Minnesota Reading Corps, a strategic initiative of ServeMinnesota, demonstrates the unique and powerful role AmeriCorps members can play in ensuring that a student’s teacher has both the data they need to direct instruction, as well as the supportive human touch for a child’s individualized tutoring to help students before they fail. AmeriCorps members use evidence-based tutoring practices to improve children’s literacy skills and provide teachers with useful ongoing assessment data. In its eighth year, Minnesota Reading Corps is significantly increasing the number of children on track to achieve reading proficiency by 3rd grade by partnering with school districts and pre-school agencies to deploy highly trained AmeriCorps members into educational settings. They implement literacy instruction that is grounded in the proven science of how young children, age three to grade three, best learn to read. In each school setting, members and staff receive monthly on-site expert coaching in using formative assessment data to inform instruction and literacy practice. This ongoing access to Master Coach expertise maximizes the learning benefits to children who receive targeted research-based interventions that address specific literacy skill needs. It also advances the systems change needed at these sites to adopt the whole school research-based reform aspects of the Reading Corps model by engaging partnering sites and their staff in professional development that improves their capacity to fully integrate a data-based problem-solving approach to improving early literacy outcomes. This is a winning combination for so many children who otherwise would have no safety net within the educational system.
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