America Reads at Penn State Seeks Students for Work-Study Positions
by Joe Savrock (May 2011)
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Federal work-study positions are currently available for Penn State students who are interested in having a positive influence on children.
America Reads at Penn State is looking for college students to serve in schools, child-care centers, and other community nonprofit organizations. The America Reads program provides support to teachers, caregivers, parents, and librarians in order to enhance children’s language learning and reading. The program not only gives college students an opportunity for part-time employment, but it also provides them with a rich service learning experience.
America Reads is a federal initiative that calls on Americans—including education institutions, businesses, citizens, families, and college students—to help children with language and learning. College work-study students have played a vital role in the initiative.
Since its inception in 1997, the America Reads program at Penn State has hired, trained, and placed thousands of University students who have provided literacy support to children throughout the Commonwealth. Penn State’s Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy (ISAL) coordinates America Reads at Penn State with Jane Kone, assistant director in the University’s Office of Student Aid. Kone is the program’s financial aid representative.
Maria Marvin, acting America Reads coordinator and ISAL education program associate, said, "The community service element makes this is a very rewarding experience for college students.”
The participating students concur. “Working with kids is the most rewarding activity I have ever done and is part of the reason I want to become a teacher,” said Jasmine Walwer, a freshman majoring in elementary education. “The kids I worked with at St. Paul's were great and always made me smile.”
Alicia Owen added, “Even though my major involves working with high school-age students, America Reads was a great opportunity to explore a different level of education. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Montessori preschool. It made me consider getting dual certification in both secondary and early childhood education.”
Students of any major are welcome to participate. Leanne McConnell, for example, is a junior majoring in civil engineering. She noted, “I do not think of this as my job because there is never a dull day working with kids. I see this as more of an opportunity to help and mostly be helped. The greatest skill I have learned is patience.”
Another participating student, Megan Warner, is majoring in kinesiology, health and physical education with a minor in special education. ”This experience is definitely something that has and will continue to help me in my major,” she said. ”I absolutely love every moment that I spend with the children at Easter Seals—there is never a dull moment.”
America Reads participants earn $10.00 per hour. They may work up to 20 hours per week when University classes are in session, and up to 40 hours when classes are in recess. Work hours are flexible.
Applications are open to students enrolled in any major at all Penn State campuses, as well as students enrolled through the World Campus. In addition, students with summer work-study awards can find placement sites close to their homes.