Each semester, AmeriCorps’ Project MARS collects “Great Stories” from its members in which they reflect on their experiences mentoring in the classroom and the progress they see students making. This month’s pre-pandemic story comes from Madisyn Belanger.
AB is a very sweet child. He has experienced a lot of difficulty before coming to school. He has many medical problems that require him to take daily medications. These medications definitely have an impact on his ability to learn in school.
He is also someone who excels with one-on-one attention. Without that attention, his motivation and quality of work decline drastically. He can go from writing 0-100 in about 25 minutes to writing 0-4 in an hour. In a classroom of 21 other kindergartners, it can be extremely difficult to give him the one-on-one time he needs throughout the day.
I personally did not expect him to learn letters and letter sounds well enough to start books this year. However, AB blew away my expectations and finally achieved it!! Overall, this means he gets more of that one-on-one time that he needs to succeed.
Because he is in books now, I have the opportunity to sit down with him and teach him how to use the letter sounds he worked so hard to learn in order to read a book. It also means that he is showing that he can put in the work to catch up with his peers.
We still have hard days with reading. Most days he comes to my table and refuses to work and claims that he cannot read, despite having read to me in the past. This leads to a lot of frustration on my part for multiple reasons. However, I think he is slowly realizing that hard work pays off. I think he sees that during independent reading time, he is finally able to understand the words in the books he picks.
Seeing him slowly build excitement for reading has been so rewarding to me! I hope that he continues to try hard during our time together and grow a love for reading.