First Niagara Foundation Intern Blog Post: Hannah Johnson

unnamed1Name: Hannah Johnson

Hometown: Milford, CT

College and Major: Southern Connecticut State University,Collaborative Elementary and Special Education

Tutoring Site: Dixwell

Club: Math II and Drama

Favorite Childhood Book:  Owen, Chrysanthemum, and Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse all by Kevin Henkes


As I began my summer job search, I knew I wanted to try to find options where I would be working with students.Before applying, I had never even heard of New Haven Reads. After my interview, I knew I needed to be a part of it. Now, I tell everyone about this amazing organization. Just in my first few days here, I knew this was going to be so much more than just a summer internship. Every staff member is immensely kind, compassionate and thoughtful. I could tell immediately that New Haven Reads was going to help me grow in ways I could have never expected.

My day at New Haven Reads starts with club preparation and administrative tasks alongside my fellow interns. We are able to bounce ideas off of one another and help each other for lessons and clubs. I am so thankful to collaborate with others who want to create positive change in the ways that I do. Once 3 o’clock hits, New Haven Reads really comes alive. Students rush in for tutoring and clubs, eager to see their tutors and peers. Tutoring is definitely my favorite part of the day. I love that I get to tutor the same students every week and see their growth. But there is one tutoring session that sticks out in my mind as one I will never forget.

This was the first time I had worked with this particular student so I started the session by introducing myself and asking his name. He was very quiet and reserved; I could barely hear him speak. We began Lexia, an online program where students practice literacy skills, and he continued to keep to himself despite my efforts to ask him helpful questions or congratulate him on his work. Next, it was time to read. The student shuffled over to the bookshelf and quickly picked out “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss. He looked up at me and said “Can we please read this book?” It was the first full sentence he has said to me all session. I knew that this book was slightly above his reading level but I figured we could give it a try. The student opened up the book and began reading out loud. He flew through the first few pages as a smile began to form on his face. It got bigger and bigger until he was laughing so hard he was almost in tears. I was too.

We continued reading and sounding out words that were more difficult or silly. By the end of the session, we were talking like I had tutored him a hundred times before. This one story had completely changed this tutoring session for the better. This session really solidified our motto of “to share the joy and power of reading”. I left that day reminded of my extreme love for teaching and learning.

I would like to thank the First Niagara Foundation for supporting this unbelievable opportunity. Be aware! After your first experience at New Haven Reads, you will be hooked! This place is just something special.

Thank you to the First Niagara Foundation in partnership with Key Bank for generously funding six college-age interns at New Haven Reads this summer.


Categories First Niagara Summer Internship, News & Events | Tags: | Posted on July 27, 2018

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