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April 4, 2016

Why I love my Monday mornings at Reading Partners

By: Michael Minnick, volunteer reading partner in Sacramento, CA

Monday mornings are rough! Well, at least they used to be. Now I start my week with something positive. First thing on Mondays I am a reading partner at Pacific Elementary School in Sacramento, CA. Although my student is often still sleepy from the transition to school, we always start our time together chatting about our weekends, and usually find something we have in common. During our time reading, we often find goofy things in the pictures, which end up as recurring jokes as we go through the lessons. It never feels like work for me, and I don’t think it does for him either. We are just hanging out and having fun. But it turns out it’s making an impact on his literacy development.

Over the course of the year, I’ve seen great improvements in his reading and comprehension. We spend a lot of time discussing the meaning behind what he is reading, and he seems to enjoy figuring out the details. We will often talk about how the story relates to our own lives, which shows me that he really understands the content of what he’s reading. It’s exciting when he has those moments where he learns a new word, and immediately wants to add it to his “word net.” The “word net” is a page we use to store new words that may come up again in the future. He is quick to suggest putting a new word on the page, and he will often refer back to it later to show that he understands the meaning.

By the time he leaves, I feel good. I hope he does, too. I feel like we’ve both learned some things, and we have definitely bonded. My Monday mornings aren’t so rough now that I know they will always start with a fun, positive experience with a pretty cool third grader!

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