The Youth Literacy Program wrapped up an 8-week summer program, Igniting Superhero Readers, in August! Twenty-six interns, young adults in the Asheville community, supported elementary students with 1:1 literacy instruction. Over 75 students participating in the Youth Transformed for Life and Christine W. Avery Learning Center summer camp programs received tutoring services to strengthen literacy skills and a love for reading! Read some of the comments from the Youth Literacy summer interns.
What was the most challenging part of being a tutor, and what was the most rewarding?
“Keeping kids’ attention was a struggle, as well as being able to handle emotional outbursts. The most rewarding part for me was when I listened to one of my kids read a book – it was like magic watching her put together a story and comprehend it.”
“The most challenging part of tutoring was when one of my students wouldn’t even come to sit down with me to read or play a game. The most rewarding part was meeting kids in my community; they made me laugh every day, and having conversations with them was always interesting.”
Please give a few examples of ways in which you saw growth.
“The ability for my younger student to start to put together words better was a big deal, and my second student flew through “I Am Enough” and began to radiate the same energy the book had. When they both began to ask me to do the workbooks, I knew they had grown.“
“My student once told me in the most adorable and goofy way, “I can’t read!” but towards the end, when we got farther in his lesson book, he was reading the lines of words very well and could also write words after I say them. Finishing the post-assessment made me proud because I’ve seen my student working hard and I could tell his skills improved.”
“Z. started sounding out words he didn’t know on sight. This was an amazing breakthrough. I was blown away by him. It was so rewarding to watch his self-esteem grow.”
What do you feel you gained through this internship (in addition to the salary)? What did you learn or experience that is important to you?
“I feel that not only did I gain an amazing bond with these little kiddos, but I also gained a new sense of patience and gentleness for them. The two boys I worked with were in the foster care system. Honestly, it broke my heart because the world would look at them as a troubled youth, but in reality, they are going through things that most can’t imagine. They taught me to attentively listen; they also taught me that even though I have a job to do, some things are more important– like having a conversation with someone who cares.”
“I gained a better understanding of how kids struggle with reading skills and how beneficial one-on-one tutoring can be. I also learned how much power words can have and how negative or positive self-talk can make a huge difference in a student’s attitude and perception of what they think they are capable of.”
“This internship provided me with a new perspective that I didn’t have before. I got to interact with people from my community, how to better communicate with others, and how kids learn and are treated in educational environments will affect them for the rest of their lives. Interacting with the kids was my absolute favorite part; seeing them gain confidence in themselves and watching them grow and have fun while doing it was the best feeling in the world.“
“I gained a better understanding of how the passion for reading begins and a new appreciation for patience.”
How will this internship contribute to your goals for the future?
“Right now, I’d love to become a librarian. Libraries are the centers of our communities. I’d love to be able to sponsor community events and programs like these in whatever profession I enter. This experience will not only help me now and allow me to gain even more experience as I finish high school and college, but it’s also something that I will never forget as I move into the future.”
“I plan to use this internship to give myself a solid background whilst pursuing a career in adolescent psychology. I also plan to continue doing it and may try to find similar programs wherever I go, knowing that I have the proper background.”
“I can’t say for sure that I see a future with me working kids as a profession, but I loved this experience and will do it again as long as it is available for me to apply for in the summer. I don’t want to necessarily work with kids, but I want to work for kids. I am a criminal justice major, navigating my way through undergrad to become a lawyer.”
“I have always loved reading. I love sharing that passion with others and discussing books with others. To be able to aid a child’s literacy growth has been an amazing experience for me as a book lover. This will contribute to my goal to continue inspiring others to read and encouraging others’ passion for reading.”
“While I don’t plan on working with kids for my career someday, this internship taught me how to be more fun and creative. It also taught me how important it is that kids (and adults alike) believe they are capable of conquering challenges and doing things that may not come naturally to them.“
“This internship will help me realize that I want to be a teacher in the future.“
“This internship contributed to my goals in the future because it has always been my dream to help POC children in the community. I always wanted to be the inspiration I wanted as a kid, and I feel like I have done that with this internship.”