Minnesota Reading Corps offers tutors the chance to help students succeed in education

Published 9:56 am Friday, April 10, 2015

A chance to serve the community is opening up at Sibley Elementary School.

Minnesota Reading Corps, the nation’s largest state AmeriCorps program, has awarded all four elementary schools in Albert Lea Reading Corps positions. Sibley principal Ross Williams said Sibley has had a Reading Corps tutor for the past four to five years.

Reading Corps tutors work with students in kindergarten through third grade on a one-on-one basis. They work with students who fall in between students of special needs or Title One and students who read at grade level.

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For the district, a Reading Corps tutor has no cost, Williams said. Sometimes the tutor may need to access a computer or use a vehicle, but he said those are basic things.

Every year the school must apply for Reading Corps tutoring positions and then work with Reading Corps to fill the position.

The tutor position at Sibley is currently filled by Jasmine Porter, an Albert Lea High School graduate who has finished her education at Macalester College and is now looking to go on to graduate school.

Porter has worked for Reading Corps in Minneapolis and wanted to serve in her hometown before going to graduate school, as she enjoyed her first tutoring experience.

She said she has some interest in education, but at a higher level — her degree is in medieval history, which she said doesn’t mesh with younger students. Still, she said her time with Reading Corps helped her learn more about the education system.

Porter works with students one-on-one for 20 minutes each day.

Over the course of the year she’s seen 40 students, some of which graduated from the program.

Once students graduated from the program, Porter monitored their work to make sure they were meeting grade levels.

Porter said a Reading Corps tutor position is good for people just out of high school or those who might be retired, especially people interested in education or former teachers.

While the hours were long Porter said she got to see kids succeed, which helped raise their confidence. One memorable experience Porter had was of one student who she was tutoring for a long time, but eventually graduated from the program. Once she was finished she excitedly told Porter about all the books she was going to read.

“It’s very rewarding,” she said.

To apply to become a Reading Corps tutor, go to the Albert Lea Area Schools website at albertlea.k12.mn.us and click on the Minnesota Reading Corps tutors link.