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March 19, 2014

Ying and Yang: Tutor and Student Pair Strike a Perfect Balance in New York

Ying and YangOur tutors in New York are phenomenal–not just because they are patient, committed, and intelligent, but because they go above and beyond for their students. Ying is one of those tutors. She has been tutoring with Reading Partners New York City since October 2013.

Before moving to the US, Ying worked as a teacher in China. She believes that children can do anything with the right encouragement and the right tools for success. Her passion for education and her tutoring skills shine when she works with Yang, a third grader who speaks Mandarin as her first language.

Regional Site Coordinator Serena says, “Like so many second generation English Language Learners in low-income areas, Yang frequently missed out on critical learning opportunities in the classroom, struggling with both in-class and homework assignments, and additionally having trouble communicating with her peers. Barely passing the Reading Partners Kindergarten-level reading assessment, we knew Yang would benefit greatly from one-on-one tutoring.”

Yang and her family moved to the US from Chang Sha, China last September and the language barrier has been a difficult adjustment. Ying and Yang work together every Tuesday and Thursday to help her gain English literacy skills.

Ying says that having the same native language better equips her to tutor Yang. “I understand what she’s going through, and learn a lot from her positivity and willingness to make mistakes,” she explains.

Yang tackles her challenges with exuberance, by jumping into the Tutor Read Aloud to try difficult words and by making up her own stories. The one-on-one tutoring allows Ying to cater to Yang’s unique learning needs and to teach her skills at her reading level. Ying encourages her by sitting on a shorter chair in order to be on her eye level, saying that she “doesn’t want to be another scary adult.”

Ying supports Yang’s learning by traveling to a number of the ninety-one branches of the New York Public Library to find books they will both enjoy. She finds books that spark an emotional attachment and are on the right level for Yang. This week, they are reading the “Thankful” book, about being thankful for the good things in life. Ying encourages Yang to bring books home, and when she stumbles across an unfamiliar word, she and her parents go to the dictionary together.

Yang is not the only one benefitting from their time spent together. Ying says that she enjoys coming to work with Yang at the Reading Center. “The kids in the hallways have faces full of love. Teaching them to read helps nurture their curiosity about life and helps to remind me of the things I’ve forgotten,” she says.

Our centers are packed full of wonderful pairs like Ying and Yang, and our students’ growth would not be possible without the dedication of our tutors. This year we are serving 650 students in New York, which means 650 opportunities to inspire a lifelong love of reading!

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