A vivacious little six-year-old skips down her school corridors. She stops in front of the bulletin boards, signs and framed sayings that cover the walls.
And she reads them. With a sparkle in her bright brown eyes, she reads the words aloud with a touch of awe in her voice.
As if it is a miracle. Those funny shapes didn’t mean anything to her a few months ago. She passed them without a look.
Not any more. Headlines of framed newspaper clippings capture her attention as she reads the words she now knows and uses her new skill of sounding out words to figure out the longer, harder words.
I have been so lucky to witness this miracle. This first grader is my student in a program called Reading Partners. I visit a Baltimore school every week where I spend an hour with her, reading story books, sounding out letters and diphthongs and going over Magic E. Then she reads a story that we can talk about.
And she owns it. She knows the routine and she takes the Tutor Read Aloud books out of my hands to puzzle out the words for herself. She’s hungry for this wondrous skill. And I consider it a joy to sit beside her and share my love of reading.
Love reading? Join me. There are lots of little children struggling to read. A little extra help and they’ll be on the road to loving the written word too.
I can’t say enough about Reading Partners. The staff is young, enthusiastic and well-trained. The volunteers are dedicated as they cheer on their students to success. Reading Partners has programs in schools in lots of cities. Check it out.
Witness a miracle.