READ student Deborah and her tutor, Gray, won’t let COVID-19 stop them from learning! It’s business as usual for the pair… well, mostly.
Since May 2019, Deborah and Gray have been meeting every Wednesday. They became fast friends and rarely miss a meeting. “It’s like clockwork,” Deborah says. For almost a full year, the only thing that changed was the time they met (from noon to 10:00 AM). When they could not meet in person, they still managed to go through lessons over the telephone.
They have not missed a beat since the COVID-19 outbreak put a stop to their face-to-face meetings. Every Wednesday, Gray calls Deborah and they pick up where they left off. “She’s awesome!” Deborah says about Gray. “She’s very dedicated and sincere. She is a wonderful person and I am glad that we were matched together.”
“She’s very dedicated and sincere. She is a wonderful person and I am glad that we were matched together.” -Deborah
Gray agrees. “Deborah is a joy to work with and eager to learn. We see eye-to-eye on so many things.”
Deborah is certain that Gray’s ability to coach and critique her is just as good on the phone as in person. The first time they worked together on the phone, Deborah was surprised by how well it worked.
Gray helps Deborah work through lessons in the Challenger 8 workbook*. She follows along as Deborah reads out loud and will help her when she needs it. When Deborah does not know a word, Gray has her write sentences that use that word to help learn the definition. When she mispronounces a word, Gray asks her to go back and try it again until she has figured it out.
The Challenger 8 book provides many opportunities for Deborah to write. Deborah says Gray is very strict about her writing, but she appreciates the strictness. Gray knows that she’s strict, too, but sees that Deborah is making a lot of progress in her writing ability.
For Gray, the meetings add a sense of normalcy amid the current craziness. Stuck at home, she looks forward to her weekly conversations with Deborah. “I’m so glad we are able to continue our lessons via phone. I have all day every day. I look forward to our meetings during this crazy time.”
“I’m so glad we are able to continue our lessons via phone. I have all day every day. I look forward to our meetings during this crazy time.” -Gray
Once they finish the Challenger 8 workbook, they will move on to the last book in the series, Challenger 9. But they are in no rush. “When we realized we were getting to the end of the Challenger 8 book, we both said, ‘Let’s not go so fast!’” Gray says. She hopes their friendship will continue for years, even after their tutoring ends.
Lives continue to be changed through adult literacy, even though READ students and volunteers can’t meet in person. Thank you to all our volunteers, staff, and donors who make stories like this possible.
*The Challenger series is a curriculum designed by New Readers Press for adult readers. It develops reading, writing, and reasoning skills through high-interest fiction and nonfiction stories relevant to today’s adults. The books are commonly used by 1:1 tutor pairs at READ.