10 September 2015

America Reads 2015-2016 First Blog Prompt




ATTN: America Reads Tutors

What have you learned so far about the America Reads community partner where you are earning your award?  What skills or talents do you bring to your America Reads community partner? How will these skills and talents benefit the children you are tutoring? Is there anything that surprises you? Returning tutors what do you bring to this second term or year?

33 comments:

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  2. I've learned that children learn at an extremely accelerated rate when they have confidence and they are having fun.

    As a child I had a rough time learning to read, write, read a clock and doing math. I have a talent for getting on their level; taking my adult brain out of the equation to see and feel what they see and feel. I'm an extreme organizer and planner. I feel my skills and talents are benefiting the children by providing safety through structure that allows for vulnerable, open and exciting learning experiences. The only thing that may have surprised me was how well I was received by the students I tutor.

    I'm so excited to be a part of this program and my gratitude runs deeper than I know how to convey. This is a fulfilling and enriching experience I had no idea was coming.

    T. Dixon

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    1. The type of enthusiasm you have, is just what those kids need! It's also very infectious to be around as a fellow tutor. Being able to have empathy and compassion is a powerful tool in helping the kids learn. It builds patience and understanding, and also the willpower to not let them give up, as you do for yourself. I loved reading your post. Keep up the awesome attitude!

      BettyLe

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    1. I'm really happy for you to hear that you were able to have such a good parents who guided you but unfortunately other people have not the same luck as you did when growing up. I was one of them who had parents working at all times. I feel sorry for those children at the YMCA who are there early in the morning to the evening and at the same time I understand their behavior because they get tired of not seeing there parents. I also feel happy to be there and to be able to make their day go fast.

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  4. In working with the YMCA, I have learned just how much children need and crave structure. I was fortunate to have parents that worked with me constantly on learning skills. They used many methods to keep me interested. So, I feel like I have a lot of options to choose from to fit the individual child I help. The children that I have been working with are exceptionally bright. I tried to keep an open mind before starting, but a part of me might have thought that a lot of the struggles were due to a lack of intellectual development. That has not been the case with these kids. They simply have not spent the time in working on these skills or had someone to work with them. They are eager to read and actually quite good at it when given the opportunity. I have been challenged by a young boy that does not speak English or even speak much at all. He understands a lot, but it is hard to find ways to make him want to participate. I have a few ideas about working with English and Spanish at the same time. It might help him associate things more easily since Spanish is spoken most in the home.

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    2. Even though I know your story working with this child out still gives me chills. It's moving to know how profoundly we are changing these children's lives. I'm so honored to get to work along side people who find so much joy and excitement in enriching little lives.

      T Dixon

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    3. It is hard because you can pick out the kids that don't have that extra help at home and so school is very different for them and difficult. You really have to start with the basics with them and let them see how positive reading and learning can really be. B.F.

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    4. I also have had a highly structured childhood, so I see where you're coming from. The kids that come in that can't speak English feel alienated and alone. They're constantly being frustrated by the simple yet crucial task of communication. All they need is time. They're like sponges, and you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly they pick up language.
      Jesliania

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  5. This is my 3rd week at the YMCA, so far I've learned that kids really like hearing how well they are doing at something, and the ones that aren't listening and doing what they need see the example from the others and then start to follow. It's been a really good learning experiance in both my end and the kids. I've been able to read them stories and interact with them while I read to them. They do centers and almost everyday the centers are different and keep the kids interested. The more hands on you are with them at the center ( participating in the centers) makes the kids want to come to your center because the see that you are whiling to help them learn but do it in a fun way. I feel like the kids and I have a mural respect for each other, which it wasn't like this the first week. There are a few struggles with communication, but I've now found ways to communicate with them, because I don't want them to feel left out. The first two days at the Y they didn't have schedules or any plans for each day so it was just go with the flow. But now they are more structured and have a daily curriculum for the students. I've been lucky to be able to work with the same group and teachers since I've been there.

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    2. I must agree with you in regards to the awesome staff that so readily provides support to us in what we're doing with these kids. It was pretty scary at first when I started and that fear only subsided when I realized that I wasn't alone and the staff was ready to help in anyway I could fathom.

      T Dixon

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    3. I agree that the best way to help a struggling kid is by showing them a good example. That little tip has helped me tremendously. I also think it goes deeper then that, as in, if we show them what they are capable of being they'll start on a positive pathway themselves. B.F.

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    4. Kids can not get enough of compliments! Especially the young ones. The more you give, the more they listen to you, especially if you make your compliments unique and genuine. They crave them like candy, and you will see immediate and remarkable changes in a child if you keep this up.
      Jeslicania

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    5. Jesilcania, I'm stealing that insight for myself! The more you give, the more they listen. Absolutely! I have seen a huge improvement with frequent readers since I've been giving compliments and encouragement! It feels good knowing that they're growing and cultivating a confidence.

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  6. I will be starting tutoring next week at the YMCA. I look forward to getting back to Nibley Park but will be patient!! As a 3rd year tutor I am always amazed at the things our children teach us. By observing a child, we can learn so much. I ask myself, Am I the teacher or the student. I am an Early Childhood Education major and I enjoy getting to know each child as an individual. When a child knows that you care about them and know who they are, they will do many great and wonderful things to please you. But in reading I want them to please themselves and find success in their lives.

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    1. I love how you asked if you are the teacher or the student, just being around them has brought back so many more simple joys into my life. I learn so much from them every day. B.F.

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  7. I learned that the YMCA is way more then just an after school program and they need tons of volunteers to help out. I'm learning more and more about how to teach younger kids things like colors and reading, etc. It's such a different process then with the older kids, but just as much fun. The biggest thing I've learned is how to keep their interest. I think that my best skill is my listening skills, kids aren't afraid to come over and tell me stories or come to me for help. I'm also really good with the shy kids because I'm a shy person as well. I think one of the most surprising things is that the YMCA teaches a little bit of sign language. It's inspiring me to learn a little about it. Although I am a second year tutor I still feel pretty new because I had never been to the YMCA before and it's a totally new experience, but I'm also really comfortable working with large groups because of tutoring last year. B.F

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    1. I agree, I also have worked both at the schools and at the YMCA, and the Y is unique. I like it because I feel like we have more support from the Y staff than we ever had from the school, and I personally know what I'm doing better than I did at the Elementary schools. After school program is very different from the Preschool program the YMCA has. I encourage you to check both of them out if you have time in your schedule, you'll be able to see which one you like better very quickly. Here in October, some tutors are going to be branching out to the satellite programs, and we want to model after the tutoring at the after school program right now at the Community Family Center. This will give tutors a unique opportunity to truly cover new grounds for America Reads and affect many kids at different title I schools.
      Jeslicania

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    2. I feel like Y need a lot people to read to kids so they can improve they reading skills.

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  8. This is my third year tutoring, and I'm seeing many changes in the YMCA this year. I'm sad to see a decline in the amount of children attending program there, the volunteer coordinator there also is noticing a decline as well. Most of the employees have changed, and I miss the old familiar faces. Most of the children are the same, the ones that still attend, and I enjoy them running up and giving me "side hugs". Some skills I have been able to use at the Y is organizational skills when it came to organizing the books and getting the attendance sheets put together, and data entry skills. I haven't used Excel in so long, it took me a while to remember all of the little tricks and short cuts that were once second nature. I have been honing interactive skills that I use especially with the kids, but can be used anywhere. Being able to deal with a tough child basically require the same patience and techniques as dealing with a tough adult. These skills and techniques benefit the children by making reading fun, and helping them learn without feeling like they are being forced into something they don't want to do. This skill usually begins with asking what they want, and doing the best to make win win situations.
    What surprises me the most this semester is how well organized the tutoring program has become. An amazingly helpful fellow tutor has helped me put together rather systematic and useful paperwork that can easily track all of the progress. We are going to test the children twice every semester, and use the results to create a list of kids that need frequent help and less frequent reading. Compared to last year, this system is heaven. We have the books to go to every reading level, and we have the tutors to achieve our goals. Though the goal of every child on reading level in program is a lofty one, I believe this is the semester most likely to achieve it.
    Jeslicania

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  9. Wow. So far I've learned there is a lot of dedicated people who work and volunteer at America Reads. Not only are the children learning, the adults are too. When we teach, we learn as well. Problem-solving, trouble shooting, and character-building with kids is something special. Having worked at American Preparatory Academy with 1st and 2nd graders for 2 years, I'm eager to have the chance to take what I've learned from that experience and apply it to a YMCA setting. There have been times when things were very difficult, but I never gave up. I kept trying and one day everything just clicked. I found my groove. Coming from a place where I felt like I wanted to quit (which never happens!) to being the lead instructor at my school and winning instructor of the year. It reminds me that no matter how hard things are, when we want something enough, when we are willing to fail, surrender, and learn to not give up -that's where the magic happens. Just as we believe in our kids ability to be better readers, we need to believe in our abilities too. I feel that I'm able to bring that type of mentality and philosophy to America reads.
    What really surprises me is how excited I am to get started. It's been almost a year since I've been in a tutor/teaching setting so this is going to be fun getting to remember what it feels like again!

    BettyLe

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  10. I am working in the office at the Thayne center this year so I have been able to tour our community partners, YMCA and Nibley Park elementary. YMCA is working on a new reading program that tests the students to better assist them in their reading. Jamie is the new coordinator tutors will work with to get started and know what is needed. I am so excited to see how things go. At Nibley there is also a new coordinator, Aimee, who is very happy to hear we have tutors waiting to come back for the year. She looks forward to the help and support in making the program successful for the students.
    I am happy to be of use to the Thayne center in working with tutors, helping with trainings and assisting lynne with anything i can for the America Reads Program!
    Chanel S

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  11. Yes, I selected the YMCA because I’ve always wanted to work with children and have always been interested in the organization. I have been a mother for 25 years and it has given me an abundance of experience in this field. I think the biggest challenge for me is working alongside defiant children. It’s something I have never had to deal with and have little experience with. I am most excited about making a difference in the children’s lives. If I can help out in any little way then I believe I have done my job.
    f-h

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  12. I've learned kids are smart as whips. So much so, it kinda freaks me out a little bit. I thought I would be the one teaching, but in reality, it's the other way around most the time. I work at the YMCA with the little ones (3&4) and I adore them. Most the time. Sometimes I want to throw them through a wall and then I take a step back and remember I'm the adult and they're 3. It's a good reality check. I think through my interactions with the kids, my adult inter-personal skills have improved. I'm definitely learning patience, which is something I could always use more of. My previous experience with children is nil. This is the first time I've ever been around kids and it's definitely a learning experience every day. I taught a kid how to swing. He may never remember I taught him, but it's something I will take with me forever. I've never taught a kid how to do anything. It was gratifying. That's been my experience thus far.
    mm

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  13. Being my first time in America Reads and working in the YMCA I have learned a lot. I learned that not all the children are going to have the same background, and that there will be a lot of things that could affect a child's day but it is good to be patient and if they want to take a little time to talk about it. Something I bring to America Reads community partner is that I speak Spanish.Something that surprised me is that all of the children at the YMCA treat each other as if they were a big family.
    -Jess

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    1. I agree with Jessica, the little ones treat each other as a big family. I enjoy to see the different personalities children have and their reactions other ones have. Children are fun.

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  14. This is my fourth year back as an America Reads tutor, and I started out this semester working at the YMCA, and then moved my tutoring to Nibley Park in September.

    I can say that I learned a lot about the YMCA while I was a tutor there. I was helping in the preschool classes since I couldn't be there during the tutoring hours. It was a different experience but it was nice. The teachers and the kids I worked with there were friendly and welcoming.

    Then at Nibley Park, I had tutored there previously for three years, and now with a new coordinator there, the atmosphere is different, but the job is still the same.

    The skills I bring to Nibley Park as a tutor is that I am experienced, and that helps for when new tutors come in, I can help them find supplies for when they tutor, which also means that I bring about knowledge. This is helpful for not only the new tutors, but also for the new tutor coordinator. I also, with working at Nibley Park for four years now can understand what a child needs that I tutor with; how to change my techniques to what works for each individual; and if I need to change my lessons to fit the child that is what matters most to me.

    What surprises me about myself is that I may be experienced and a returning tutor for four years, and yet, I STILL need room to grow. I am not perfect at what I do for each kid that I work with. There are still techniques/skills that I need to establish before I can call myself a professional. Does this make me humble? Yes, and that's the way I like it to be. When I go to work each day to help these kids, I do it for them, to help them, more then I do it for myself. These kids need our help and they develop a trust in those who are willing to work with them.

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  15. This is my first time working at the YMCA and I have worked at the Thayne Center office for the last 4 semesters. Since we are going to start working with another elementary that will be closer to me, I would like to see how is the environment at the YMCA and then transfer to the new elementary.
    Well one of my skills is that I have four children and I believe I know how to handle children. Something that surprises me about myself is that I had problems adjusting to be a child again. On my first day at the YMCA I felt kind of weird, maybe because I was not familiar being with too many little children at once and trying to satisfy all the children needs. My children ages are 4,8,12 and 17 you probably will ask why I'm telling you this but I didn't think it was going to be difficult since I have many children too, plus the children are someone else children and not my.
    On my first day the children were looking at me like, who is this? so then I decided to be a 4 yr old again in order to understand what were expecting about me and how to behave with them. The children were happy to have someone who would like to play with them and get to know.

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  16. Today was my first day as an America Reads tutor and one thing I learned is that most of the kid's that go to the YMCA come from different backgrounds and walks of life.

    Some skills that I feel I have is that I myself have a child in the range that I tutor so I sort of know that kids will be very attentive one minute and wild the next, so I know how to handle the less than perfect moments. I also feel that being persistant makes a huge impact on how the kids see me and if they see that no matter how difficult the challenge than I hope they won't give up on their goals later in life.

    One thing that really surprised me was how advanced some of these kids really were. I also thought it was very cool how the YMCA teaches the children sign language as well as syllables. I was also surprised to find that being a volunteer wasn't as easy as I thought it would be since some of the children were very headstrong and did not want to listen. However this doesn't change my mind in wanting to help the kids. -BNJ

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    1. I been at the YMCA for past couple week and what I learned that child love new stuff. It make me happy to see how much they learn. Playing with them and making sure to help them what they need.

      TN

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  17. I am currently volunteering at Redwood Elementary. It is so rewarding to work with the kids and see the progress they are making! There are some really wonderful kids there that love to read, and it is a privilege to help them increase their reading abilities.

    When I was younger, particularly in elementary school, I was not a very good reader. I remember in 3rd grade my teacher talked with my mom about how I was behind grade level in my reading and it had such an impact on me. I did improve through the years, but somehow felt behind my peers still when it came to reading. Due to these insecure feelings, I got discouraged and never really became much of a reader. Still to this day I am more likely to watch a movie than read a book. I think this started back in elementary school when I fell behind and got discouraged.

    I don't want this to happen with other kids that are also struggling to read. I think these experiences I had can have an impact on the way I approach working with these kids who are learning how to read. I can help them know that I used to struggle too, and that they will improve as they practice! I want to encourage and build them through the way I help them to learn how to read. I am surprised to see how much confidence has a huge impact on how willing a student is on working to improve. I want to help foster that confidence in children and help them truly succeed.
    Rikki Wilkin

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