Elementary schools seek tutors for the Minn. Reading Corps

Published 11:05 am Thursday, July 25, 2013

Albert Lea’s four elementary schools are all eligible to have a tutor from the Minnesota Reading Corps, but only three tutors have been found for the 2013-14 school year.

Sibley Elementary School Principal Ross Williams would like to find more applicants so all four buildings will have that extra help.

“We’re trying to do everything we can to fill the last position so we don’t go without having a Reading Corps member or tutor in one of our elementary buildings,” Williams said.

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The deadline for finding another tutor has been extended, but someone will have to be found soon so they can attend training in August.

“We were given some grace by Reading Corps to see if we can find a person to fill it,” Williams said.

The program has helped kindergartners through third-graders immensely, Williams said. Tutors work directly with students who need extra help to reach grade level in reading.

“Our kids certainly benefit from it,” Williams said. “The mission of Reading Corps is to provide kids with extra help through research-based interventions.”

There are other federal- and state-mandated programs that help students who have large amounts to catch up on, and Reading Corps helps those students who just need a little more support to reach grade level. Williams said the program is fluid, so a child can stop meeting the tutor if things are going well or children can come back to meet with tutors if they start to fall behind again. Williams also said the elementary schools provide support to the Reading Corps staffer.

“They’re heavily supported by teachers,” Williams said. “The building must provide an internal coach to the Reading Corps member, and all of our buildings have great internal coaches.”

Use of the program has grown in Albert Lea. Williams said Sibley was the first school to use the program, but now all four elementary schools have taken advantage of it.

“It’s highly beneficial to kids,” Williams said. “We have people who come in and work really well with kids, and that’s additional support that’s free to the district.”


About Reading Corps

Minnesota Reading Corps is an AmeriCrops program, so members receive the benefits of serving the organization. Minnesota Reading Corps is a statewide program that aims to help children become successful readers by the end of third grade. The program places tutors and community volunteers in schools, and 80 percent of third-graders who successfully complete the program go on to pass the statewide exam, according to a press release. For more information or to apply visit www.minnesotareadingcorps.org.

Tutors commit to 11 months of service beginning in August and receive a living allowance, an education award of up to $5,550 to pay for college or to pay back federal student loans and other benefits. There is also the option to transfer the education award to a child or grandchild if the tutor is 55 years old or older.