By Drew Saltzman, 2020-2021 Literacy First Tutor
While attending The University of Texas at Austin, and before my time as a Literacy First tutor, I volunteered with a program tutoring Austin middle school students in math. I recall one instance where they had a long packet of homework to finish before the end of the week. I asked the students to read me the problems, so that they could try to figure out what the questions were asking, and I could help guide them to the answer. Their math curriculum in 6th grade consisted of mostly long word problems. When I asked the students to read me the problems, they had trouble reading the questions and understanding the content. I was disheartened, because I didn’t possess the skills to teach these students in literacy, and as a math tutor, I didn’t feel like I was able to adequately help them realize their potential. That is right about the time I learned about Literacy First from a friend who had been an AmeriCorps tutor with the program. He told me he was teaching students to read, so they could participate fully and excel in the classroom. I was motivated to stay in Austin to join Literacy First after I graduated, which would allow me to continue working with students and see them progress and succeed. I am excited to begin this work with Literacy First, and I hope the students I tutor will feel fully prepared by the time they must read long paragraphs in middle school math.