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Service Learning - Intro + Awarding Children


I am working as a tutor at Bethlehem Community Center's Homework 'n Hoops. I work alongside a few other U of M students as well as volunteers from around the community. Each tutor has one student that they are assigned to work with. I go every Tuesday and work with a second grade girl named Stephany. The day generally consists of hearing the announcements for the day, working on homework for about an hour and fifteen minutes, and then half an hour of free-time. During homework time, the child works on any homework they have from school. If they don't have any homework, they are provided with a variety of books as well as work packets covering subjects from reading and writing to different levels of math.

The children are then awarded for reading books and completing packets. They are also awarded for many other activities they complete. These awards turn into points to be written in their checkbook and used to buy prizes at a later date. From what I can see, this is a very productive way for getting children to complete their work. Part of me thinks that children shouldn't always have to be rewarded because in the real world, that will not happen. Many of these children though, are from families or communities that don't necessarily notice the work they are doing or effort they are putting in, so it is good that they are getting praised when coming to Homework 'n Hoops. It seems that the students really enjoy being rewarded and counting their points. This helps them with other skills as well like math, and even learning how to use a checkbook at a young age. My student, Stephany has been focusing alot on reading. We have been reading two or three books each time I work with her and after only a few weeks I see some improvement. It is amazing how quickly small children can learn. It is exciting for me to see this progress.