Every week the Illinois State Library honors a recipient of one of the literacy grants awarded by Secretary of State Jesse White and the Illinois State Library Literacy Office. This week they shine the spotlight on the Regional Office of Education-DeWitt/Livingston/McLean in Normal.
Sadly, people who read poorly are often shamed by this fact. Recently, a nineteen year old woman reluctantly visited the Adult Basic Education (ABE) class at the Regional Office of Education. She sat in class with her face covered by her oversized sweatshirt, refusing to make eye contact and answering questions with just one word.
Although she had been in special education programs, her reading level was very low. Tutors noticed that she could read a few words by sounding them out carefully. Since phonics seemed to work, the tutors continued using phonics. Slowly the woman began to read more words and sound them out faster.
This year she is working with her tutor using the Barton System, a program designed specifically for learning disabled students. Tutors that use this program go through extensive training and spend additional time preparing for each tutoring session. Knowing that her tutor was spending extra time to prepare for their sessions together, the student’s attitude and attendance improved.
As her reading ability improved, she began to participate in class and interact with other students. She admitted she had been ashamed and embarrassed to attend class. Now that she is beginning to learn to read for herself, she is excited to continue.