Christine’s first language was Cantonese and as an elementary student learning English she struggled with reading. In 8th grade she applied to be a reading coach. “I wanted to give back to kids who were like me,” she said. Christine was also excited to join her cousins, Michelle, Jack and Jennifer, who were already Team Read coaches.
“Truthfully, Team Read is a hard job and it takes a lot of time and genuine connection. Each year, it feels like I start all over again because each student is so different,” she admits. Last year—Christine’s fourth in the program—her expertise, determination, and patience were put to the test when she met her student reader, Mustaf. He was in second grade and reading at a kindergarten level. Like Christine, English was not the language spoken in his home. He struggled with even the most basic words. After the first day, Christine went to her site coordinator for guidance, who told her to start with the basics.
Christine experimented with several learning techniques to keep Mustaf motivated and engaged, including alphabet flashcards, writing practice, word quizzes and games. By the end of the year, with Christine’s dedicated support, and his hard work, Mustaf’s reading had improved significantly.
“He progressed from being a non-reader with no understanding of letter to sound relations to finishing his second-grade year with new skills and confidence,” his teacher shared. “He increased many reading levels and was very excited about self-selecting books.”
A senior this year, Christine is tutoring at Thurgood Marshall Elementary and helping her new student, Jabarie, become a great reader. She believes this experience has prepared her for the future in many ways. She’s become more confident and assertive, while gaining valuable leadership skills. Christine also learned that patience and determination can lead to success. “Team Read was my family from 8th – 12th grade. My future seems much easier and less mysterious because of Team Read.”
Note: Some names have been changed to protect the privacy of our students.