Friday, May 30, 2008

Celebration Time

I was the proverbial kid in the candy shop picking out books for the tutoring group that I had organized and which was sponsored by Christ Covenant Church. Not too many things can make me happier than being told I could spend whatever I wanted to on books—besides giving the books away and seeing the children's excited responses. On Monday as I headed towards the cash register at Border's with two large piles of books, I hoped that I had chosen ones that would interest the kids—you never can tell if you'll hit home or not. I picked some of my and my own children's favorites—The Yearling, Artemis Fowl
(now in a graphic novel), a collection of Tintin stories, and Shiloh
were among the stack.

Tuesday afternoon we held our end-of-the-year-celebration at one of the tutor's homes. Each child had the opportunity to ride a horse, which was no doubt the highlight of the party. However, I think a close second was that everyone received one or two books. Quoting Linda Gambrrell's message in a recent Reading Today,I told them that one of the most important things they could do over the summer was to read. I hope they got the message!

One of the youngest, a struggling kindergarten reader, looked at his new collection of Frog and Toad and said, "We have these books in school." His little face scrunched up and he seemed confused as to why he was receiving a book that obviously belonged in his classroom.

I squatted down next to him and said, "Now you have your own copy." After that, he walked around showing it to his friends and promised me that he would read it to me in September. I wish I had thought to take his picture, or one of the boy leafing through his book on dinosaurs, or one of his friend who was looking at a book about cars and trying to figure out what a Mad Lib was. I was too busy giving out books, happy that my selections had found new homes with growing readers.

This time of year, many of you receive thank you notes from students and parents. Here are three that made my time with these students worth every minute:

"A simple thank you does not seem to be enough words to say how much we appreciate you and all you've done week after week." (From the parent who weekly brought the 12 students to the church.)

Without editing, from two students:

"Thank you for helping me with my homework and stuff and reading homework to. It was really fun having a tutor for me." A 4th grader.

"Thank you for doing so much for us. We all know it's the last time we will come to tutoring. We loved your tutoring. I hope you injoyed our company. And I want to wish you all a happy and safe summer vacation." A 4th grader.

Makes me look forward to September. How about you?

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