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School support from volunteer reading tutors

FEvery syllable is in drought. “Leon and I help mom,” he read from a first-year primer, which means: Farid whispered a single letter, stringed them together, and when he was sure what it said, he would Speak very clearly. Or when he is impatient. “Doing housework,” Farid said. You can really see how relieved this boy from Frankfurt Elementary School is—his real name is different, like all the kids described in this article—is: he wrote again A line! “Almost right, you guessed it right,” he replied, “but look carefully at the end of the last word.” Farid whispered again. “At home,” he said, and now they are both very happy, the reading boy and his adult audience: wrote another line.

Before the lockdown, adult listeners were regulars at Farid School. Volunteer reading tutors usually sit in a comfortable corner with a child once a week during class time and provide him with what he is best at learning to read: Full attention and patience. A little hint or help when something goes wrong. Give encouragement when it is difficult, and give recognition when it works. Saskia Ghribi, the principal of an elementary school in the Schwanheim district of Frankfurt, mentioned that the work of a reading tutor provided great support: “When learning to read in the classroom, there is often not enough time for individual practice, especially for children who need support. At home, some of the children’s parents simply don’t have the time or skills to help them.”

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