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    Read to a Student, Transform A Life
    Posted on 12/03/2019

    Read to a Student, Transform A Life

    By Lori Cohen, Reading Partners volunteer

    “The Big Dark is Coming” read the headline of the October 16, 2019 Seattle Times; however, it did not feel dark at all as I headed into Broadview-Thomson K-8 School to tutor young readers that morning.

    This north Seattle public school is a bright, diverse and dynamic place even on Seattle’s darkest days.

    The staff work hard to make the school welcoming for every student. “We Believe in You!” is called out in big letters upon entry. Bulletin boards throughout the school are colorful and full of the hard work of the students. Maps show where students and their families come from, with stories of family traditions included, and creative art is abundant.

    To improve reading skills for Broadview-Thomson’s 624 students, the school joined with Reading Partners, a national non-profit organization with a 20-year, 10-state track record of improving reading levels of students who participate. Reading Partners provides a detailed curriculum that trained volunteers use during one-on-one tutoring sessions with students.

    We know that reading skills are fundamental to a child’s ability to progress in school and in life. Reading Partners came to Seattle in 2014 and now partners with five low income schools in the city.

    Last year, I was proud to be one of 454 volunteers that tutored 268 students in Seattle. I was so impressed with the curriculum and its positive impact on student learning that I enrolled this school year as well.

    Working one-on-one with a student is gratifying, and more importantly, it is a critical part of the student’s path to success. Students who are involved in the Reading Partner program often show tremendous progress when given a little extra attention that cannot be afforded in the classroom.

    At the end of the last school year, Reading Partners gave each student a bag of about five books, and I added a few to the bag for my student that I knew she would like. When I saw her this year, she said that she had read all the books we gave her! She was beaming when she read aloud to me and I was astounded at the progress made over just one year of Reading Partners.

    The smile of a child who gains confidence as they read aloud is magic even on the darkest days of winter. Consider a donation of your time or books to this organization that is making a huge difference in our community.

    A photo of Lori CohenLearn more about Seattle Excellence, the district's strategic plan, and Seattle Super Readers.

    Learn more about Reading Partners.

    Lori Cohen is a Reading Partners volunteer and retired from the Environmental Protection Agency. Her favorite place as a child was the library and she loves helping to grow young readers.