I'm sure she understood every word of it!
Literacy truly matters. “A student not reading at his or her grade level by the end of the third grade is four times less likely to graduate high school.” (readingpartners.org 10-7-2013) Also, “85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level, according to BeginToRead.com.” (Huffington Post: 9-6-2013)
We need Head Start and volunteers. If you can read, you can teach reading. Kids get so excited when their mentor shows up!
I volunteered at a nearby elementary school and helped out in a classroom. I noticed kids who couldn't read and asked if I could help teach them. This had to be approved. I committed to an hour at a specific time for each kid; twice weekly is good if you can manage this. Students are often assigned but I was allowed to continue working with mine, one-on-one. When I arrived, the child would practically glow; he/she felt special and so did I. Here are my “rules” for teaching literacy:
1. Learn what your students love. Buy them a simple book and tell them they can keep it when they can read it. One young boy loved dinosaurs, so I bought a simple child's book with great pictures. Children love receiving their own books that they can read!
2. Teach the sounds of the alphabet and how to sound out the words.
3. Give the student a small paper tablet. Write five new words from the book each time you meet. The student’s job is to copy and learn these words.
4. Enjoy! You're making a difference.