A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

One to One: Jill Morenz loves reading — and passes that on to the young students she coaches

Jill Morenz has always enjoyed reading. “My nose is always in a book,” she said.

Jill reads during her free time, when she cooks, and every other opportunity in between. For as long as she can remember, reading has been her passion. She loved reading with her children as they were growing up, but when they started getting older she missed that aspect of reading with a child and helping them discover their love for reading. That is one of the reasons Jill enjoys being a One to One reading coach.

Jill is a One to One coach at Sixth District Elementary in Covington. Jill was the office manager for Skyward, which is where she first heard about the One to One coaching opportunity four years ago. She also owns an interior design business. This is where Jill expresses her creativity, which is also something she enjoys doing.

The One to One coaching program is part of the Northern Kentucky Education Council’s body of work. The Council trains volunteer coaches and coordinates placement through local schools where students need some additional help.

Jill reads with a student once a week for 45 minutes on her lunch break.

Jill said it was easy to go to the school during her break and just come back to the office.

“Working with the student is fun. It brightens my day,” Jill said.

Jill Morenz

So far Jill has worked with 2 students over the past 4 years, both boys. She has two sons, so she saw that as the best fit.

The first student she worked with did not struggle so much at reading, but just needed a little extra one-on-one attention he was not receiving elsewhere. Working with this student and giving him the attention he needed boosted his confidence with the reading skills he already possessed.

Jill worked with her other student for the past two years. This is beneficial for both Jill and the student because they have established a connection and she is already aware of his interests and reading habits. Instead of starting all over again at the beginning of the school year, they can pick up where they left off and start reading right away.

This program gives Jill and her student opportunities to use their creativity. The creativity aspect is one of Jill’s favorite parts about volunteering. For example, after the student’s birthday, Jill had him tell her some different details about the birthday party. The next time they met, Jill had written a short story for the boy to read about his birthday party. This was exciting for the student because he was reading a story about himself. She also uses a variety of reading and spelling games for him to play.

Jill enjoys sitting down with books and reading with the students. She values this because as technology progresses, she feels children are losing the time spent holding a physical book in front of them and reading. While she realizes the importance of students being able to comprehend reading from a screen, she does not want them to lose the book aspect either.

Jill’s advice to anyone interested in getting involved in the One to One program is, “Just do it!”

She explained that the program is fun for both the adult and the child, and doesn’t feel like work.

“You don’t have to be a teacher or have an education background to volunteer. So many different types of people can volunteer,” Jill said. Jill said this experience has opened her eyes to things she didn’t pay attention to before, and she enjoys participating.

Registration is open for the One to One: Practicing Reading and Math with Students program. For more information or to sign up for one of our trainings, please visit the website or contact Leslie Armstrong at (859) 282-9214.

This is one of a series of profiles on One on One coaches in cooperation with the Northern Kentucky Education Council.

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