The end of the 2016-2017 school year marked CTA Billings’ 20th year being a Partner in Education with Newman Elementary! CTA first became involved with Newman through a reading tutor program, and it continues today. Each week, volunteers read with two students for about 15 minutes each, and a couple years ago, we added math tutoring! It’s hard to believe that 15 minutes a week can make such an impact, but the results don’t lie. This year, students in the reading tutoring program improved their reading fluency by an average of 2.2 words per week, above the predicted 1.4 words per week. The average overall words per minute increased from 62 to 88 words per minute!
In addition to helping add to students’ education, the relationships we develop are just as rewarding. Among CTA electrical designer Judy Zilch’s favorite things about tutoring is “when they trust you enough to tell you very personal things that made them happy or sad, they create a bond with you. And when one of them gave me his card (like he was giving me his business card), and his name was on it alongside a picture of a superhero.”
Many students continue to remember their tutors years later. CTA project manager Shannon Christensen: “Last year, a student I had read with several years prior came and found me at Girls in Science to say hi. I enjoyed visiting with her and hearing how she was now doing in middle school.”
After 19 years of being a reading tutor, CTA project coordinator Teresa Daniel is one of the program’s top advocates. “One of my favorite students was a second grader who told me that she wished I was part of her family! She wished I could be one of her grandmas. It amazed me how much I could mean to her by only spending 15 to 20 minutes a week with her.”
Thank you to all of the tutors, past and present! Without you, we wouldn’t be able to keep this program going year after year, impacting the students of our community so significantly. Here’s to another 20 years of reading and hugs!