The Ohio Reading and Math Corps is a statewide AmeriCorps program that engages 120 AmeriCorps Members who provide math and reading intervention for students in kindergarten through grade five who have not met grade-level proficiency. Members help the students achieve grade-level reading or math proficiency and/or demonstrate one year of growth in reading or math achievement. Read reflections from AmeriCorps members Dwayne Wampler and Karen Krzyzanowski about the impact that their service is making in the lives of their students. Dwayne Wampler, 3 rd Year AmeriCorps Member This is my third year of service and my first year of really working with Kindergarteners. I have been working with a young boy since October. This young student never attended any preschool and was way behind the other students in his class. The first day he came to work with me he did not know any letters of the alphabet nor any letter sounds. He tried and was a hard worker but things were all new to him. I tried many different tools and ideas to try to bring him along and help get caught up to fellow classmates. He seemed to think all my ideas were, in his words, “boring.” Then one day I wrote all the letters on little cards and put a magnet on the back. I gave him a fishing pole with a magnet on the string. The letters were face down on the table so all he could see was the magnet. The idea was for him to catch a letter and turn it over and, in order for him to get a point, he had to be able to say the letter name and the sound. He loved the game and each day he would score more points. He could see the progress he was making on his daily chart. He looked at me and said, “I'm going to get them all!” He has made excellent progress and know he know 17 of the 26 letters and sounds. He never quit! Karen Krzyzanowski, 4 th Year AmeriCorps Member Last year I worked with three second grade students on their writing skills. They each had a writing journal that they slowly filled with first drafts and final drafts of writing pieces on many different topics. As the year progressed, these students became more confident in their writing skills and were able to write longer sentences. They were able to write well-developed paragraphs for their stories and reports. My group kept asking when they would be able to take their journals home and I was looking forward to letting them do that at the end of the year. Then, in March, suddenly schools were closed and I had to quickly pack up all my teaching materials and take them home. I didn't have a chance to send anything home with any of my students so I saved work samples and books and journals, hoping to be able to return them later. This fall I was able to come back to my same school. Thankfully, this school is able to have in-person learning. My second-grade group is now in third grade and I have the opportunity to work with that teacher. One day, not long after I started going in to the school, I brought the journals into the classroom and handed them to each of those students. Their eyes lit up as they leafed through the pages of their journals. They had a little piece of history from their second-grade year and were able to see how their writing skills improved through the year. I'm so glad I was able to give them their journals and to help them grow as writers. I look forward to seeing how much more they'll grow in their writing this year. Learn more about the Ohio Reading and Math Corps and all other Ohio AmeriCorps programs here.