Retirees Help a New Generation Learn to Read

Updated: 05/01/2014 7:32 PM
Created: 04/22/2014 2:01 PM
By: Todd Wilson

Carol Collins goes through a writing lesson with Jemiah, a first-grader at Lyndale Community School in Minneapolis.

For four years, Collins has walked through the doors of the school with a purpose. She says her goal is to open eyes and improve young minds.

"And it's been very interesting, very fun, very satisfying," she said.

Collins volunteers several days a week through an AARP program called "Experience Corps." The goal is greater gains in sounding out new words and reading comprehension in kindergarten through third grade. The program is in five schools in Minneapolis and six in St. Paul. Teacher Steven Russett says their help is priceless.

"I know that they're going to be self directed and bring their personal experiences and that's an invaluable asset to my room," he said.

That wisdom is not only helpful to him but his students.

Collins says she didn't know anything about Lyndale other than it was built in a circle before she started. Now, the school, the kids, the program, they fill her day. 

"It gives you a sense of purpose," she said.


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