LETTER: Become a Reading Corps tutor

To the Editor:

With another school year around the corner, I’m getting ready to help make a difference in the lives of St. Paul children. As one of 1,000-plus Minnesota Reading Corps tutors in this AmeriCorps program, I love helping kids become better readers, and I am hoping that my story will inspire others to join me.

Three years ago, I began serving at the Heights Community School because I wanted to work with children and determine my career path. As a tutor, I love seeing children transform from shy, struggling students into confident learners — their smiles are the best. But many more students need support. In fact, one in three Minnesota third-graders is not reading at grade level.

Reading Corps tutors work with kids in more than 700 schools across the state. As a result of this individualized attention and encouragement, most students read at their grade level within one year.

While serving, tutors earn a living allowance, a financial award for education or student loans, health care, child care assistance benefits and opportunities to grow professionally. Kids make incredible gains, but it changes the lives of tutors too. I’m planning to pursue a teaching license after serving one more year with Reading Corps.

I encourage anyone who is interested in tutoring to visit www.minnesotareadingcorps.org to find out more about the benefits and the independent research that shows the difference Reading Corps makes. I challenge you to discover if Reading Corps is right for you.

Pakou Lee, St. Paul

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