I am working with the Taylor Reading Corps as a volunteer to tutor children with reading. They placed me in Bernice McDowell Elementary School in a firs grade classroom. The school houses K-5 students. Its a long, one floor building with many classrooms, a gym, a lunchroom and a play ground. As I walked around the premises I found that the school is located in a, for the most part, quiet area during the day. The neighborhood is full of single residence homes. In the morning groups of children either walked from the near by homes or were bused in so I don’t know what kind of area all the students come from. The children are very diverse in reference to ethnicity and cultures. Unfortunately all of them are not excelling at the expected reading level which is why the Taylor Reading Corps is volunteering with them and many other schools in Taylor, Michigan. PCBE is already going on with the partnership between TRC and Taylor Public Schools. They students get more resources to help with their literacy and TRC and the Taylor Public School sysytem learn more about how to help the students improve and learn different factors in what are affecting these students and the ability to meet their potential. In addition to what they are already doing they could possibly added on other subject area tutoring sessions to help improve a students success all around. Based on what I am learning I could build relationships with the students and their families by getting to know them and discovering what all affects their learning. This will allow me to help them further their education.
My first experience with my service learning site was… informational. The partner I chose was the Taylor Reading Corps (TRC). When I first heard them describe their mission I knew this was the group I wanted to be apart of. They are a volunteer group in Taylor, MI that is dedicated to making sure that by the time a child reaches the 3rd grade each child is at or above the appropriate reading level for their grade. While working with this group I will be assigned a school to attend and tutor two children who are below the expected reading level.
My very first meeting with the organization was training. Everyone who volunteers has to attend a mandatory training where we learn what is expected of us as volunteers. We were given these green bag with all sorts of supplies to help us in tutoring. We are not required to use the bag or its content but its there to aid us if need be. Things in this bag include items such as: book lists, pencils, stickers, dry erase board, markers, work sheets, etc. They also have a personal library where volunteers can choose books from in the office. At the training they explained in great detailed all the contents of the bag and talked about their own experiences with TRC.
After training I had to wait two long weeks until finally this past Friday they gave me my school placement. This morning I was able to go to the school that I will be spending my 40 hours (if not more). I had planned on meeting the principle, teachers and students today but unfortunately all but one of the students I was assigned were absent today. I left the principle a message and she called me back and we arranged to meet this upcoming Friday when I will hopefully meet her, the teacher and the other student.
I’m really excited about getting into this because to be able to help children learn to read is all I’ve ever wanted to do. It poses a challenge to know that they are below their reading level and may not even like to read but I accept that challenge because I want to show them that reading can be fun. I’ve always thought as long as you can find the right book you will be able to lose yourself in it and enjoy it very much.