News / USA

Older Volunteers Help Children Learn to Read

Older Volunteers Help Children Learn to Readi
X
March 22, 2013 12:10 AM
Illiteracy is a problem in many of the world’s poorest countries. Even in wealthier nations like the United States, many children struggle with reading and writing. But in 19 cities across the country, the volunteers of Experience Corps are helping youngsters learn to read. The volunteers, all over 50, work with students in low-income areas. VOA’s Deborah Block visited a school in Washington where Experience Corps is making a difference.
Older Volunteers Help Children Learn to Read
Deborah Block
Illiteracy is a problem in many of the world’s poorest countries.  Even in wealthier nations like the United States, many children struggle with reading and writing.  But in 19 cities across the country, the volunteers of Experience Corps are helping youngsters learn to read.  The volunteers, all over 50, work with students in low-income areas.

Eight-year-old Kenasia Howard is reading about native Americans. She enjoys the story but says some words are difficult for her.

“Big words, and sometimes small words, I forget," she said.

She's reading with Sandy Morgan, who joined Experience Corps three years ago, after she retired. Morgan has been meeting Kenasia at Miner Elementary School twice a week for six months.  

“We built a rapport and trust and we just made reading fun," said Morgan.

She says youngsters feel comfortable with the older volunteers, who have much to offer.

“Most of us are parents and grandparents," she said. "We get through to them. We just talk to them calmly, but we definitely have to have the patience. But we have learned that over the years through experience.”

When they are reading, the children may have trouble focusing, get their letters mixed up or add words that aren't there.

Dajah Staton faces all those problems.  Linda Nelson is working with the 9-year-old, who only reads at a beginner's level.  Nelson says she encourages Dajah when the girl feels like giving up.

“You keep on, you keep trying, you keep doing, and it will open up a whole other world for you if you read a story and understand it," said Nelson.

Dajah’s mother, Florita Staton,  is grateful for the help from Experience Corps.  

“Without them, I don’t know where she would be. Maybe she’d still be behind from where she is," said Staton.

The adult literacy rate in the United States is more than 97 percent, but a national reading test indicates that almost 40 percent of 7 and 8-year-olds do not have basic reading skills.  Studies have shown that those children are more likely to drop out of school eventually. And children from low-income families are even more likely to leave.

Sydney Gibson doesn’t want that to happen to the students he tutors, including 8-year-old Damoni Rodgers.

“I’m going to try to make sure that they leave by the end of the day knowing a little more than they came in with," said Gibson.

Damoni, who has trouble concentrating, says her reading has improved since she started working with Gibson.

“And if I don’t get it right, he just says, ‘Next time... You tried your best, though,'" said Damoni.

Sandy Morgan says most of the students who work with Experience Corps tutors improve their reading by 60 percent.

"I have seen my little girl’s reading improve tremendously," said Morgan. "Not only does she read accurately but now her speed has come up, so now she’s reading and moving along progressively.”

She says the volunteers' experience - and attention - is making the difference.

You May Like

AU Takes Action on Boko Haram, Defers on S. Sudan

African Union is moving forward with a request for a military force to stop the spread of Boko Haram insurgency in West Africa; Ban Ki-moon welcomes decision to form a five-nation force More

Mass Protests Held for 58 Killed in Pakistani Shi'ite Mosque Bombing

Thousands of Shi'ite Muslims took to the streets across Pakistan Saturday to protest a powerful bomb blast at a mosque in Sindh province during Friday prayers, killing dozens of people More

Williams Wins Australian Open with Straight-Set Victory over Sharapova

The win is Serena Williams' sixth in Australia, and her 19th overall Grand Slam title More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid