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July 28, 2015

I'm a Tulsa Kid: Brady Beard

Senior at Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences and Reading Partners volunteer

Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences Senior Brady Beard has amassed over 100 hours of community service through many local organizations including Reading Partners. For two years Brady has volunteered with Reading Partners at Mark Twain Elementary School, working with a young girl named Renee. Brady said she hopes to work for a non-profit after college mainly because of her experience with Reading Partners.

TK: How did you learn about Reading Partners?

Brady: I learned about Reading Partners through a site coordinator coming and talking to our Key Club at the beginning of my sophomore year. She gave a 10-minute long presentation of what Reading Partners stands for, their mission, and how to get started. I immediately wanted to do it and got a group of girls to carpool with me to Mark Twain. This initial presentation is what hooked me into wanting to do Reading Partners, but after one week with my reading buddy, I was fixed on Reading Partners.

TK: What type of training did you have to go through to become a Reading Partner?

Brady: I went through a “practice session” the first day that the girls and I started at Mark Twain. The site coordinator explained how a typical session would play out, and she showed us all of the different resources around the room. There was additional training that we could not attend because it was in the middle of the day, but after the first couple of sessions the routine was down.

TK: Tell us about the student you worked with last year.

Brady: My Reading Partner, Renee, was in second grade when I first started tutoring her. She was almost a year behind in reading level and had a very difficult time reading out loud. Through the two years that I had the privilege to work with her, she grew tremendously. Her reading skills by the end of this year were phenomenal; she passed so many goals and grew with confidence exponentially. At the beginning of a session, the tutor is supposed to read a book just for fun for 10 minutes to the student. By the end of this year, she loved reading so much that she couldn’t wait to read to me and would read to me the fun book at the beginning of the session. It was crazy seeing her growth and her excitement every time she got a new word correct. At the end of the year there is a reading celebration that all of the kids in Reading Partners participate in; they read a book sentence by sentence together. This year she gave me a present and on the card that she had handmade me she wrote “Good job! You made me like reading!” With laughs and hugs, I said, “Did Mrs. Amber tell you to write that?” and she responded with, “No, of course not!” Her love for reading grew but so did her kind heart and spirit.

Tulsa Reading Partners

TK: How did you feel seeing your student progress in reading throughout the school year?

Brady: Throughout these two years there were many ups and downs in both our lives. She would have days where reading was not what needed to be the focus and others where all I needed was to hear her sweet voice read to me. Progressively through the year I would see her read better, faster, and with more confidence. I felt like a proud parent! By the end, she would start the page and not ask me every other word; she would read the entire page with maybe just one or two hiccups. To see her smile when she knew she got a word right was the perfect way to reward her and my hard work.

TK: Who have you recruited to be involved in Reading Partners?

Brady: I love Reading Partners so much that I have recruited about five people to my site! I am hoping to start going to more events where I can talk about Reading Partners and encourage it more! I can only do so much with a student population of 300 in my school!

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