PLC March Newsletter
Reader of the Year
I have been tutoring a student for two years through the Redwood City Library’s Project READ program. My student is now a fourth grader, eager to improve his reading and a lively and fun kid to be around. The challenge is that he is dyslexic, so reading is not easy for him. For the first year, he made little progress, but with an hour each day in his school spent on special reading instruction this year, he is rapidly catching up to his grade’s expected reading level.
As is often the case with long term students, one’s relationship becomes very close. I believe he sees me and treats me as his grandfather, and I reciprocate by talking about life and school issues as well as occasionally playing phonics and memory games during our hour together each week.
I learned that he wanted to participate in an extracurricular group in school, but the cost, although modest, was prohibitive for him and his single mother. I asked why that group was special and he said “because you can earn a trophy!” This gave me an idea.
I play senior softball and attend tournaments throughout the West for my 70-year-old-plus team. At one major tournament, our team won the championship and was given a large team trophy for our sponsor. Our sponsor declined the honor, saying his business office was already overfilled with trophies of various sponsored teams. Because I had a good tournament, I was designated the MVP for my play and given the large loving cup.
It was quite a behemoth to display in my home and my wife let me know that it was not long for this world because of its unwieldy size. It had already been banished from the coffee table to the cabinet when I had an idea. I would reward this student’s progress by awarding him the trophy!
I went to a local trophy shop, told them I wanted to change the nameplate from its softball reference to one honoring “Reader of the Year” with the student’s name in big letters. When I told them of the circumstances of being a volunteer tutor with a struggling child, they gladly made a new nameplate and did it for free!
My student was excited and delighted when I presented him the trophy at the end of 2016 at our weekly session. I had my wife come since she was my backup tutor when I couldn’t be present. We made a little ceremony of it. Now, my student tells me, it is displayed in a place of honor in his home.
PLC Board Member