Unlimited Joy

Interview with Laurie

K-3 Lead Literacy Interventionist

I have been with Reading Corps for three years, loving every minute, excited about every tutoring session, looking forward to witnessing students’ reading skills develop, grow, and soar.  My true calling is helping students reach their full potential and developing a special kind of respect for reading. And I made this discovery when I became a Reading Corps reading interventionist. The program has provided me training and reading interventions needed for effective reading support.  I believe in this program and would highly recommend it for struggling readers. The program is designed to help students become fluent readers while also building self-esteem by providing daily 20 minutes one-on-one individualized reading sessions. This allows the interventionist to observe and address each students personal needs. This personalized interaction help students build a trust worthy relationship with the interventionist and research has proven that children perform better with educators they trust.

I look forward to continuing my education, gaining skills that will help me become a better educator and motivator, Reworking towards learning as much as I can in the vastness of unlimited knowledge.  Not a day goes by that I don’t try to read something that helps me develop into a more knowledgeable, empathy and caring person. Reading, it’s really the key to most everything that means anything in life.  And this is something I desperately try to pour into my students.  As Roald Dahl says, “If you are going to get anywhere in life, you are going to have to read a lot of books.”

What initially inspired you to serve with Michigan Education Corps? I recognized that children were losing an interest in Reading. And with the Inner City children, reading was becoming nonexistent. Research shows it is a growing trend in Michigan. So when I saw that Michigan Education Corps was looking for reading interventionists to serve urban Detroit, I was moved to step in and try to make a difference. It is important for children to understand that learning to read is a powerful tool that can change the whole trajectory of their life. 

What skills have you developed or strengthened during your service term? The skill that I have strengthened the most is flexibility.  I have truly learned to be prepared for the plan to change. Before, when last-minute alterations entered my plan, it would truly throw me off track. However, being placed in Detroit Public Schools has taught me the art of flexibility.  I have grown and learned that being flexible is almost or more important than being super organized because in life you have to be prepared and ready for whatever comes your way.  

What brings you the most joy during your service days? When working with children, joy is always present.  It’s there in the children’s voices, the smile in their eyes when they see their reading growth. Joy appears when you tell a silly joke and the student laughs. Joy shows up when children get frustrated because learning to read can be difficult for some students but you assure those struggling that they are getting better and a tinge of hope comes back to the student. Joy fills the interventionist when the student expresses that they’re happy it’s the weekend but they are going to miss not reading with you.  Joy, how many times have Joy overwhelmed me because I am taking part in helping the students develop a positive relationship with reading. And I’m overtaken with joy because they are developing a positive relationship with reading and that’s joy at its finest.  

What strategies have you used to engage students and get them excited about Reading? One of the most important strategies I feel that helps most students develop excitement about reading is when the interventionist is excited. If you’re nonchalant and not engaged how can you expect them to be. They sort of follow your lead.  So each day I bring high energy and excitement to each session. Adding, students know when your heart is in it.  Again, when they know you are their number one fan, they usually try a little harder.  Also, stickers are an awesome motivational tool especially if students receive a trinket prize. Just getting something tangible really helps the student push themselves a little harder while giving tons of honest praise!

Has your service experience impacted you in unexpected ways? What has impacted me most is realizing how much I impact the student. It’s amazing that developing reading skills boost the child’s confidence and helps their self-esteem. Each little compliment, words of encouragement that are given day in and day out truly helps that child develop an extra dose of belief in him or herself.

Words are so powerful, written and when verbalized. We have to be so careful because everything we say pours into these little minds that absorb like thirsty soil. One of the biggest lies ever told is Sticks and stone my break my bones but name will never hurt me. But in reality, the wrong words can destroy a child’s life, forever.

How will you use your service experiences to achieve future goals? This experience is helping me develop skills that I plan to use when I become an Elementary school teacher. And it is because of this experience that I am choosing a teaching career. I want to create a learning environment that’s full of fire, energy, and passion, a passion for learning and loving, caring. I want students to learn that mistakes are not a bad thing.  I want students to question everything. I want a classroom that’s running over in creativity and innovation. I want to help students become independent thinkers and learn that being different is awesome.

Is there anything else you want to share about your service experience? This service experience has taught me how important it is to discover your genuine passion and follow that path because it is what God has instilled in you; it’s that nagging internal feeling that guides your direction. Some people go through life never learning their true purpose. So many lean towards careers based on income, believing that money will give security.  However, the real key to life is following the path that God has laid out for you. When you do this, God will fill you with a security that money can never ever supply. You will be overtaken by an unshakable peace, filled with an unlimited supply of joy.