A Competitive Edge

‘14-’15 K-3 Literacy Lab tutor, Hailey Hogan, shares how one of her most behind – and most competitive – students began to thrive with the Reading Corps model last year. 

When I began my year of service, I had no idea how much this experience would impact both my outlook on life and my character. Specifically as a tutor, I use modern literacy interventions while working with educationally and socioeconomically disadvantaged students in Washington D.C. Everyday I am learning more about the severity of the literacy gap in our education system and am more motivated than ever to serve these communities.

All my students have impacted me greatly; however, one student’s journey in particular has especially humbled me. When I first began working with my third-grade student, Philip, he was reading 70 words a minute with approximately 20 errors. He was a careless reader who often skipped lines and had limited expression. In addition, he had behavior issues and knew exactly how to press my buttons. My master coach, internal coach, and I decided to place Philip in the Duet Reading intervention due to his tendency to make small and silly mistakes while reading. However, we saw limited improvement early on with Philip and decided a change had to be made.

During my initial tutoring sessions with Philip, I noticed that he was a competitor. He was a very talented athlete and had a passion for winning. He was always competing against me whether it was racing to his classroom or trying to read faster than I. I brought this up in a monthly graph review meeting with my master coach and we made the decision to switch Philip’s intervention. We decided that the Repeated Reading with Comprehension intervention was ideal for Philip because it forced him to try and improve his word count and fluency after every read. Specifically targeting his competitive nature.
We noticed a significant improvement immediately after switching him to this intervention. Not only did his rate improve, but he also began to make less and less errors.

As time went on, I began to stress the importance of fluency to Phillip. I began to score him on his rate, accuracy and expression after every read. He found great fulfillment trying to improve his score and better his reading. I am happy to say that Philip is now reading well over 100 words a minute with minimal mistakes. In addition, he is one of my most expressive and passionate readers. It is not uncommon for Philip to come to our tutoring sessions explaining how he read a book last night to his grandmother for fun, or how he worked on his expression while reading his Read at Home homework.

I am very proud of Philip’s success and am so happy that I am able to witness his growth. I believe that Reading Corps has been instrumental to Philip’s success and has provided him with the foundation to improve upon his reading throughout his continued education.


*Student’s name has been changed to protect privacy