OPINION: Is tutoring for you?


Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints

I am a really old geezer.

Born in 1937 I started first grade in 1943. In those days there wasn’t Kindergarten, you just started first grade. I was the youngest student in the class, and although the teacher was good I wasn’t learning how to read.

After six weeks the first report card went home, and my mother informed me we were going to read 30 minutes every day when I got home from school. I could have a glass of milk and one chocolate chip cookie. She would set the timer in the kitchen for 30 minutes, and she would read to me.

We didn’t have a Dick and Jane reader; she simply chose a book to read. A dictionary was our reading buddy. As she read to me I slowly figured out that any word was simply a combination of letters that sounded the same every time.

To this day I don’t know a single reading rule, but I memorized the sound of the various letter combinations. By the time I finished first grade I could read just about anything. If I didn’t know what the word meant I looked it up in the dictionary.

I married a woman who was really big on multiplying and replenishing the earth. We have 13 children. She is a former elementary school teacher, and taught all our children how to read. Once a week we would go to our local library and check out a huge box of books. They were paid a penny a book to read.

After I retired I finally decided I should pay back our elementary school for surviving our children, and volunteer to be a tutor through the Oasis reading program. I have tutored third-grade boys for five years.

Four of the five years the boys came from single-mom families. I have decided that all single moms will have a special space in heaven. The typical single mom is up early, commutes to work, returns home and works nonstop until she collapses in bed at the end of a very long day.

From my tutoring experiences I have come to the conclusion that 10 to 15 percent of students will never learn how to read well unless they get one-on-one help.

No one wants to be the class dummy, so if a student can’t read he or she will say nothing. Sometimes they become the class clown, or worse a discipline problem who winds up being suspended from school frequently. As the years go on they often drop out of school. Gang life and/or minimum wage jobs are often in their future.

The trades today are suffering from the lack of qualified candidates for apprenticeships because many young adults are graduating without the reading or math skills required. At the same time, the retiree pool of the trades is growing.

Wouldn’t it be great for the trades and students if retirees would make themselves available to become tutors? Why not check out the possibility at your local public school.


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