Building relationships through a shared love of reading
City Year Cleveland AmeriCorps member Adam Zahren serves at Fullerton School of Academics. He worked with Jolene*, a student who was repeating the third grade because she had challenges with passing the reading guarantee the prior year. During the class reading time, Jolene would cringe when it was her turn to read out loud and often didn’t want to participate. One day when the two were working together in the City Year room, Mr. Adam and Jolene began going through a box of books donated by the Cleveland Book Bank. Mr. Adam came across one of his favorite childhood books, Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire. When Jolene heard about how much he enjoyed reading it when he was young and when she saw the fun pictures, she decided she wanted to read it too!
They worked together to read the book and Adam allowed Jolene the take the book home so she could continue to practice while building her confidence and fluency on her own. Mr. Adam could not believe it when just one week later during the class reading time, Jolene surprised him by raising her hand to read her new favorite book aloud to the whole class. He proudly stood next to her, showing the class the pictures as Jolene read the book with confidence and proficiency. She continues to read the book regularly and when asked, she estimates that she’s read it more than ten times. We’re proud to watch Jolene grow in her abilities and gain more confidence in herself every day. Mr. Adam continues to encourage her to read by giving her new books to explore. She can’t get enough!
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