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March 9, 2019

Tutor spotlight: Scott Goodpaster in Tulsa

Scott Goodpaster got involved with Reading Partners after a friend, who has volunteered with the organization for several years, referred him to the program.

Each week Scott walks through the halls of Kendall Whittier, witnessing smiles, greetings,  conversations, high fives, and other examples of friendliness among children and the school community. Scott and his student, a bright, cheerful second grader with a sincere desire to become a better reader, were also friends from the start.

Once, while reading a story with ladybugs, she told me that besides red, they also came in yellow. I told her she may have mistaken a different yellow bug for a ladybug. She thought not. I’m an accomplished gardener and have seen yellow bugs that resemble ladybugs and assumed they were cucumber beetles, so I doubled down on my theory that she was mistaken. She wouldn’t budge. I was ready to move on and said something about finding the answer to that question another day, but not satisfied with postponement, she  said, ‘You could look on your phone.’ Soon, I had my answer: yellow ladybugs are real. Second grader-one, accomplished gardener-zippo.

Scott believes the power of Reading Partners and the reason to volunteer is summed up in one of our organizational Core Values: Reading Matters. He described how reading has impacted him and others around him not only intellectually, but also emotionally through teaching him about people, places and things he could never have experienced on his own.

Since volunteering at Kendall-Whittier Elementary, I’ve noticed the student body is rich with racially and ethnically diverse students. People of all ages bond over their favorite books, finding through the stories that we read that people who seem different from ourselves, aren’t so different after all.

Scott reflected on his first memories of reading, and why he wanted to support Tulsa children through the Reading Partners program, by sharing one of his first memories of reading as a child.

I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read.  One of my earliest memories is of leaving my book, an illustrated copy of The Little Mermaid, by the swing set when I was four or five.  It was raining hard and my mother would not let me get it. She wanted to teach me a lesson about taking care of my books. I remember staring at the rain coming down on The Little Mermaid, and worrying it would be ruined.  My mother knew the book had a thick plastic coating on the covers and likely would not be damaged. It wasn’t. In fact, I still have that book. The plastic coating is coming off and the covers are worn, but you know what they say about the covers of books. What’s important with books, and I would add with people, is what’s on the inside.

If you have a fond memory of reading, like Scott’s, we hope you’ll share it with us. If you haven’t signed up for Reading Partners, and want to be an influential reader in the life of a young Tulsa student, sign up for Reading Partners today or call (918) 949-1979.

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