Igniting a Passion for Learning for Struggling Students
Miriam Farris is an AmeriCorps member and tutor with The Literacy Lab – Virginia Reading Corps program at Elizabeth Redd Elementary School in Richmond. Redd is a Title I school, which means that a high percentage of its students come from low-income families. Miriam reflects on a recent experience she had working with a struggling student.
“I serve fifteen students each day, some of whom are immigrants and English language learners (ELL),” explains Miriam. “My ELL students speak Spanish at home, and they rarely have the benefit of parental reinforcement when it comes to reading in English, which contributes to their struggles at school. I am both challenged and delighted to tutor ELL students and help boost their confidence.”
“One of my ELL students is a second grade boy who reads on a low first grade level. When the school year began, I intentionally chose passages that he could read with some level of success, but my attempts were still met with sullenness and frustration on his part. I knew he recognized individual letters and was able to blend letter sounds together, but these skills did not seem to transfer to reading words. I would encourage him to track with his finger as he read and to incorporate other skills like “sounding out” words, but my positive reinforcements were met with blank stares and what appeared to be a lack of effort.”
“After several weeks of little progress with an activity called duet reading, we changed to a program called Great Leaps. Great Leaps incorporates sound awareness assessments in addition to reading letters and words on the page. He is now “leaping” pages on a daily basis, and he sees his success in a tangible way by tracking his reading scores on a graph. The graph gives him ownership of his reading progress, and I can tell he is happier during our tutoring sessions. He also now greets me with enthusiasm whenever he sees me in the hallway and has generously shared his classroom artwork with me. He is still reading below the second grade level, but I believe his newfound confidence will carry him far by the end of the school year. Working with students like this extraordinary young man has reignited my own dreams to learn Spanish and become an ESL teacher.”
Story of Service: LIFT UP AmeriCorps Promotes Health
Carroll County LIFT UP AmeriCorps recently partnered with the CAVS after-school program at Carroll County Middle School to put on a Healthy Youth Day. Approximately 60 students participated in activities centered on exercise and healthy nutrition. Exercise leaders from the Carroll Wellness Center and nutritionists from the Virginia State Health Department joined forces with the CAVS staff and members for a Zumba session, outdoor recreational activity, smoothie station, and nutrition relay game. Members also volunteered as support staff at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic held at the Mt. Empire Airport in Smyth County on April 30-May 1. The RAM...
Sixth Grader Honors Dr. King
Story of Service: Sixth Grader Honors Dr. King
Serious Clydarius Pinchback, a sixth-grader at OT Bonner Danville Middle school, has a dream. He dreams of a world where we “will live in peace and harmony and respect each other” and we “will not have to feel the pain and anguish of war.” Showing wisdom and compassion beyond his 11 years, Serious was awarded the top prize for his submission to a MLK Day Essay Contest as part of a MLK Day Event, January 18, in Danville, presented by the Dan River Year AmeriCorps program. Serious’ essay made a strong argument of how wars could be avoided by working...
Story of Service: Kim Martin
Edward L. Weiner Esq.
Story of Service: Edward L. Weiner Esq.
Congratulations to Edward L. Weiner Esq. - winner of the 2020 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Senior Volunteer! Attorney Ed Weiner has combined his love for jazz and justice to raise much-needed revenue for music scholarships at George Mason University and for and supporting civil legal aid. Ed, who previously served as the past president of the Virginia State Bar and Fairfax Bar and presides over a highly successful annual Law Day event entitled “Weiner Roasts,” developed a special concert event and formed a nonprofit, Jazz4Justice, which has been replicated both within Virginia and across the country....
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Kids Give Back
Story of Service: Kids Give Back
Established as a nonprofit in 2019, Kids Give Back grew out of an afterschool club and a realization that there were not enough opportunities for children between 6 and 12 years old to volunteer. Since then, over 300 volunteers have completed over 3,000 volunteer hours, contributing over 2,000 in-kind donations in 2022. Youth are engaged in virtual volunteer events, Family Volunteer Days, Summer Volunteer Camps and more. Every project completed meets an identified need in the community, while inspiring the next generation of volunteers. Volunteer leaders and board ensure that students are actively engaged in projects that make a difference...