Tammy Kelly has a favorite children’s book she likes to share with each and every child she mentors as a volunteer with the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program.
“I always read Make Way For Ducklings in the first session,” she says. “I find this book opens up so many avenues for discussion.”
Those early discussions are essential for Tammy and the nearly 4,500 Oasis tutors across the country meeting weekly with students in grades K-3 who need one-on-one support. The largest intergenerational program of its kind in the U.S., the Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program tackles a serious problem: Children who cannot read by fourth grade are apt to struggle throughout their school years and are more likely to drop out.
Tutors like Kelly are combating this issue one child at a time, and they each have their own strategies for connecting with their young friends. In addition to sharing her favorite book, Kelly uses journals, opportunities to create illustrations and calendars. She’s discovered that the children come to really count on those regular visits.
“I love seeing the children smile when they are happy to see me each week,” she says, adding that being a part of the progress they make with reading over the course of a year is also gratifying.
“I always feel good when a child wants to help me read and when they start to read with inflection,” she adds. “You don’t have to be an educator to become a tutor because Oasis provides training that prepares you. If you like children, this is a way to contribute to their success in the future.”
Oasis tutors volunteer in 19 cities. Since 1989, the program has reached more than 440,000 children. In October 2017, Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring was selected for recognition as a Generations United Program of Distinction.
To find out more, visit www.oasisnet.org/tutoring.