Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

Hamline Elementary News

Posted on 08 October 2018 by Calvin

Community Partner Spotlight: Reading Partners

Hamline Elementary is home to the largest Reading Partners program in St. Paul serving nearly 60 students last year.

Reading Partners starts with a simple, powerful belief that all students are 100% capable and have the desire to succeed in reading. Their program offers an extra scoop of reading help during the school day—one-to-one support, for 45 minutes, once a week, with the same tutor all year long.

Photo right: An inviting and comfortable space has been created for the volunteers and students in the Reading Partners program. (Photo provided)

Students are referred by the school principal or classroom teacher and are assessed by Reading Partners to determine their reading level and direction for skill-building. Students may be anywhere between 6 months to two-and-a-half years behind, so Reading Partners volunteers are trained to provide extra help with everything from phonics to comprehension.

This personalized, one-to-one approach is one of the best ways for students to make gains in reading and is an invaluable asset to Hamline’s literacy program.

Reading Partners also takes a personalized approach at their sites; at Hamline Elementary, they organized training sessions for Hamline University students who work in Hamline Elementary classrooms, so they are prepared to provide robust literacy support for all elementary students.

Hamline Reading Partners Site Coordinator Marissa Heim (photo left provided), a passionate literacy advocate and future educator, sees the good working happening in the program every day.

She observes that as a student’s confidence grows, so does their willingness to try. “The relationships are key; they build trust, and soon students know that this person is here to support them. That changes everything,” Heim said.

Heim’s favorite part of her job is working with the kids; she loves their creativity, their conversations, and their eagerness to participate in Reading Partners. “The kids are always so excited to see their tutors—to see me!—and that enthusiasm keeps them coming back not only to learn but to connect. That’s why it works.”

Heim would like to see the program at Hamline grow to 65 students this year and with a team of committed volunteers already signed up, that goal is within reach.

The team of Reading Partners volunteers at Hamline Elementary include many neighbors and Hamline University students; Heim hopes to encourage more young professionals in the community to become volunteers, citing the value of mentorship and connection with people of all ages and all walks of life.

Heim has created a beautiful and comfortable space (photo right provided) for students and volunteers to work together and routinely participates in school programs and activities outside of her Reading Partners duties; for these reasons, and so many more, she is an important and beloved part of the Hamline community.

To learn more about the Reading Partners program in the Twin Cities, check out readingpartners.org/location/twin-cities. To find out how to get connected to the program at Hamline Elementary, contact Heim at marissa.heim@readingpartners.org.

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