In their first year at Parkway Elementary School, in Sacramento, CA, Principal Doyal Martin and Vice Principal Rachel Cooper have not hesitated to get to know the Reading Partners program first hand. During an initial visit to the reading center, Mrs. Cooper asked Parkway’s site coordinator an exciting question: “Can we be reading partners?” The answer was yes! and today, both principals are regular volunteers at the Parkway reading center.
Mr. Martin and Mrs. Cooper each volunteer one hour a week to tutor a student. Mrs. Cooper works with a second grader, whose excitement for reading shows. She always enters the reading center with a smile on her face.
“I volunteer because reading can fundamentally change a student’s future!” says Mrs. Cooper. “It is incredibly worthwhile to see a student’s reading ability grow in such a short amount of time.”
The pair can often be seen sharing celebratory fist pumps and high fives in the reading center.
Mr. Martin works with a fourth grader and second year Reading Partners student. His student was surprised to learn that the principal would be his tutor this year. Mr. Martin admits he was a little nervous at first, but with the help of his site coordinator and veteran student, he was able to jump right in.
“My favorite moment was when my student realized he had the principal as his tutor!”
Mr. Martin explains. “Reading Partners has given me the opportunity to work with a wonderful student that I have gotten to know better and help with his literacy skills.”
Principal Martin believes that literacy goes beyond reading. “It’s the basis of everything we do in school, work, and life,” he says.
What’s special about Reading Partners is whether you’re a principal, lawyer, high school student, or full time parent, almost anyone can be an effective tutor. Thanks to Reading Partners’ structured curriculum, all volunteer reading partners deliver highly effective, research validated instruction and the results are worth celebrating.
Mrs. Cooper says one of the best days at Reading Partners was when, “my student broke the 100 words per minute goal when she was reading a fluency passage.” Her student was so proud that she “asked [Mrs. Cooper] to write it down on a post-it note to share with her teacher and parents.”
When asked what she would say o people thinking about getting involved and volunteering with Reading Partners, Mrs. Cooper responded, ”I would say, ‘DO IT!’ It is incredibly worthwhile to see a student’s reading ability grow in such a short amount of time.”