proud of it.

Arlene's Year 16 Students

Arlene Fair served with the AmeriCorps St. Louis Education Team at Woodward Elementary during Years 16 & 17. Both of her parents are teachers and she's moving with her husband, another teacher, to California to pursue a Masters in Literacy.

Great Story - How does that make you feel?

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AmeriCorps St. Louis Year 17 Education Member Matthew Kutz with student AntasiaST LOUIS - Back in April, I was working with my champion, Antasia, on a new book that was just slightly above her level. She has some difficulties with producing content and writing sometimes, but she is excellent at picking up new words and blend sounds, and I use that to build her confidence. I went over the blends we already knew on the board and introduced our new sound, /ch/, and drew a picture of a chick to help her remember it. Then we set about reading Clifford and the Chick. Antasia struggled at various points with bigger words and the occasional "Magic e" controlled long vowel sound, and she had to repeatedly look at the board to remember the /ch/ sound. When she struggles, I tend to let her, because she doesn't give up. And in this instance, she really struggled and she really didn't give up. I guided her until we got through the whole book and then we had a talk.

AmeriCorps St. Louis Year 17 Education Member Matthew Kutz with student Antasia"Antasia, do you know what you just did?"

"I read the book."

"Yes! You did! But what made me really happy was when you stayed focused and figured things out, even when they were difficult for you. That's very good to see, and it will help you both in school and life."

She smiled.

"How does that make you feel?"

"I feel proud of myself."

"Well, I'm proud of you, too," I said, smiling.

Matthew Kutz served with the AmeriCorps St. Louis Education Team at Woodward Elementary during Year 17. After working for Sports Illustrated's photography department for several years, he decided to attend medical school and joined AmeriCorps St. Louis to begin a life of service. His experiences in AmeriCorps have strongly influenced his decision to become a pediatrician.