University of Michigan Student Is Author of the May 2006 'America Learns National Strategy of the Month'

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Reading tutoring strategy created by University of Michigan - Ann Arbor student to help thousands of tutors, mentors and parents worldwide.

America Learns announced today that University of Michigan student Sheena Darty’s tutoring strategy, “Story Scramble,” is the May 2006 America Learns National Strategy of the Month. Sheena’s strategy was selected out of hundreds to be highlighted by America Learns and distributed through its monthly newsletter to thousands worldwide.

Sheena, who is studying to become a History teacher, joined the University of Michigan America Reads Tutoring Corps because of her deep commitment to children's literacy issues. Sheena is also a member of Black Educators of Tomorrow, the first organization devoted to encouraging young black collegians at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor to join and thrive in the dynamic field of education.

"Through tutoring I have learned to take pride in the small victories and light bulb moments I experience with my tutees,” says Sheena. “Tutoring has brought so much joy and fulfillment to my life and I encourage others to become involved and have a positive impact in the life of a child."

Sheena’s strategy helps students increase their reading comprehension abilities by learning to retell stories they read. Students rearrange photocopies of three key illustrations from a story they just read and then use the illustrations as an outline to guide their efforts in retelling what happened.

“Sheena is an outstanding tutor in America Reads who has built on her skills and is now stepping up for leadership roles in the program,” said Rachel Rennie Klingelhofer, Associate Director, University of Michigan America Reads Tutoring Corps. “Her synthesis of the components of literacy that we train our tutors in is evident in her multi-faceted strategy. She is an asset to the program and I am excited to continue working with her.”

“Sheena’s strategy provides tutors, mentors and parents with an engaging, no short cuts option to help students boost their abilities to retell stories they just read,” said Gary Kosman, Founder an CEO, America Learns. “Building students’ skills to retell stories is a challenge that tutors and mentors we serve nationwide often struggle with. By sharing Sheena’s strategy on our public Web site and monthly newsletter, Sheena will be helping thousands of students and their tutors, mentors and parents worldwide.”

Sheena’s strategy may be accessed for the remainder of May at http://americalearns.net/strategy.htm, and will be permanently available to all America Learns Network members.

About America Learns, LLC (America Learns):

America Learns is the leader in helping nonprofit reading tutoring and mentoring programs provide superior support to their students, tutors, mentors and staff. America Learns’ primary service is the National Performance Measurement & Support Network (the “Network”), an easy to use, cost effective Web-based service that helps organizations streamline their reporting and evaluation efforts, build institutional memory, and provide personalized lesson planning and interpersonal skills support to tutors and mentors. Network members include City Year Chicago, America Reads – Mississippi, Dwight Hall at Yale, and the Cal Corps Public Service Center at UC Berkeley among others. In 2003, Echoing Green, the social venture capital organization that financially backed organizations including Jumpstart, City Year, Teach for America, College Summit and Citizen Schools, awarded two years of seed funding to America Learns out of an applicant pool of nearly 1,000 applicants worldwide. Additional information is available by calling 310-689-0542 or visiting http://www.americalearns.net.

About the University of Michigan America Reads Tutoring Corps (“America Reads”)

In the Fall of 1997, the University of Michigan’s Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning, its Office of Financial Aid, and its School of Education joined forces to form the University of Michigan America Reads Tutoring Corps. America Reads is committed to having all children reading well and independently by the end of third grade. By recruiting University of Michigan students to serve as tutors, America Reads gets students excited about reading, improves students' literacy skills, provides greater access to books and opportunities for reading with an adult, and supports literacy development at home. Beginning in September 2005 America Reads expanded from approximately 100 to 200 tutors thanks to a grant from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to expand the program. Each year more than 600 children in area schools receive reading assistance from America Reads tutors.

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