Keeping students on the right track

To the editor:

We would like to take a moment to celebrate the excellent efforts of our teachers at Park Side Elementary School in Marshall. As literacy tutors with the Minnesota Reading Corps for Park Side, we saw firsthand the great work they are doing to shape the futures of the children of this community.

We also know the reality facing today’s students. One in three Minnesota third graders do not read at grade level. When you consider that 70 percent of jobs will soon require some form of post-secondary education, it has never been more critical to ensure that our students are on the right track.

As tutors, we proudly served at Park Side Elementary during the 2013-2014 school year to help struggling students get their footing. We all came to school each day in hopes of improving not only the reading skills of the students we serviced, but also to be a friend to those students. The relationships that evolved over the course of the school year were incredible. Students who were once reading one, if not two, grade levels below their expected level were now exceeding expectations in their classrooms. And students who at first were scared to ask for help, now knew exactly where to turn. We became their tutors, their “reading teachers” and we became their friends.

It’s gratifying to know that we made an impact. The Minnesota Reading Corps is a statewide initiative designed to help every Minnesota child to be a proficient reader by the end of third grade. Working with proven, research-based interventions, Minnesota Reading Corps sees real results.

This year there are more than 1,000 tutors serving with Minnesota Reading Corps and its sister program, Math Corps. The programs are looking for more people to give one year of their time into serving in education for the next school year. Minnesota Reading Corps tutors are given the option of serving part-time or full-time, with part-time members needing to complete 860 hours of community service and full-time members being required to complete 1,720 hours of community service throughout the year. Most of these hours come from direct service at the school. For more details, go to www.MinnesotaReadingCorps.org or www.MinnesotaMathCorps.org.

Again, we salute the great work our educators are doing, and encourage anyone who is willing to serve to step up! This is an awesome experience for future educators to add to their resumes. The Minnesota Reading Corps is a unique opportunity that enhances the understanding of literacy, diversity, and many facets of the education system in our state. Our children, and their futures, are certainly worth it.

Jenna Carlson

April Gunderson

Samantha Resick