Team Read Gave Me the Passion to Teach

When you can read fluently, you begin to see the world differently.

Team Read is changing our students’ lives inside and outside of the classroom. That’s why I’m writing to you today, to ask you to join me in supporting their journey as readers and emerging leaders.

My name is Ibi Idowu. Team Read was my first real job. I began tutoring in 8th grade at Van Asselt Elementary in South Beacon Hill. I will never forget how happy I was to be making $7.63 per hour.

As a teen reading coach, I helped young students build confidence and joy in reading. My student readers came from non-English speaking homes, which made learning to read more challenging. But thanks to the training I received from Team Read, I was able to create a fun and positive environment where emerging readers could thrive. I also developed important life skills like leadership, organization, patience, and understanding.

Team Read gave me the passion to teach. I’m now working as a student teacher at Emerson Elementary while I earn my master’s degree in teaching, and I’m thrilled to return to Team Read as a Site Coordinator this year. I’m also thrilled that almost 40% of Team Read coaches are considering a career in education or teaching!

Team Read strives to deepen and expand our impact locally by helping more children become strong readers and strengthening our work by connecting to teen coaches’ ideas, interests, and dreams for the future. Thanks to our amazing community of supporters, Team Read will bring together nearly 900 young students and dedicated teens for impactful one-on-one tutoring this school year.

Let’s support these powerful pairs! Please join me and make a year-end gift to Team Read. Your donation will help the program continue to grow, ensuring every child has the same opportunities to recognize and achieve their potential.

On behalf of everyone at Team Read, thank you for your continued support. We wish you a fun-filled holiday season and a Happy New Year!

Warm wishes,

Team Read Alumna Kim Nguyen

Job title and company: Managing Director, Washington State Public Health Association

Team Read Experience: Reading coach, 2001-2002

Team Read was my introduction to leadership. Participating in the program as a reading coach taught me how to be professional and responsible in addition to giving me opportunities to practice good decision making. My experience working with my mentee, Yvonne, helped me understand the impact of kindness and the value of patience. I have continued to build on these qualities through college, graduate school and in my career.

Since finishing my masters degree in public health, I have worked in higher education, in healthcare and in nonprofit management. My interests and passion remain close to mentorship and nurturing the next generation of leaders. Reflecting on my experience at Team Read, I feel the organization’s impact goes beyond reading. Team Read provides kids, especially those of color, an opportunity to grow leadership skills and ultimately, a chance to have a voice and seat at the decision making table.   

Fostering a Love for Teaching Through Team Read

Team Read Alum, John Nonato

Job Title & Company: Guest English Teacher, English Program in Korea (EPIK)

Team Read Experience:
Team Read Coach: September 2008 – June 2012 (Emerson, Dunlap and Van Asselt Elementary)
Site Assistant for Reading Leaders: September 2009 – June 2010

I was a volunteer for Team Read for all four years of high school. Through each year of Team Read, I not only watched my student readers improve their reading fluency, but I formed a friendship with each of them. I had the most fun when my student reader was enjoying the story we chose together. Being able to make games and find books that fit the various personalities of each student was challenging, but really prepared me for the future.

Today I work as a guest English teacher in a Korean middle school. My experience with Team Read helped me find out I have the capability to teach a classroom. I learned how to test the steps of reading fluency and it has helped me in creating a process for checking questions with my students in Korea. My challenge now with teaching students who do not speak English as a native language is similar to working with Team Read students. I consistently find myself using the same methods to connect to my current students as I did with my own student reader. It’s through Team Read that I fostered a love for teaching.

Team Read Alumna Tam Deo

Branch Assistant Manager, US Bank

During my sophomore year at Franklin High School, my friend told me about Team Read and how we could earn money towards our education by tutoring kids in reading. Tutoring elementary kids at Van Asselt Elementary School helped me learn to be patient with people. Everyone learns at a different pace. Team Read taught me to be more flexible based on each students’ needs. I also found that I love teaching, but more one-on-one rather than a big classroom. I was able to apply what I’ve experienced during Team Read into the coaching sessions with my staff at the bank on a daily basis.

Tam has continued to stay involved with Team Read, participating in our Alumni Book Drive, alumni focus group, and the upcoming reading coach workshops.

Team Read Alumna Amber Ladd

Former reading coach Amber Ladd is a Data Registrar at Aki Kurose Middle School and has worked for Seattle Public Schools for eight years. She tutored for Team Read during middle school at Rainier View Elementary.

I loved being a reading coach with Team Read. It made me feel responsible. I knew that my student depended on me to be there and to help them grow in their reading. Having that sense of responsibility at such a young age helped me grow as a person. It prepared me for my first job as a teenager. I also think of it as my first experience as a mentor. I currently mentor 6th-8th grade African-American females through My Sister’s Keeper. Team Read helped me see the value in mentorship.

When I meet students who are interested in Team Read, I let them know that it’s a commitment. It’s not something they can play around with. The younger students are looking up to them. Literacy is so important. It is such an imperative part of our everyday lives. I am so thankful for programs like Team Read.

Social Justice Warrior: Team Read Alumna Tagoipah Mathno

Job Title and Company
Foundation Development Specialist, International Community Health Services Foundation

Team Read Experience
2004-2006: Reading coach at Whitworth and Beacon Hill Elementary Schools

Tagoipah is a second generation Cham (Southeast Asian minority ethnic group indigenous to Vietnam) Muslim American from refugee parents who fled to the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Tagoipah Mathno goes by she/her pronouns. She is a first generation college graduate in her family and a Seattle native. She is also a Franklin High School alum and has both her bachelors and masters degree from the University of Washington’s School of Social Work. Tagoipah has a passion in supporting communities of color with a focus on immigrants and refugees. Her career path has led her to the non-profit sector in King County in various line of work such as: a youth mental health counselor, operating youth ethnic support groups, coalition builder, event planner and higher education preparatory work.

Her background expanded from working with first generation high school/college students to advocating for basic rights for those most marginalized through grassroots efforts. For the past six years Tagoipah was part of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF) Seattle’s working board which focuses on issues concerning the intersection of gender and Asian identity. She currently is working for International Community Health Services (ICHS) Foundation as the Foundation Development Specialist in helping raise funds for uncompensated care.

In her first year with Team Read, Tagoipah received a John Stanford Excellence in Tutoring scholarship for $1500, which was previously awarded to deserving and talented reading coaches to help make it possible for them to attend college. The scholarship from Team Read was one of the first financial resources to help fund Tagoipah’s social justice career. “It reinforced that higher education was not a dream, but a goal to accomplish.” she says. “I thank Team Read for investing in and seeing my potential.”