rachel-decordobaJob Title/Company: Analyst at Environment International Ltd. (recent UW grad, B.S. Environmental Science & Resource Management)

Team Read Experience:
Reading coach for 3 years, 2008-2011 (Madrona and Leschi Elementary)
Ambassador for 1 year, 2010-2011 (Leschi Elementary)
Site Assistant for summer 2013 (Olympic Hills Elementary)

In 2008, my freshman year of high school, I began my journey with Team Read as a reading coach – my very first job. I initially applied because I wanted to share my love of reading with younger students, but over the next few years my experience grew beyond what I had previously imagined. I formed mentor/mentee relationships with several elementary students, sharing our hobbies and bits of our lives with one another, tackling tricky vocabulary, and inventing new reading games. After each session, my reading coach friends and I would debrief on the bus ride home, brainstorming everything from fun vocabulary worksheets to new methods for motivating students.

I was thrilled to join Team Read again in 2013 as a site assistant for the newly formed summer reading program. As the point of contact at Olympic Hills Elementary, I oversaw a dozen high school tutors and their student readers in two different classrooms. Each day began with a reading and vocabulary lesson from a teacher at the school, and I found myself so inspired by their teaching methods – the perfect balance of enthusiasm, humor, discipline, reflection, and organization. I have been able to incorporate both the skills I learned as a coach and those I observed in Olympic Hills’ teachers during my time in college and my current position as an environmental consultant.

Team Read has given me an open, supportive, and driven network within which to both help improve students’ reading skills and hone my own leadership and teaching skills. For that, I’m incredibly grateful, and I look forward to seeing how Team Read grows and touches more lives in the years to come.