Meet our Tutors

Minnesota Reading Corps tutors come from all walks of life and join for many different reasons. They experience growth that can redefine their lives -- and the lives of the children they serve. Here in their own words, our tutors share the rewards, challenges and growth they experience through their service.

Jennifer Wiechman

The successes I've seen in the children I work with are so rewarding.  The training and support has been incredible. But what I enjoy the most are the hugs I get from the children every day. Even if I don't see immediate success, I know I'm planting the seeds that will blossom down the road.  The best part of my day is when a child finally "gets it" and the look on they get on their face when it all comes together. 

Katelyn Dokken

I had the idea that I wouldn’t run into as many socioeconomic issues in a small city, but I understand now that the literacy problem is not uniquely an urban issue. AmeriCorps members are needed everywhere in the state. There are issues that need to be solved no matter where you are located and I’m glad to be able to devote a few years to doing that. 

Carissa Carroll

Forming a relationship with my students this year has been one of the joys of my service with Minnesota Reading Corps. Each day, I strive to spark their active curiosity as we read together. Reading is marvelous for a curious child.

Ariel Ward

Upon graduation, I wasn't sure what to do with my B.A. in Psychology. Now, I’ve been serving with Minnesota Reading Corps for five months, and it was the best decision of my adult life. A year of service looks great on my resume, and it could be the push I need to afford grad school. Regardless, I’m sticking around for one reason: what I do, and who I help, is pretty fantastic.

Briana Gruenewald

Being a Reading Corps literacy tutor has given me a deep sense of purpose.

Parent Quote

Our Reading Corps [tutor] has made this first year of school so much better for my little guy. She's helped him get over his fear of reading, writing, and drawing in ways a classroom teacher wouldn't have time to do. Thanks for all you do; it can make a big difference in kids' lives.

Jake Klis

Reading Corps has been a great start to life after college. I am in an awesome environment that is super supportive, which makes it a joy to come in every day. I look forward to every day because I know that the kids will always have something to say that will put a smile on my face.

George Ochoa

Working with my students has allowed me to grow both professionally and personally. I strive to be a role model for my students and constantly reinforce the belief that education is the key to opportunity. Many students become great readers because of the efforts of Minnesota Reading Corps members like myself. There is nothing greater than seeing a student who has no desire to read develop into one of your best students and gain skills that will open doors for future success.

Lark Flynn-Lippert

Two years ago I became unemployed. As a worker over 50, I was not optimistic about my job prospects.  Moreover, I wasn’t eager to re-enter the corporate world.  Inspired by my daughter’s AmeriCorps service, I’m now in my second year as an Elementary Literacy Tutor, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Victoria Pies

One of the biggest ways I am making an impact is in helping to end the achievement gap. I work with students from a lower economic status, and the students have experienced many events in life that have interrupted their learning. I am able to show these students that they can become good readers and great learners even despite circumstances. 

Keven Tell

If one thing could be said about an elementary school, there is never a dull moment. Even if I have a rough day here and there, it’s still the most fun I’ve had working in my life. I’ve seen a lot of growth with the students. One student of mine jumped 5 reading levels in the first 3 months we read together, improving his comprehension and fluidity. Skills like these will be important in any future endeavors, and I’m just happy to have had a helping hand in increasing their chances of succeeding in life. 

Caroline Buechter

I knew after my first year working as a Minnesota Reading Corps tutor that I had to return for a second year.  I have seen incredible growth in the reading skills of the students that I have had the opportunity to work with.

Liz Roemer

There may not be a short answer to why the achievement gap happens. But there is a short answer to whether anything can be done to eliminate it. Yes. I see very real progress being made every day simply by serving with the Minnesota Reading Corps.

Ellen Tomson-Moylan

For more than 25 years, I worked as a journalist. I decided it was time for me to make a change in my life. I still wanted work that involved communicating, spreading knowledge and, hopefully, helping people improve their lives. Now I am inside a classroom where the proud little faces of lively 4- and 5-year olds remind me of how thrilling it can be to learn and write the letters of the alphabet.

Amy Callaghan

Meeting with the same students every day gives me a unique advantage to monitor their growth as readers and individuals.  I have seen amazing amounts of improvement in every student I tutor. At the rate my students were reading at the beginning of this school year, they would have slowly but surely fallen behind their peers with no sign of stopping. Being a member of Minnesota Reading Corps is a realistic and data-proven way to help get Minnesota’s children back on track with reading.

Julia Khadar

It brings joy to my soul to see how far the children have come. I am currently in school for an education degree and I have gained additional training from Reading Corps to help me prepare for my career. I have young children of my own and I use the skills learned to improve their reading skills. 

Pa Thao

The relationships that I have built with my students have made this one of the best experiences of my life. This fall, I will be pursuing a dual degree in Public Policy and Social Work.

Clara Owen

As a Minnesota Reading Corps member it is important for me to remember not only the success, but also the struggle.  Seeing so many kids struggle so hard every day you can feel defeated by the size of the problem.  As Dr. Martin Luther King said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” As Reading Corps members we are not being silent.  Until all children have a fair chance to succeed we cannot have true equality. 

Will Braun

Actually experiencing the achievement gap was a shock, and it gave impetus to my tutoring. I could pick up a kindergartner who knew three letters sounds, and a month later, the same little guy would know twenty. I had observable evidence that my tutoring was helping that kid become the better reader he wanted to be.