Scores of Spokane bookworms are spending their evenings in reading classes this week, learning how to tutor the city’s littlest readers.
They’re using $85,000 in new books provided by Spokane School District 81.
And after six hours of intensive training, they’ll hit the classrooms in 14 elementary schools, helping the kids who are struggling the most.
“Bond with that child and give them the idea that reading is the most wonderful thing in the world,” teacher Linda Lee told about 40 new tutors Wednesday night.
Parents, grandparents, college students and retired teachers sat in pint-sized chairs in the Madison Elementary School library and listened intently.
They heard about kids who desperately need one-on-one attention, kids who forget to read from left to right.
Some parents asked questions, wondering if they’d gone wrong with their own children.
One woman said she had told her daughter that periods end sentences so she can take a breath.
“But then she was hyperventilating!” said the woman.
Another woman worried because her young daughter memorizes and recites books instead of reading them.
Feel lucky, said Lee. She’s taken a giant step just by considering herself a reader. “Many of the kids you will be working with do not see themselves “They can provide one-on-one instruction, which teachers have very little time to give,” said Jan Geer, who teaches second-graders at Westview Elementary School. “It’s heartfelt, it’s sincere. What’s a more wonderful role model for a child?”
Administrators are spending about $100,000 from general funds on books and training for the program, inspired by school board members who wanted more support for struggling readers.
Schools Superintendent Gary Livingston said he expects exciting results. “I think we’re going to see some real improvements in young people who are reading below level.”
Phyllis Richter plans to help make that happen at Westview Elementary, where her 6-year-old granddaughter attends school.
Richter never had time to tutor when she was raising her own children. Now, she said, she can’t think of a better gift she could offer.
“If you can read, you can find out everything about the world,” Richter said. “And understanding the world helps all of us to love everybody better.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WHERE TO CALL Adults who want to tutor struggling readers can contact principals at these Spokane elementary schools: Balboa, Hamblen, Indian Trail, Jefferson, Lincoln Heights, Madison, Moran Prairie, Mullan Road, Pratt, Ridgeview, Roosevelt, Westview, Wilson, Woodridge