Team Read coaches and twin sisters, Aurielle and Danika, joined the program this year to earn community service hours, while also sharing their passion for reading and literature with young students. And, as we recently discovered, they are budding writers and illustrators! “They are super smart and creative,” says site coordinator Kristina. “Aurielle asked me if she could read her short story to her student during coach reading time. It was a great story!”

We asked Aurielle and Danika to share a bit about their experience as new coaches in Team Read and working online with 2nd-4th grade students:

How do you think you’ve made a difference through your work at Team Read? What is your proudest moment as a reading coach?

A: Having older kids tutor students one-on-one is really great and gives the students good practice and help reading. I think my proudest moment as a reading coach is probably when I get to hear students’ thoughts and opinions about the book, because both my students are awesome and it’s great that they think for themselves.

D: I try to build my students’ comprehension of English and underlying themes in a story. My proudest moments are when my students get the pronunciation of a word down, and when they think deeper about the story — analyzing and even questioning a character’s actions.


What have you learned through this experience?

A: I’ve gained some good communication and problem-solving skills.

D: I’ve learned a lot about the avoidance techniques kids use, and how to get back on topic.


What are some of the challenges and benefits of having the program online this year?

A: I think one of the challenges of having sessions online is that we don’t actually get to be in-person with our students, and there are certainly tech problems that have gotten in the way that we can’t do much about. On the flip side, we can spend less time commuting and more time on Team Read, and setup only takes a few minutes.

D:  Doing Team Read online means that I don’t have to figure out all the transportation logistics quite yet, making for an easier transition. A downside is, it’s a lot of screen time. Some of my students have basically been on a computer or their phone all day — and so have I, so it takes more energy to focus.


How has your passion for writing helped you in this role?

A: My passion for writing helped me in this role because it’s what made me want to write excerpts and little stories for my students once they finished reading through the sight word list. It also makes reading (and evaluating books) a lot more fun.

D:  I like to write in my free time mainly because I love escapism. That’s also one of the reasons I love reading — because once you get to the point where you comprehend the story, you can take a book to the next level, where you’re envisioning everything that’s happening in your mind’s eye. I think that because I write and read so much, I have more to offer tutoring my students on vocabulary, a book’s themes, and critical thinking.

Check out some of their writing and illustrations here.