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April 4, 2016

Seeing student confidence grow

By: Cody Howard, regional site coordinator/volunteer coordinator, Reading Partners Sacramento

During my third grade student’s first tutoring session, he blew me away with the text to self connections he could make, the predictions he came up with, and the words he already knew the meaning of. Little did I know until later that, during that same time period just before he started tutoring, he wrote the sentence, “I am not smart” in his student journal and was in general lacking confidence in class.

During each tutoring session, we would focus on having him read pages perfectly and encouraging self-corrections in order to support his independence and, ultimately, his confidence. He seemed to show growth and better reading each and every week, but it was his most recent session with me that showed without a doubt his vast improvement. On this particular day, I had mentally prepared myself with careful corrective language that was still encouraging around his need to reread. But, after each perfect page he read, I found myself realizing that I wouldn’t be needing those corrections for that session. He took his time, used his finger to track his reading, and immediately self-corrected after minor mistakes. He didn’t need an ounce of support in reading that book that day, and afterward I couldn’t help but give him a huge high-five just in time for his site coordinator to also come in to celebrate with us.

After taking him back to his class, his teacher took time to thank me and our program. He let me know that our student is raising his hand more in class, is trying newer and more challenging things, is reading better in general, and has increased his confidence by leaps and bounds. This proves that our one-on-one tutoring and constant attention to positive learning can have enormous impacts on a student’s confidence, and that our curriculum’s depth and focus can support our student’s improvement in just a matter of weeks!

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