Through the support of an AmeriCorps grant awarded to Grinnell College, the Grinnell Education Partnership places a cohort of AmeriCorps Members in host sites across Grinnell, Iowa to support summer learning efforts. This is a testimonial from one of the AmeriCorp Members who served at SLICK (Summer Learning is Cool for Kids), a summer school program hosted by the Grinnell-Newburg School District.
One of my reasons for wanting to serve as an AmeriCorps member in the Grinnell Education Partnership was to share the joy of reading and learning with children. Growing up, it took me a few years to really appreciate how reading can change my perspective as an individual and connect me with the world.
Throughout my AmeriCorps service, I spent many mornings helping children learn how to read and some afternoons introducing children to different subjects such as chemistry and physics by helping them complete experiments. Although some of the children were perhaps too young to really understand why certain liquids are better for cleaning pennies than others, they enjoyed being able to try out new things.
Yet of all the experiences I've had with children, one that will stay with me is watching one child move from reading easy, thin books, to reading challenging, long chapter books. I believe this child was capable of reading chapter books from the start of the program, but was intimidated by the size of the book to begin reading. Once they read a few easy books and gradually transitioned into reading harder books, this child gained the self-confidence to start reading chapter books. They shared that they were bored with easy books. This child learned that challenges can be fun and they began to have more faith in themselves. Witnessing this child's growth was one of the most meaningful experiences of this program.