CEHD America Reads

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About Us

The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities America Reads program is a collaborative effort between the College of Education and Human Development, the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence, and the University YMCA in partnership with Minneapolis and St. Paul schools and community organizations.


The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities America Reads program is dedicated to increasing the literacy skills of Kindergarten - 8th grade students, supporting the educational efforts of our community partners, and together fostering the academic, personal, and career development of students and University of Minnesota literacy mentors.


To positively impact students by teaching them lifelong learning skills and cultivating interest in secondary and higher education.  To develop relationships between America Reads and the Twin Cities community, creating positive outcomes in literacy and beyond.

Program Goals

  • Promote literacy skills and positive reading habits of students through one-on-one and small group tutoring using research-based best practices.
  • Offer consistent, accountable role models for students and encourage positive attitudes toward lifelong learning.
  • Support literacy mentors’ learning through ongoing training and reflection within the America Reads community.
  • Provide an opportunity for literacy mentors to develop a sense of social responsibility and experience the value of civic engagement through off-campus involvement.
  • Engage literacy mentors in cross-cultural work.
  • Prepare literacy mentors with 21st century job and professional skills.

America Reads Staff

Lori Helman, Ph.D. | Executive Director
Lori Helman is an associate professor of Curriculum and Instruction and co-director of the Minnesota Center for Reading Research (MCRR). To learn more about Dr. Helman's research interests and publications, please visit her department profile page.

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Jennifer Kohler

Jennifer Kohler | Associate Director of Operations

Jennifer earned a B.A. in Communication with English and Writing minors from the University of Minnesota- Duluth.  She spent a year coordinating an after-school program at a charter school in South Minneapolis before joining the America Reads Program in 2002.  Jennifer received her certificate in training and facilitation in 2010 and completed the Successful Manager's Leadership Program in 2011, both through the University of Minnesota College of Continuing Education. She is an alumna of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Leadership Institute and a current member of the Women's Leadership Institute. 


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Eva Boehm

Eva Boehm | Associate Director of Curriculum

In addition to her work with this program, Eva also teaches literacy related courses in the College of Education and Human Development. For the past ten years, Eva has traveled the state providing professional development for classroom teachers in the area of reading instruction, assessment, and program development and has held leadership positions with her state professional organization. In the beginning of her career as an educator, she taught language arts and reading courses at Celina Junior High and High School in Celina, Ohio and then was employed as a high school reading specialist at Apple Valley High School in Apple Valley Minnesota.


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Eva Boehm

Megan Pieters | Coordinator

Megan has been a coordinator with America Reads since fall 2011. She earned a degree in Family Social Science and a minor in Spanish Studies from the University of Minnesota. As an undergraduate, Megan was an America Reads tutor and served in several leadership positions on campus.  She enjoys volunteering and considers herself a lifelong learner.


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