This October, 650 NYU students finished their training and began assisting at 72 underserved New York City public schools through the America Reads, America Counts program.
America Reads, America Counts trains students to provide teacher assistance and direct tutoring in elementary and intermediate schools. While the program exists in locations around the country, NYU's chapter has been the nation's largest university-sponsored America Reads/America Counts group since 1996. Now in its 17th year, the NYU program has provided more than 1.75 million hours of literacy assistance to more than 18,750 children, and made a profound contribution to education in New York City.
It has also made a profound difference to the lives of countless NYU students.
"Serving as a tutor at Isaac Newton was a humbling experience for me," said NYU student Ofiong Okon at the end of the most recent school year. "I developed a higher level of patience and compassion for the students I worked with in the classrooms. It reinforced my desire to continue working with vulnerable populations to help contribute towards the greater welfare of our community. Through this opportunity, I also developed a stronger respect for teachers that work in inner city schools here in NYC."
Other students agreed. "America Reads has been one of the most enlightening experiences of my life," said Shraddha Bhatia; Kenneth Abeyratne added "I cherish the opportunity to work with kids who were really struggling and trying to help them succeed."
For Emily Young, the program changed her life entirely. "America Reads was an incredible experience for me [and] I am now a NYC Teaching Fellow through which I will be teaching children with special needs this year. My work through America Reads/America Counts truly inspired me to become a teacher. I Loved it!"
The NYU America Reads/America Counts program is operated within the Office of Civic Engagement and works closely with the Office of Field Projects within the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.
"This program gives me the chance to give back to those teachers and my community ... I would strongly recommend this program to any who would be interested in indulging in such a rewarding and extraordinary experience." - Talha Naeem
"After meeting and spending great time with these bright, open, and thoughtful students, I made it my personal goal to prove to them with my actions that everyone has the potential for growth." - Amber Poon
America Reads is a great program that allows students to get outside tutors and an adult presence other than their teacher. Having tutors in the classroom helps the teacher be more efficient and get more work done. -- Christian Lowery
America Reads, America Counts has been an amazing program for me, and hopefully, for the children I've worked with. The program fosters encouraging relationships with children who struggle in school and in my opinion, helps to provide them with positive role models. For some of these students, this is somewhat rare. -- Nabiba Hossain
I had an amazing experience while working as an America Reads tutor. I've learned so much about working within a classroom setting and also about students who come from underprivileged areas. I was very fortunate to work within a positive school setting and to also have a great teacher. -- Toriea McCauseland
I truly enjoyed my experience all four years doing America Reads. I gained a new respect for teachers and love for children... I hope to carry all my lessons learned during America Reads for other community initiatives. -- Royce Dunmore