You’re never too old to learn something new.
Our students teach us about this, and about perseverance of the human spirit, time and time again.
David and Cher (last names omitted for privacy reasons) have been tutoring together since November of 2016. David is a high-functioning mentally handicapped individual, said has a staff member that accompanies him wherever he goes. David's staff member noted that David’s “drive” to learn how to read and write stems from a very specific goal: David really wants to learn how to drive.
“Did you know he takes the DMV test every day after lunch? Every. Day. That’s dedication. I mean, most of the time he passes the written test — sometimes he fails. But he really wants to learn,” said David’s staff member.
At the age of 49, David decided it was time he went back to school and got a tutor. He chose to come to the Literacy Council of Grand Island to work on his education. David has a high-school diploma in special education and is considered to be an ABE or Adult Basic Education student; English is David’s first language, but he has been unable to read or write in English.
David’s told his tutor, Cher, that all he wants to do is learn, “reading, writing, and math.”
This past summer, Cher decided that David was not being as productive as she thought he could be; she wanted to challenge David a bit more, so she moved their lessons to the Grand Island Public Library to take advantage of their Summer Reading Program.
David began to excel!
Before the summer of 2017, David had refused to finish even one book every couple of weeks. He was totally disinterested. Once he was faced with the challenge presented to him by the Summer Reading Program, however, he was determined to read. In only a couple of weeks, David read over 630 minutes and he has continued to check out library books regularly ever since.
Cher, David’s tutor, used to be an Elementary School teacher, and believes that her experience with children has helped her immensely to work through the types of problems she faces in regards to how they approaching David's learning style.
When asked about David and his progress, Cher said, “I really admire him and his desire to self-improve. He didn’t have to come back to school and try to learn how to read. He really wanted to do so. I remember hearing that he started out on the computer [in the Literacy Council’s Language and Learning Lab] back in March of 2016, and sometime around September he announced that he thought he might be ready for a tutor. Course, he had to wait until I became a volunteer to be paired with me, but really I think he’s doing great!”