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America Reads Needs More Malone Students

By Rigel LeClaire

Volume 67, No. 4

Tutor Caitlin Harris. Photo by Ellie Beckner

America Reads America Counts is a tutoring organization that takes place in the basement of the Everett L. Cattell Library. Every week Malone students have the opportunity to help younger students with their studies.

“[America Reads America Counts] was created to provide extra educational help to students typically in underserved communities,” Jen Vannest, director of academic support at Malone, said. “It provides free tutoring for one hour a week for community kids.”

The Clinton administration created America Reads America Counts to promote learning and to benefit learners who may be struggling in school. This tutoring program is controlled mostly by schools and their faculty with the federal government having a hands-off approach. 

America Reads America Counts is a community service program, which means learners and their families are not charged for participating. The tutors are paid for their services through the work-study program.

The learners are in grades one through six. While many are learners who are having a little trouble in class, some are working ahead of their grade.

“Right now I have a student who is way beyond her grade, and I usually just enrich her and give her some higher-level questions and build off of what she knows.” Jenna Greeneisen, a tutor and junior primary student education major, said. 

Learners and tutors meet one-on-one. The tutor and the learner talk on a personal level and get to know each other. This connection helps the learner absorb the information and helps the tutor know how to teach the learner.

There is an overabundance of learners. This issue is unfortunately compounded by a shortage of tutors. This has led to a waitlist filled with learners who are waiting to be tutored.

America Reads America Counts has mainly spread through word of mouth. Most teachers who know about the program tell the parents of a struggling student about the opportunity.

During a tutoring session parents or guardians are encouraged to stay on Malone’s campus. A tutoring session is only an hour long, and the library is open for the parents and guardians to pursue while their charges are being tutored. 

Malone University is a center point for the local America Reads America Counts program because it fits with Malone’s “Christ, Kingdom, Community” model of community service.

“I think it’s a great way to reach out to the community and give back,” Vannest said. “Also, it’s very beneficial to the children who need help in reading, as we help children in reading and math.”

Tutoring sessions take place Monday through Thursday. Monday-Wednesday hours are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Thursday hours are 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tutors do not need to stay for the entire time on a given day, and they also get to choose which days they will work.

A normal tutor session begins with the learner being handed off to the tutor and the parent taking a seat in the waiting area or going to roam the library. 

“We sit down, we kinda talk about their day, and then we ask ‘what do we have to work on today?’ they will pull our homework and we’ll go over that,” Machayla Kehrer, a tutor and junior exercise science major, said. “And then when we’re done we play a math game or go over a pop reading.”

There are different modalities that tutors use to help enhance the learning experience. An example of this multiple-modality approach is rolling dice and adding the numbers that come up. This dice exercise uses the kinesthetic, tactile, and visual modalities of learning.America Reads America Counts is helping the community through Malone, and both the tutors and the young students have a lot to gain by joining the program. If interested in becoming a tutor, contact Jen Vannest at jvannest@malone.edu.

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