BLOG POST WRITTEN BY: Adasyn Neuwirth, GiGi’s Raleigh Intern (Spring 2021)
My time spent in the learning lab this semester was a time of growth for both me and my participant. I had the pleasure of working with the warm and smiley Andrew, and his wonderful caretaker, Miss Joy for literacy tutoring. From the start of our sessions, it was very evident that Andrew and Miss Joy had a strong friendship, and I felt lucky to get to learn from them throughout our eight weeks together. On day one, I learned about Andrew’s interests consisting of Toy Story, The Wizard of Oz, and food, all things I could easily get behind!
Using the literacy resources provided by GiGi’s, Andrew and I took on a new letter each week, learning both the name of the letter and the sound and dancing to different songs in between. ABC Mouse gave us some great puzzles to work through to break up our different activities, my personal favorite being the farm animal puzzle where we would have to identify the different animals and where they fit into the picture. Andrew is a pro when it comes to animal sounds. At the end of each session, Andrew, Miss Joy and I would read through a book together, choosing a story that allowed us to practice our new letter of the day. Reading was a great way to wrap up our sessions for the day, making Andrew excited to read more at home, later in the week.
With all of our sessions being virtual, Microsoft Teams was a great tool to use to video chat with one another during our sessions and to message one another throughout the weeks with any questions or comments. With Miss Joy being right by Andrew’s side, she was able to provide positive reinforcement face-to-face with hugs and fist bumps, while I focused on virtual fist bumps as a form of encouragement. By the end of our eight weeks together, I think I finally got the timing down to bump in sync over the screen.
Although I missed meeting with Andrew in person each week, I am thankful for the technology that allowed us to still learn together virtually throughout the semester. We finally met for the first time in person last week when he attended GiGi’s in-person Handbells program! We were able to hang out and play some handbells together. We even got a picture to commemorate all of his hard work he completed during literacy tutoring! I am so thankful to have met Andrew and Miss Joy and learn from them about friendship, hard work, and growth.