Brighter Paths: Personalized Tutoring Illuminates Wilma’s Reading Journey

By Eric Steckel | May 2, 2024

Your Support Sparked Creative Solutions to Conquer Reading Challenges
Personalized tutoring illuminates Wilma's reading journey.

Through your gifts, children receive critical one-on-one tutoring, which can lead to creative ways of navigating learning challenges.

Wilma is a bright third-grader making incredible strides in her reading journey. Thanks to the nurturing guidance of Succeeding by Reading tutors Merrie Dillow and Barbara Thompson, Wilma is not just overcoming hurdles but blossoming into a confident reader.

When Wilma started personalized tutoring with Merrie and Barbara, she was reading in the pre-K Orange Zone. She struggled with identifying letters and their corresponding sounds, which are the phonetic building blocks of reading. In most cases, children learn this before kindergarten.

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Wilma is an English language learner. Her mother also struggles with reading. Wilma was excited to receive an extra Orange Zone workbook to bring home so she could practice with her mom. “I taught my mom everything I know!” Wilma proudly shared.

Navigating challenges with creative thinking.

“We experienced one stumbling block in her learning that impacted her self-confidence. It had to do with letters that sound differently in Spanish than English. G, H, and J don’t sound the same in Spanish,” Merrie explained. “It took me a while to understand and narrow down the problem and solve it.”

The solution? Flash cards with pictures!

Clinic coordinator Pia Dandan suggested creating index cards with pictures that helped Wilma associate the different sounds with the appropriate letter. For example, a picture of a little girl jumping helped Wilma remember the J sound.

Personalized tutoring - Wilma and Merrie Dillow

Through your generosity, Wilma is blossoming into a confident reader.

“Once she could remember the sounds, she leaped that gap in phonics, and to my surprise, she knew a lot more than I understood! It was like one thing kept her from moving forward on our timeline. She had a lot of skills already in place, but we couldn’t understand that because of this stumbling block.”

Wilma’s progress has come in leaps and bounds.

After struggling for months in the Orange Zone, Wilma quickly advanced to the next level “with flying colors.” She is now on to three-letter and short vowel words and reading at an advanced kindergarten level.

Although Wilma has a long literacy journey to get to grade level, her renewed self-confidence has spurred her on. “She is eager to participate. It flows more easily. She’s not fighting something anymore,” Merrie said.

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