A story about one tutor’s experience in her own words:
AR Kids Read is just the organization I was looking for to give of my time and talents as a retired teacher
looking for a project. Sure, I’d like to help a third grader be a better reader. Maybe some of my love of
reading would rub off on a new generation!
I didn’t care what school I was assigned to. Essential, though, was to feel that my time and efforts were
going to an area where the need was greatest. So, when Charlie Conklin, director of AR Kids Read,
suggested that Southwest Little Rock had several schools that are under served, I stepped right up.
Chicot Primary School out beyond Baseline Road was my destination. I figured it would take me a
half hour to get there. Okay, I could make that commitment. But if I spend an hour in transportation,
I figured I could easily spend more time working with the kids there in Chicot. So, I signed up to
tutor 2 hours, and work with a total of 4 kids, one on one.
The training program and the screening process were very helpful. The reading coordinator at Chicot,
Kim Hollingsworth, facilitated my orientation, introduced me to the teachers whom I would be working
with, and I was off and running—a little apprehensive about committing to the 11 week program. Would
I really like it? Could I really make a difference in these students’ lives and reading ability? Would the
school environment be intimidating? I had the questions, but they were all laid to rest by the encouraging
and welcoming atmosphere.
It was easy! Easy to make the trip down; easy to spend a half hour with each of the 1st and 2nd graders I
worked with (Chicot, as it turns out, does not have 3rd grade students!); easy to bond with my special
students! I found myself not wanting to miss a single Thursday with my kids! And as a matter of fact, it was
easy to continue along with the same students the whole year, after the initial commitment of 11 weeks
I am eager to get my friends involved in this very worthwhile endeavor to reach our young people. We can
give them a little boost, and supplement in our small ways the enormous efforts put forth by the classroom
teacher. We just don’t know the power of a word of encouragement, or a shared laugh, or a new insight in
some reading project started. The future will tell! I think all kids benefit from personal attention, and even in
our busy lives we can find the time to do what we think is important.