Robert Hodder

Robert Hodder works with Experience Corps in Washington, D.C., to help K-3rd graders with their reading skills. Previous volunteer experiences include assisting the homeless and the hungry. He oversees Executive Communications for AARP.
Children in classroom
My elementary school kids desperately want to please their teacher.  So much so, they frequently let their emotions get the better of them.  Actually it's daily.  And here's how I know: Each and every day that I'm in the classroom I hear the "gasp"!
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Every story has a beginning, middle and end.  And in the details of that telling, we can be transported to times and places that fill us with a range of emotions - from wonder, hope and, mirth - to fear, sadness and dread.  And the best stories usually have a blend of both!
Sequence of Learning to Read
"Aoccdrning to rscheearch..."
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Today my class of  Experience Corps students celebrated their 100 th day of school!  When I got to school the teacher had placed "100 th day of school" signs all over the walls.  To celebrate, the children made crowns with a "100" featured prominently on the front, and decorated their headband with 100 hearts, numbers, triangles, dots, letters-whatever they were moved to create.  And even if they didn't get 100 "somethings" down on the paper, when the adults stapled the bands to fit the kids' heads, they all looked stunning-especially as a group.
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Great excitement colors every Halloween.  Kids happily don their costumes - some out of the box, some handmade - carve their jack o'lanterns, then set off to troll neighborhoods in the dusk and dark for candy galore.
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Earlier this month I began my Experience Corps work with Washington, D.C. elementary school kids to build their reading skills.  It has been both exhilarating and exhausting.  And although I'm having a tremendous amount of fun, I am already developing calluses on my back side getting used to sitting in a chair that's only 14 inches off the ground!
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