So it’s the thick of summer, and the least likely time I thought I’d be asked to be a reading tutor—not that I spend much time pondering when such an event will occur. Nonetheless, I was asked several weeks ago if I’d be interested in helping out with Capstone’s Summer Reading Camp. That was actually the first I’d heard of this camp. I’d suggested Capstone facilitate a summer reading camp several times in the past, but back then we hadn’t the resources. I was excited that a program had been started, but I’d never tutored before and, honestly, hadn’t much confidence in my ability to do so. On top of that, if I agreed to tutor I’d have to give up several lunch breaks—precious, precious lunch breaks.
I know, it’s selfish. Maybe a little pathetic, even. So I took a chance and signed on. Let me tell you, I’ll never regret it. I was paired up with an awesome 8-year-old we’ll call “G.” G struggled a lot with reading, but he was a bright kid with a vibrant personality and a quick sense of humor. Once we got acquainted he opened up to me about some of the tumult in his young life. Suddenly I liked the kid even more. I watched him struggle with our lessons daily, but I could tell that, bit-by-bit, he was getting it. More importantly, he was engaged in reading. He really wanted to improve. By the end of the camp’s 10-day session G had helped to write his own “book.” When I met him at the ice cream social on the last day of camp, he ran up to me, wrapped me in a hug, and then proudly read me the story he’d written. With a little less composure, I probably would have spouted a tear or two, but I somehow kept it together.
Reading camp will resume for another session this fall. G is excited to come back. I’m pretty sure I’ll be there too.
-Mandy Robbins, Senior Editor