By Danielle Anderson, 2020-2021 Literacy First Tutor
Working with students in a one-to-one setting with Literacy First gives us a special opportunity to really get to know our students and develop relationships with them. Not only does this help us better support our students and their learning, but it makes our work so much more fun and meaningful. Now that the end of the school year is quickly approaching, I’m realizing how well I’ve gotten to know my students and just how much I’ll miss them after the year is over.
With students learning from home this year, I’ve been able to get to know some of my student’s family members, too. This unique opportunity allows me to understand my students’ support system at home and get their families involved in their reading and share the successes of the students with their families. I’ve met parents, grandparents, siblings, and even some cousins of a few of my students. One time after a tutoring lesson, my student brought her tablet outside and over to a trampoline full of kids so I could meet 6 of her cousins and wish her little brother a happy birthday. My students also love to show me their pets and as a pet-lover myself, I have a hard time being anything but thrilled when there’s a distraction from a four legged friend.
As much as I know about my students, I’m always surprised that they know and remember so many little things about me. I am touched by the little ways that kids express their thoughtfulness. One of my first graders always ends our lesson by drawing a yellow heart and yellow star, saying “This one is you and this one is me!” because she knows yellow is my favorite color. Another one of my students recently told me that she didn’t want stickers as a reward anymore because she would much rather have “story time” so we could just talk. There are so many other similar moments to these that make me realize how important positive relationships are for our students.
Getting to know all of my students this year has been such a meaningful and joyful experience for me. I am thankful for each and every one of my little reading buddies and the happiness they bring.