Intern Spotlight: Gianna C.

Name: Gianna Cooper
Hometown: Orange, CT
College and Major: Quinnipiac University, Psychology
Tutoring Site: Science Park
Club: Arts & Crafts & All About Me
Favorite Childhood Book: Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Parks

When it came time to think about my summer work plans I knew I wanted to find
something impactful and inspiring. My friend shared her experience in volunteering through
New Haven Reads and thought the organization would be the perfect fit for me. Working with
children has always been a passion of mine but it was through this internship that I was given the opportunity to expand my knowledge and make a real difference in the lives of young learners. As an avid book lover myself, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to spark an interest in books and creativity for future readers.

From day one I was greeted by the staff with open arms and an abundance of advice from
experienced volunteers and educators. I was given new skills and techniques for teaching all
different types of students. This was especially helpful when I was tutoring a young girl with
high energy, in one of my first weeks at NHR. Recognizing this hyperactivity is important, but
displaying patience while trying out different strategies to allow the student to focus, is the key
to a productive session! For this student, I noticed that she loved to color, so I encouraged her to
use that creativity to color the pictures in the workbook after completing the given instructions.
For read-aloud, I thought it would be more beneficial to alternate reading and then use the
whiteboard to talk about what’s happening in the story. This not only helped with comprehension but allowed her liveliness to be used in voicing the expression of characters, drawing them on the whiteboard, and discussing what’s happening in the story in a more animated way.

Since these students struggle with reading, I’ve learned that it’s important to highlight their strengths and let them feel comfortable with making mistakes. I am so grateful to be a part of such an important mission and be a part of a child’s reading journey. So far, after my three weeks here I have gained the confidence to think on my feet and adapt while trying to find new ways to help a student learn and fall in love with reading. Thank you to the United Way and New Haven Reads for this amazing opportunity!