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Success Stories


Tutor Jackie:

When I began my tutoring work with Literacy Volunteers many years ago, I was assigned to an English-speaking student. His name was Rob. He was 22 years old and he couldn’t read–I mean not one word. He could name some of the 26 letters, but he had no idea what sounds they made.

We started with the consonants, which are pretty straightforward, and week after week we practiced, “If b-a-g is bag, what is r-a-g?” Silence. Occasionally he got it right, but I knew he was guessing—always looking to me for confirmation rather than knowing, feeling he was right. We tried some Language Experience activities, all based on his interest in car engines and identified some car -related sight words, which he didn’t learn. This went on for three months, meeting once or twice a week, with little progress. There was frustration all around and I was ready to give up and turn him over to another tutor. One more class, and that was it!

“Rob, listen and look at what I’ve written.” He looked bored. “If b-o-b is bob, and s-o-b is sob, what is . . .”

“I don’t know,” he interrupted. Then he perked up. “Wait a minute,” he said. “Wait. If b-o-b is bob, and s-o-b is sob, then ruh - ruh r-o-b is, is . . . .ROB,” he shouted. “ROB, that’s me, right,right?? That’s my name! I’m R-O-B Rob!”