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Become A Reading Assistant

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Working As A Reading Assistant

  • Assisting and Caring for Others
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Thinking Creatively
  • $31,079

    Average Salary

What Does A Reading Assistant Do

Teacher assistants work under a teacher’s supervision to give students additional attention and instruction.

Duties

Teacher assistants typically do the following:

  • Reinforce lessons presented by teachers by reviewing material with students one-on-one or in small groups
  • Enforce school and class rules to help teach students proper behavior
  • Help teachers with recordkeeping, such as tracking attendance and calculating grades
  • Help teachers prepare for lessons by getting materials ready or setting up equipment, such as computers
  • Supervise students in class, between classes, during lunch and recess, and on field trips

Teacher assistants also are called teacher aides, instructional aides, paraprofessionals, education assistants, and paraeducators.

Teacher assistants work with or under the guidance of a licensed teacher. Generally, teachers introduce new material to students while teacher assistants help reinforce the lessons by working with individual students or small groups of students. For example, after the teacher presents a lesson, a teacher assistant may help a small group of students as they try to master the material.

Teachers may seek feedback from assistants to monitor students’ progress. Some teachers and teacher assistants meet regularly to discuss lesson plans and student development. Teacher assistants sometimes help teachers by grading tests and checking homework.

Some teacher assistants work only with special education students. Some of these students attend regular classes, and teacher assistants help them understand the material and adapt the information to their learning style. Teacher assistants may work with students who have more severe disabilities in separate classrooms. They help these students with basic needs, such as eating or personal hygiene. With young adults, they may help students with disabilities learn skills necessary for them to find a job or live independently after graduation.

Some teacher assistants work in specific locations in the school. For example, some work in computer laboratories, teaching students how to use computers and helping them use software. Others work as recess or lunchroom attendants, supervising students during these times of the day.

Although most teacher assistants work in elementary, middle, and high schools, others work in preschools and childcare centers. Often, one or two assistants work with a lead teacher to provide the individual attention that young children need. They help with educational activities. They also supervise the children at play and help with feeding and other basic care.

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How To Become A Reading Assistant

Teacher assistants typically need to have completed at least 2 years of college coursework.

Education

Most school districts require applicants to have completed at least 2 years of college coursework or have earned an associate’s degree. Teacher assistants in schools that have a Title 1 program (a federal program for schools with a large proportion of students from low-income households) must have at least a 2-year degree, 2 years of college, or pass a state or local assessment.

Associate’s degree programs for teacher assistants prepare the participants to develop educational materials, observe students, and understand the role of teachers and teaching assistants in the classroom.

Most states require instructional aides who work with special-needs students to pass a skills-based test.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Teacher assistants need to discuss students’ progress with teachers and parents, so they need to be able to communicate well.

Interpersonal skills. Teacher assistants interact with a variety of people, including teachers, students, parents, and administrators. They need to develop good working relationships with the people they work with.

Patience. Working with students of different abilities and backgrounds can be difficult. Teacher assistants must be patient with students who struggle with material.

Resourcefulness. To reinforce lessons, teacher assistants must explain information to students in a way that meets each student’s learning style. 

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Reading Assistant Demographics

Gender

Female

80.5%

Male

18.3%

Unknown

1.1%
Ethnicity

White

61.8%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.1%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

64.7%

French

11.8%

Portuguese

5.9%

Chinese

5.9%

Mandarin

5.9%

German

2.9%

Dutch

2.9%
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Reading Assistant Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

8.1%

Southern Connecticut State University

6.5%

Liberty University

6.5%

University of California - Berkeley

6.5%

Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis

6.5%

Florida State University

6.5%

Jackson State University

6.5%

Pima Community College

4.8%

Wright State University

4.8%

Northwest Missouri State University

4.8%

Baylor University

4.8%

University of Utah

4.8%

Valencia College

4.8%

University of Texas at San Antonio

4.8%

University of Florida

3.2%

Texas Southern University

3.2%

Troy University

3.2%

Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

3.2%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.2%

Temple University

3.2%
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Majors

Elementary Education

17.0%

Business

10.1%

Psychology

8.3%

Education

6.4%

English

6.0%

Communication

5.5%

Social Work

4.6%

Special Education

4.6%

Early Childhood Education

4.1%

Nursing

3.7%

Accounting

3.7%

School Counseling

3.2%

Biology

3.2%

Liberal Arts

3.2%

Health Care Administration

3.2%

Sociology

3.2%

Photography

2.8%

Medical Technician

2.8%

Fine Arts

2.3%

General Studies

2.3%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.8%

Masters

24.5%

Other

17.7%

Associate

11.2%

Certificate

3.3%

Doctorate

2.7%

Diploma

0.8%
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Top Skills for A Reading Assistant

GradeLevelAssistanceMathematicsLessonPlansSmallGroupInstructionLiteracySkillsLanguageDataEntryPacsPhoneCallsArtClassroomTeachersStatCustomerServiceCt/MriDisabilitySightWordsClassroomManagementGroupSettingK-5

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  1. Grade Level
  2. Assistance
  3. Mathematics
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provided the two visually impaired employees with instruction and assistance in navigating and editing electronic documents and applications.
  • Helped the kindergarten reading group for six months; Develop reading lesson plans, demonstrate and teach students better reading skills.
  • Supervised and implemented reading fluency (phonics) and comprehension intervention strategies * Conducted Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills Assessment
  • Develop lesson plans and work with at-risk students to help them master reading, language and math skills.
  • Retrieve digital films on Hologic and PACS system for the Radiologist to view.

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