Community member connects as reading tutor

Retired John Carroll University history professor Marian Morton tutors Boulevard kindergarten student CamíRon Holloway in letter shape and sound recognition through the Reaching Heights Many Villages volunteer tutor program.

Sitting at a small round table, Marian Morton uses flashcards to drill a kindergarten student on vowel sounds. Trained in the letter sound recognition protocol, she says a-a-a for the “a” sound as she mimes eating an apple and uh-uh-uh for the “u” sound while she gestures opening an umbrella.

Helping a five-year-old with pre-reading skills is a radical change for the retired John Carroll University history professor, and a valuable one. Data collected shows significant growth in the reading skills of students participating in the Many Villages tutoring program.

In addition to parents, the volunteers are recruited from religious congregations, colleges and universities, businesses and civic groups. Volunteers work individually with kindergartners to review letter shapes and sounds for 10 minutes, 4 times a week for 6-8 weeks.  This letter sound recognition protocol was designed by Beth Rae, CH-UH Title I Teacher, and draws from the work of Jonathan Graham.

“Tutors don’t always recognize the impact they have on students’ lives,” according to Belinda Farrow, kindergarten teacher at Boulevard Elementary. She notices tremendous academic growth and improved behavior. “Once students gain confidence in reading, that confidence seems to spill over into other subjects.”     

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Volume 4, Issue 3, Posted 9:52 AM, 03.01.2011