Like a Christmas Tree: One Student’s Story

Every day, David* comes to school in the same clothing. His peers make fun of him because he “smells.”
One day he got in trouble for placing a roll from his lunch tray into his pocket. In an attempt to explain
his behavior to his teacher, David said, “I don’t know if my mother will go to the store tonight.”


This is David’s life. He doesn’t have the supportive home life that a student struggling to read needs.


When David started working with his tutor, he was really struggling. He needed help learning to read;
he needed help learning to spell. However, one day after about an hour of working together, David’s
tutor says that he made remarkable progress…



“We were reading a very simple book about deserts; David had never heard about them. We read the book
several times and no matter how many times we read, or how many times I helped him sound it out, he
could never read the word ‘Sahara.’ I kept pointing to his head to help him remember ‘hair’ for the second
syllable. After several readings, he was finally able to say ‘Sahara’ and even spell it. He and I both were so
surprised when that moment came that his whole face just lit up like a Christmas tree.  After that day, no
matter which book we read or what words we worked on, I would always toss in, ‘How do you spell Sahara?’
And he’d spell it and smile.”

–David’s AR Kids Read tutor



Though David might not have a supportive home life where he is provided with the encouragement and
assistance needed to learn to read, he does have that at his school thanks to the compassion of an individual
who decided to donate her time to become an AR Kids Read tutor.


Tutors commit to providing one hour a week of their time for at least 12 weeks. During this time, tutors help
students with reading comprehension, and are rewarded with being able to watch their student’s progress.
Because tutors consistently work with the same student(s), students are more likely to learn. They are also
more likely to know that even if their home situation isn’t ideal, there is at least one person in the world who
truly cares about them and their future.


*Name has been changed out of respect for the privacy of participants.

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