ST LOUIS - Back in April, I was working with my champion, Antasia, on a new book that was just slightly above her level. She has some difficulties with producing content and writing sometimes, but she is excellent at picking up new words and blend sounds, and I use that to build her confidence. I went over the blends we already knew on the board and introduced our new sound, /ch/, and drew a picture of a chick to help her remember it. Then we set about reading Clifford and the Chick. Antasia struggled at various points with bigger words and the occasional "Magic e" controlled long vowel sound, and she had to repeatedly look at the board to remember the /ch/ sound. When she struggles, I tend to let her, because she doesn't give up. And in this instance, she really struggled and she really didn't give up. I guided her until we got through the whole book and then we had a talk.
"I read the book."
"Yes! You did! But what made me really happy was when you stayed focused and figured things out, even when they were difficult for you. That's very good to see, and it will help you both in school and life."
"How does that make you feel?"
"I feel proud of myself."
"Well, I'm proud of you, too," I said, smiling.
Matthew Kutz served with the AmeriCorps St. Louis Education Team at Woodward Elementary during Year 17. After working for Sports Illustrated's photography department for several years, he decided to attend medical school and joined AmeriCorps St. Louis to begin a life of service. His experiences in AmeriCorps have strongly influenced his decision to become a pediatrician.