“I can’t read! You know that, Kara.” my 1st grade friend shared with me. “I know you can do it – I believe in you. Let’s do it together,” I replied.
That was pretty typical for our conversations those first few weeks. Continually encouraging my new friend that I believed in her, and if we worked together, she could get better at reading! So, we started each mentoring hour with a story. At first, I read a word, then she read a word. As she got better, I read a line, and then she read a line. One day I suggested that she read a whole page.
“You can do it! I know you can!” I encouraged her. But again she said, “I can’t read! You know that, Kara!” I pushed back and reminded her of all the progress she’d made! “You can do it. I know you can!” I repeated.
So, she began. She read the first word, then the second, and finished a sentence. Then a second sentence, and then a third. She finished the whole page, completely on her own! She looked up, her face full of shock, and she asked quietly, “Kara, can I read?” Teary-eyed, I looked back at her and gave her a resounding, “Yes! Yes, you can read!”
We’ve been together for two years now and I can’t wait to see her thrive in third grade this year. Is reading now her favorite part of school? No, not yet. She loves recess, lunch, art, and music! But for the last two years, every time I ask her what her favorite part of the week is, her answer is always the same: “Wednesdays, because that’s when you come to spend time with me. That’s my favorite part of the week.”
Wednesdays are my favorite part of the week, too.
Written by Kara Nguyen, Kids Hope USA Director of Development