Team Read was thrilled to have two TIPS interns working with us to deliver a successful summer reading program this year. Teens in Public Service (TIPS) is a nonprofit that selects teenage leaders for paid community service internships and pairs them with charitable organizations over the summer.

The summer reading program employed 48 coaches who worked with 137 readers over 4 regional sites drawing from 19 schools. TIPS interns Aden Tessema and Chelsea Chen supported the program in several ways, including highlighting Powerful Pairs at each site, developing and leading enrichment lesson plans and sessions, and observing and supporting sites. The interns also did project work for Team Read staff and presented a summary of what they learned at the end of the program. Here’s what Aden and Chelsea said about their experience working with Team Read, in their own words.

Developing enriching and exciting lesson plans

CHELSEA: “I learned how hard it is to create a lesson plan that is both engaging and educational … including exciting content helped me keep students engaged. I also learned how to be more clear and concise with my leadership and instruction.”

ADEN: “I learned how to apply feedback in the right way … we met every Friday with Sandy, our manager, and Laura, our enrichment leader, to go over the week. I had a lesson plan that had to do with alliteration and animals … alliteration was a concept that not a lot of the readers understood immediately. In the second week, I was able to provide a better example of alliteration, and I think it went really well.”

Some of their favorite Team Read memories and experiences

ADEN: “My favorite part of Team Read this summer was the overall special bonds that were created between each coach and each reader and to see how strong these bonds were … a lot of the readers want to be paired with the same coach next (school) year.”

CHELSEA: “A surprising thing that I really enjoyed doing was leading professional development and teen community building. I was able to watch coaches connect with each other and make each other laugh as well as create a deeper connection with their site coordinator. We did an activity where people shared fun facts and then everyone tried to guess who the fun fact was about … there was great connection and people were learning more about each other, and that was really fun.”

How working with Team Read broadened their perspective

ADEN: “I changed my perspective on education inequalities and how they play a role in limiting students from actually being able to reach their full potential. I think it’s important that Team Read is able to highlight the importance of closing education gaps early on to prevent academic struggles later on.”

“I saw how it’s important to have youth leading youth … being able to see the coaches and how their confidence grew, Team Read really highlighted that well.”

CHELSEA: “One of the biggest things that struck me was that a lot of the readers didn’t speak English as their first language. I realized how difficult it must be to read when you’re not necessarily immersed in that language … I really gained a new respect for everyone who learned how to read when English was their second language.”

“Team Read impacts students in incredible ways … it’s really life-changing for students to have a single tutor dedicated to their learning, someone cheering them on as they gain confidence in their reading. I also saw a big impact with a lot of teen coaches becoming more confident in themselves and their leadership skills.”

Their biggest takeaways

CHELSEA: “Reading is an incredibly important skill and never should be taken for granted. And the idea that it’s hard for some students to learn how to read and they might need extra support outside of school. Team Read makes such a huge difference in these readers’ lives. At their age, just having the extra support for reading skills truly sets them up for success throughout the rest of their lives.”   ADEN: “It’s so important to provide support and create an encouraging environment where readers can grow and be challenged. Team Read creates that environment where readers feel included, and all their improvements were highlighted and encouraged by their coaches.”