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September 18, 2015

The power of Captain Underpants

By Amanda Mercado, Site Coordinator

At McShan, there is a large population of refugee and bilingual students. Once a week, I tutor a fourth grade bilingual student. For the longest time, she was not interested in reading any books from the Take Reading Home Library. After a large donation of Captain Underpants and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, I thought I would ask again. For a fourth grader, having a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book is like having a brick of gold, so she gladly took the book.

The next day, I went to pick her up. Her friend handed me a letter. It was my student’s summary of what she had read that night. First, the summary was by far the best written work I had seen in my reading center. Second, she told me she read 37 pages that night and read it out loud to her brother! I was shocked and told her how proud I was of her. The following day, I saw her in the back corner. She had read 135 pages! She looked at me and said, “Can I have a sticky note? I don’t have a bookmark to use.” I gladly gave her one! The next day, she had finished Book 1 and wanted a new one, but this time she wanted Captain Underpants.

It had been a week since I last saw her and on Monday morning, she was excited to see me. After asking how the book was, she pulled it out and I saw that there were about 50 to 75 sticky notes. For every page she read, she would write a summary. My mind was blown! This was a girl who was not interested in reading English books and now reads all the time at home and whenever she has free time at school. I am so proud of her and tell her every time I see her! Her reading everyday has made a huge impact on her lessons. She reads and decodes faster, and she is beginning to comprehend a lot more now. Her teachers are even noticing a difference in class. I feel so blessed to be at McShan and see the passion and improvements these students are making every day.

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