Bessie Foster – AmeriCorps Works!

Volunteer Florida administers AmeriCorps funding for high-impact service organizations across Florida. Florida’s outstanding AmeriCorps members have taken the pledge to “Get things done for America” and Volunteer Florida is proud to highlight a Polk County AmeriCorps member making a difference!

AmeriCorps member Bessie Foster serves with Polk Reads – a Volunteer Florida AmeriCorps grantee in Polk County. Bessie provides three thirty-minute, one-on-one reading tutoring sessions per week to at-risk students who are below grade reading level. These one-on-one sessions target the five components of effective reading – phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary development, reading fluency and reading comprehension.

Through Bessie’s unwavering dedication, a student who was struggling to keep up with his fellow peers and lacked the confidence to read aloud in small groups grew his reading scores by 23% during the school year. Bessie’s second grade student, Craven, started with a 9% sight-word recognition and a level 7 reading comprehension – making him a Late Emergent Reader. Bessie served over 50 over hours during the school year working with Craven to improve his reading comprehension and vocabulary. Craven ended the school year with 84% sight-word recognition, an Early Star Literacy score of 822, and a reading comprehension level of 22 – making Craven a Probable Reader. Craven now expresses his love for reading and has since participated in small groups with confidence. Way to go, Bessie!

AmeriCorps member Bessie Foster during Martin Luther King Day at Socrum Elementary School located in Polk County