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“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” ~Winston Churchill


A Message to Tristan

 

Computer screen shot of Michael Burgess with a big smile on his face.  Thumbnail photos on right are of Terrie Noland, Tristan and Mrs. York, Alexis, and Dave--all smiling!



 

Last week we told you about eighth-grader Tristan and his accomplishment of reading an entire book for the first time in his life, sharing an interview with him recorded by Learning Ally staff member Terrie Noland.  The book Tristan read was Swing, by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess--a wonderful story about people struggling to find their way in a confusing, complicated world.



 

Swing book cover: stylized image African American young man walking with backpack, book, and baseball bat, surrounded by music symbols and musical instruments traditionally used in jazz.


 

In response to this post, Literature Community Lead Alexis Bourbeau arranged for Learning Ally’s narrator for Swing, Michael Burgess, to record a message to Tristan, congratulating him and encouraging him to continue.  In a heartwarming video, Tristan, Tristan’s teacher Mrs. York, Terrie Noland, and Production Team staff members Alexis Bourbeau and Dave Kozemchak listen to Michael’s message and talk about Tristan’s great accomplishment, encouraging him to continue his quest for great books about subjects he’s interested in.  To watch that video, click here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XyNGpEPeY0E&feature=youtu.be

 

In addition, at the end of the video is a follow-up email sent by Mrs. York:  

 


 

Special thanks to Alexis and Michael for making this moment possible!






 

Colorful graphic of celebratory confetti and streamers rising up from festive party hat-like cones


 

Metrics Update for this week:

 

  • Our readers increased to 206,406

 

  • We had 44,925 reading at frequency*



 

This is why we all do this work:  to encourage and inspire struggling yet eager learners to explore the possibilities before them, and to help them succeed in school and beyond.

 

Happy June, everyone!  Thank you for all you're doing to help Tristan and other students like him!



 

*at frequency = students are reading books multiple times during the school year, with a general target of thirty times (more for lower grades, less for upper grades).  Our data shows that most of these students read for at least 20 minutes each time.


The Journey Begins

 

Reading Specialist Katherine York and eighth-grader Tristan stand in front of her classroom door.  They are both wearing bright blue Learning Ally t-shirts, and have big smiles on their faces.  Tristan is holding a copy of the book he read, Swing by Kwame Alexander.


 

Every day I see students who have lost faith in themselves, but I also let them know that I believe in them.  That is where their journey begins.

 

Reading Specialist Katherine York works with students at Walt Whitman Middle School in Fairfax, Virginia, and sees a lot of variation in the reading levels of her students...including teenagers who have never read an entire book before.  Click on this link to listen to a conversation between Mrs. York and eighth-grader Tristan: thanks to her encouragement, Kwame Alexander’s great writing, and Learning Ally’s audiobooks (including our volunteers’ dedication to the art of narration), Tristan has just completed his first book ever...and plans to read more!  

 

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ThvNahjH4sxXvITIQXEhtRZP5KqmuV5o/view?ts=5ce408da


 

Mrs. York recently wrote a blog post for Learning Ally, discussing the challenges many students face that prevent them from achieving reading fluency, and what she is doing to improve their chances of success; click here to read what she has to say:

 

https://learningally.org/Solutions-for-School/Educator-Blog/keeping-it-100-for-my-struggling-readers




 

Colorful graphic of celebratory confetti and streamers rising up from festive party hat-like cones


 

Metrics Update for this week:

 

  • Our readers increased to 205,005

 

  • We had 44,421 reading at frequency*

 

  • We’ve had over 135 million pages read--an increase of 67% over last year for school readers!


 

What a great way to start Memorial Day weekend--thanks, everyone!


 

*at frequency = students are reading books multiple times during the school year, with a general target of thirty times (more for lower grades, less for upper grades).  Our data shows that most of these students read for at least 20 minutes each time.