A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE – There’s stuff yet to learn

A look at the life of a one-to-one reading volunteer who is seeking normality.

I have been taking a volunteer role at the local One-to-One reader program at the Midway Elementary School.

It’s a fun and rewarding task that takes little more than an hour each week. Plus it gives me a chance to see the world from a different perspective, and that’s a valuable thing to do from time to time.

I have to say I am always amazed at the jobs that the teachers do. When they talk about literacy from their point of view of years of university education, you come to realize what an amazing process learning to read and write is.

But when the teachers talk among themselves in teacher lingo it can get even more confusing for a simple little fellow like me. They talk in terms of curriculum and teaching models and all kinds of complicated things.

That’s why I like being just a One-to-One reader. They sit me down with a young student and we get to focus on easier stuff than the teachers do.

After all, it just comes down to sharing time and a good story with another person.

The One-to-One program got started late this year, probably partly due to the school strike. As if the teachers hadn’t enough on their plate but because of the strike they are expected to do it all with two weeks less on their school year. So like I say, we need to show classroom teachers a lot more respect than they often get.

There are definite perks to being a One-to-One reader, like the time a couple of years ago this little kid finished reading a page and pointed down to the book and exclaimed with great delight, “Hey! I knew that word!”

Another time I was introducing one young fellow to the One-to-One reading routine, like where to find the books and such. There were several of those magazine boxes filled with early readers and I pulled one off of the shelf, took it across the room and shook the books out onto an empty table. I told him to take his pick.

The little fellow got quite excited about this. “Oh no, no, no!” he exclaimed as he raced to the table and started gathering up the books. He paused as he was putting them back into the magazine box and pointed to the open blue recycling box under the table.

“A book could get lost if you do it that way,” he explained. “It might fall in to the recycling bin and you’d never know.”

As he finished putting the last of the books back in the magazine box he looked up at me with a very solemn look on his face and said we should just take the books out one at a time. “Like a normal person would,” he said.

What could I say to that? He was doing everything right: showing respect for the school property and, above all else, trying to keep things dialled in to normal.

The One-to-One reading involves a certain amount of stuff that must be learned. Please just give me time. I’ll get the hang of it yet.


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