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November 4, 2013

In Silicon Valley, Tutoring is a Family Affair

SV1After sending her youngest son off to college, Debbie Dawkins was looking for a creative way to spend her days. Debbie’s son suggested that she look into volunteering with Reading Partners, where he had spent a semester volunteering through his university. Debbie decided that she might enjoy the experience, working with kids and helping elementary students discover a love of reading. Three years later, she’s still volunteering with Reading Partners Silicon Valley. Debbie said, “I have stayed involved with Reading Partners because I have been so impressed with the program’s well defined purpose; simply to help kids improve their reading skills by providing one-on-one tutoring.”

Debbie began working with Yibran during his first grade year. Yibran and Debbie have had the opportunity to work together for several years now and Debbie has played a key role in Yibran’s academic success, including helping him grow a love of reading. She currently works with him twice a week.

“Reading is not easy for him, but he works very hard to improve and it really shows!” says Debbie. “When he picks up on a new skill from a lesson and applies it to his reading, I am so proud of him and I make it a point to tell him. After all, he earned it! I can tell that he feels happy and that leads to better self-esteem, which fuels him to keep trying and learning. Yibran has improved so much over the past few years!”

Becoming a successful reader leads to higher self-esteem in the classroom and in future educational and career endeavors. Students who feel embarrassed or dejected as a result of their reading capabilities often fall behind and develop a distaste for learning in a school environment. The work Debbie is doing with Yibran now, during elementary school, will last a lifetime.

SV2Debbie is committed to making Yibran a great reader, she is a motivator, and she understands the lasting value of her work with Yibran. We asked her if she had any words of wisdom to pass on to tutors just getting started:

To new tutors, or to prospective tutors, I would say, ‘This is so worth your time!’ In just 50 minutes, twice a week, you can truly make a difference in a child’s reading skills that will impact their education and, ultimately, their life. Think about how important reading is to you! Imagine your life if you couldn’t read or had to struggle to read. Reading Partners has the program in place to help improve literacy. All you have to do is show up! You will be so glad you did.”

Of course, Debbie, is not the only tutor who has helped to mold a student into a great reader with Reading Partners. Reading Partners Silicon Valley currently has 20 reading centers serving over 700 students! If you would like the opportunity to help a student, like Yibran, grow and flourish as a reader, become a volunteer tutor.



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