Monday, August 17, 2009

What I Do

This month I started my training to be a K-3rd grade literacy tutor through the Minnesota Reading Corps (MRC)*. I'm placed at an elementary school within the Saint Paul Public School system (SPPS for short). The focus of the MRC is to get children to be sufficient readers by the third grade. We start by doing benchmark tests to see if students are where they should be along the lines of words they can read correctly per minute, letter sounds, phoneme blending, etc. Once the tests are administered, I'll be working with an internal coach to determine which students are eligible to receive MRC help. One of the biggest goals we have is to take the children that would benefit from help—i.e. the ones who are just below the proficiency marks. This means that instead of tutoring the kids who have the lowest scores first, we take the students that will be back on track within a few weeks of interventions. This can be a controversial concept because it seems to neglect the ones that need our help the most. The defense of this argument is twofold 1) the students who are doing the worst should qualify for title 1 funds that lend themselves to special education teachers, etc. and 2) the students who are just barely at the proficiency line will NOT receive help from any other organization—the ones that are so close to success are usually overlooked, but generally stay on the same below-proficient trajectory all through school.

So....shmanyway...In training I learned different ways of helping these kids that we would have chosen for the program. Most of it involves sounding out letters, words, and doing fluency practice with more advanced readers. I've decided that I want to get my friends drunk and practice the literacy interventions on you think they'll comply? One of the frustrating things is that I have to keep to the script while doing the interventions. This is due to the fact that each intervention is based on extensive research that has been proven effective year after year—it makes sense, I'm just bad with scripts.

I came home exhausted from training and ended up sitting bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night. It took me a run in the 90 degree weather, pages and pages of East of Eden, and reorganizing my papers to finally relax enough to sleep through the night.

*This blog in no way represents the views of the MRC, MLC, SPPS, or Americorps.

1 comment:

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