For the past couple of years, I’ve been using my Thursday lunch hours to participate in the Read to a Child program. It’s for the elementary schools in the city I work in.
I have the privilege of reading to DM (not his real name). DM is a second-grader in the poorest area of the city.
It humbles me – in a big way – when I walk into that school. Most of those kids are so sweet. And yes, there are some naughty ones too.
In fact, there is usually at least one kiddo in the office area, sitting in chair, swinging his legs back and forth. Waiting to see the principal.
The teachers at DM’s school have their hands full. I’m sure there’s very little parental support for most of those students.
It’s a shame.
DM struggles with reading. In fact, today, he told me that he ‘hates’ to read.
That breaks my heart. My mission is to change his attitude about reading.
As a voracious reader (from very early on) books and reading are still at the very top of my ‘favorite things’ list.
So, when DM tells me he hates reading…you can imagine how I feel.
My heart sinks. Uggh.
But…it’s okay. Because also today, he told me that he really likes writing. And, since reading and writing go together like a horse and carriage — there’s hope.
A lot of hope!
And today was different than most days. DM was reading like never before. He reads out loud to me and he was reading and sounding-out words like a real trooper.
I told him (several times) how proud I was. And how excited I was that his reading had improved dramatically since the last time we met.
Like most second-graders, DM would much rather spend the hour playing a game, or giving me a spelling test (he’s like that). But the hour is really (ahem) devoted to reading.
I caved in today and we played shop-keeper-and customer for a few minutes. We met in the resource room. It’s FULL of educational games (including big canisters of pretend money).
He handed me a wad of bills and I got to buy scissors, bottles of tempera paint (oh the memories) and pencils and pens. It was a fun few minutes.
Did you know? Two pairs of scissors cost me twenty bucks!
I guess that makes sense: playing with pretend money lets you create pretend prices for the things you’re selling.
And, let me tell you about that pretend money. It’s the most realistic fake money I’ve ever seen. So much so that I told DM I was taking some of it back to work with me to try in the vending machines.
No. I didn’t.