I’ve been spending some time volunteering at Henry Elementary School. My job is pretty easy, I get to help a 5-year-old match letters to sounds.
Here’s how it goes – I lay the alphabet out in order from A – Z in front of me and my new friend. I show my friend a picture of a duck, for example. I then say “what’s this a picture of”, he says “duck”. I say “OK, what does duck start with”. He thinks and then responds, “duh, duh, duh, D!”. “You’re right” I tell him and then I ask him to find “D” in the alphabet. We do this for about 30 minutes at a time which I’ve learned is the limit for a 5 year old’s attention span but to be honest it’s the limit of mine as well – I sit still about as well as a five-year old.
I’ve learned a few other things as well. My new friend loves it. He has a blast and so do I. I’ve learned that he likes the attention as much as the lesson. I’ve also learned that my friend is a quick learner, after just a couple of lessons I see major improvement in his ability.
I’m not an educator but I am a parent and I do like kids. I’m not doing anything with my friend I don’t do with my own kid the only difference is I don’t think my friend gets the same attention at home. I hope to keep meeting with my friend for the rest of the school year, or at least as long as he’ll have me. I’d encourage you to consider volunteering a little bit of your time to give a local kid some attention. If you’re interested let me know and I’ll give you the details.
We can all use more friends and I promise you’ll learn more than your tutor partner. A little attention goes a long way and as long as you can spell “duck”, you’re qualified!