AmeriCorps in Action

Engaging Students to Become Better Readers

Ginny always wanted to work in a school, but worried she wouldn’t be qualified. With no formal education degree or licensure, her dream felt far away. By a stroke of fate, she found Reading Corps. 

“I was looking on the district website, and I just wasn’t hitting anything that worked,” she says. “Then the first thing that came up when I looked for part time educational opportunities was AmeriCorps. I started reading, and I was like, ‘This is too good to be true.’ It was like fate’s way of saying, ‘You’ve always wanted to work with kids. This is your chance to do it.’” 

Ginny worked for the Minnesota Department of Transportation and related consulting firms for 30 years before she joined Reading Corps. She has a history of finding ways to do good outside of her career, having served as a volunteer for Junior Achievement and for some of the youth groups at her church. She considered changing careers a few times before but didn’t have the time to go back to school or earn the certifications needed to pursue her passion. 

AmeriCorps has been the perfect opportunity for Ginny to become a part of a school community while also learning the skills needed to break into education. Tutoring one-on-one or in pairs, she creates meaningful relationships with students and helps them grow. 

“I can really make a connection with them,” she says. “It excites me to see them respond in a way that they’re like, ‘Tell me more!’ To be able to share more with them and keep them excited about something is really rewarding to me.” 

Ginny tutors a variety of students at her school, each with their own needs and perspectives. She has to get creative to figure out what will capture their interests. 

“I have two first grade girls, and they’ve been doing pretty well, but they’re just kind of struggling to close that last little gap,” she explains. “We’ve set some goals, and I said to them a couple weeks ago ‘If you get this, I’ll do a crazy dance for you.’ And so they did it, and I did my crazy little dance! It’s just fun when I see them challenging themselves, and it’s a challenge to me to find out what’s that thing that’s going to motivate and excite them.” 

Now nearing the end of her first school year as a tutor, Ginny has simply loved it. She has particularly enjoyed taking Reading Corps training courses, where she can deepen her knowledge of educational interventions. Ginny has ample experience with these kinds of programs at old jobs and has found Reading Corps’ to be among the most engaging. 

“I’ve been through a lot of training; I’ve developed training programs for people.  AmeriCorps has some of the best training that I’ve experienced,” she says. “Everything has been really, really well done.” 

Ginny has already signed on to return as a tutor for the fall and plans to continue to serve for each of the four years AmeriCorps allows. In addition to a stipend, Reading Tutors also earn an education award that can be applied to college tuition or student loans. Ginny plans to use hers to further her education. As she gains experience and continues to build her skills, Ginny has her next step in mind. 

“I’ll use that education award to continue my training and hopefully position myself to continue doing something in the school after I’m done with my four years of service,” she says. “It’s a really wonderful way to allow people like me to do what I want to do, but also a really great way to get to know people in your community and to stay in touch with a whole new generation of people who are growing up.” 

Thank you, Ginny, for your first year of service! We are so excited to have you back for the 2024-25 school year. 

We’re still looking for more people to join Ginny and become Reading Tutors! Interested? Visit to learn more and apply. 

Skip to content