Celebrating our Literacy Tutors for National Reading Month

March is National Reading Month in honor of Dr. Seuss’s Birthday – a great reason to celebrate our amazing Literacy Tutors! 

Our Literacy Program uses research based progressions to help people with Down syndrome learn to read using a framework created by experts.  Although we give our tutors a framework to work from, they bring in their student’s interests to create meaningful and relevant lessons.  Today, we highlight the hard work of our amazing tutors. 

Why it matters:  GiGi’s Playhouse Madison is 99% volunteer run – we wouldn’t be here without our volunteers.  In 2023 we had 22 tutors work with 24 students for a total of 48 unique tutor/student pairs over 3 sessions. 

Best of All Moments

Best of All is the daily challenge to do a little better than you did the day before. It’s continual, measurable, always celebrated and it never ends. Our Literacy Tutors celebrate Best of All moments throughout their sessions. Here is a glimpse of our Literacy Best of All moments.

Young tutoring student with Down syndrome  holding a piece of paper and smiling during virtual tutoring

Peyton and Alexa have been working together virtually since Fall 2022.  Peyton celebrated several Best of All moments in the last few weeks:   Alexa did amazing reading “Doctor Jen” from Raz plus and almost read the entire thing independently! This was a definite improvement from Fall 2023, reading the word “everyone” without any assistance, and quickly reading some words with the vowel buddies she’s been working on (eg, “feed”, “keeps”, and “wait”).

Computer screen during virtual tutoring

Jes has been working with her student, Belle, since 2019.  They figured out how to transition to virtual tutoring together and have continued virtually every since.  Belle struggled with open and closed syllables.  She’s a great reader, but had difficulty sounding out the longer words.  At the end of last year, Belle mastered this progression!  Jes believed that Belle could learn anything with repetition.  Jes was determined to find the activity that helped Belle understand this concept.  Jes shared “Last night, Belle showed me that she has a FULL understanding of Open and Closed syllables by getting a perfect score on an online syllable game that we played last night. This is about 2 years in the making!! I’m so proud of her!” 

Tutuor and student smiling

Penn is one of our interns and has returned this session as our Literacy Intern. In addition to continuing tutoring his two students, he is making sure our literacy tutors have the resources they need.

Penn shared “Nicholas is working hard to strengthen his literacy skills. During our last session, he read 5 consecutive pages of a new book without pause or assistance, his all-time best! It has been wonderful to see the progress Nicholas makes each week.”

Tutor and student smiling holding a certificate

Penn shared “Kayla had an amazing start to the Spring session! She confidently read an F-level book during our first session back. I was blown away! Kayla’s determination and positivity make her such a strong reader.” This is Penn’s second session with Kayla. Penn was blown away when Kayla started this session. She practiced her reading between sessions and came back this session without skipping a beat.

Erin and Lauren are two of our new tutors this session. They are tutoring students that have been with our program for awhile. We keep track of our student’s progress through our progress trackers. This way, Erin and Lauren were able to pick up right where Thomas and Ben’s previous tutors left off.

Erin shared a best of all moment that happened with Thomas. “Thomas and I were reading a book on Raz Plus. He came across a tricky word but didn’t get discouraged. Instead we worked through the letters and sounds to figure it out! ”

Lauren shared “Ben’s best of all moment so far has been mastering the letter B, for “Ben” and “Barbie” (one of his favorite movies right now). He has also gotten good at reading all the names in his family book!”

We need you! We need volunteers to be able to run our amazing free programing, including tutors for our One on One Literacy Program. All training is provided and most of our tutors come to us with little to no experience. Our Tutor Applications are now open for our Summer Session. Sign up TODAY!

Student applications open April 22nd. All applications close May 13th.

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