By Rohan Kapur

I am currently in my third year working for Team Read. I have had the opportunity to work at many different Team Read sites; as a coach I worked online with readers at Rising Star, Leschi, and Dunlap and as a Site Assistant I worked at High Point over the summer and am currently at Maple Elementary.

I started coaching for Team Read in my sophomore year of high school after the program was recommended to me by one of my friends who really enjoyed it. I had some prior experience working with kids, but really wasn’t sure what to expect when it came to tutoring. Working one-on-one with a student, especially online, can be very daunting. It was a little stressful at first, but after a few weeks I became more comfortable running through the routine and working with students, and Team Read quickly became one of my favorite parts of the week.

The impact of Team Read on readers is measurable using data, but it is far more meaningful to observe it first hand. It is amazing as a coach to witness your reader steadily improving as the year goes on. When they are able to read at that level that was tripping them up before, when their reading becomes more fluent and expressive, when they get better at understanding the text. These are all things that as a coach I have been very fortunate to witness.

Team Read is a very valuable program because not only has it given me the opportunity to help others, but has also had a significant impact on my own life. It has helped me step out of my comfort zone and gain skills and experience that will be very useful moving forward in life. Working as a coach improved my communication skills through my interactions with students, fellow coaches, and superiors, and also gave me experience adapting to challenges in real time. As a Site Assistant I am working on improving my leadership skills.

Team Read has also taught me the importance of building strong relationships. Last year, I worked online with a student who would frequently get off task or refuse to read. This could be anything from him bouncing on the bed to riding around his room on a hoverboard. There wasn’t a magic teaching strategy that would get him on task; the solution was getting to know him. Building a relationship allowed my reader to understand my investment in his success and helped me become a more effective coach by allowing me to better understand his perspective. The strong connections built between coaches and students over the school year are in my opinion one of the best parts of the Team Read program.

As I enter the home stretch of my last year in high school, my time with Team Read is nearing its end. Looking back, I am incredibly thankful for the program and all the amazing experiences and opportunities I’ve had. I am sad to go, but am grateful for skills gained that will help me as I go to college and beyond. Team Read is an amazing program for both readers and coaches, and I am so glad that I have been able to be a part of it.

Rohan Kapur is a senior at Lincoln High School and is this year’s site assistant at Maple Elementary.