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July 18, 2013

Bank of Sacramento Co-Workers Help Student Jump Two Grade Levels

Shain was a full three years behind grade-level in reading at D.W. Babcock Elementary School in Sacramento, and needed some focused one-on-one intervention. Bright and motivated, Shain was not shy about attending the Reading Partners program. He was proud to participate and expressed a strong desire to improve his reading ability.


Bonnie and Juli, both employees at the Bank of Sacramento, were only too happy to help Shain. Their work together at the Bank of Sacramento had made Bonnie and Juli effective colleagues, and they decided to tutor one student collaboratively, each tutoring once per week. During break time at the bank, they updated each other on Shain’s progress, compared strategies that worked well with ones that didn’t, and shared ideas for the next session. In comparing notes about their sessions with Shain, they observed that he preferred non-fiction and loved to read about all things scientific (and Bonnie also noted that reading about insects gave her “the creepy-crawlies!”). The books on mammals and the earth were also a hit with him. During the read-aloud sessions, they noted to Shain which books at the Reading Partners center featured these themes.

Shain’s difficulties were not uncommon. In reading comprehension, he struggled with making inferences and organizing his thoughts verbally and in writing. When asked to summarize a passage in his own words, he would often respond with lengthy, jumbled statements. When reading aloud, he tended to do what most struggling readers do: skip high-frequency words, change word endings, ignore punctuation, and confuse vowel sounds.

Bonnie and Juli helped Shain follow the text more slowly and closely by tracking his reading with their fingers. When he made a mistake, his tutors would linger over a word and ask him to reread more slowly for comprehension. Bonnie notes, “He thrived with the one-on-one attention he was given, and since he is a very smart kid he had an advantage and was able to progress very quickly.”

By May, Shain would catch most of his own mistakes with no prompting from Bonnie or Juli. He no longer skipped words, and he understood what he was reading.

In his end-of-year assessment, Shain showed two full years of progress!

Bonnie makes an impact not only by serving as a tutor to Shain, but also by recruiting her colleagues at Bank of Sacramento. By bringing seven tutors to Reading Partners this year, Bonnie helped seven students like Shain get the help they needed.

“The Bank is very involved in the community, and our employees were excited to have an opportunity to read with children and help them hone this fundamental skill,” said Bonnie. “Literacy is one of the keys to success, and seeing our students advance their reading skills and expand their knowledge really kept us involved in the program.”

If you would like materials or assistance in recruiting your friends or colleagues, contact Deanna at


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