Testimonials for the Augustine Literacy Project

I am thrilled that he is reading. He absolutely LOVES to read in class… he made such huge strides (this school year).

I wanted to send out a BIG THANK YOU for working with our wonderful students this year. All of the students made great strides with reading and their confidence in their reading ability grew to new heights! Many of them needed that one person that really could invest time in them.
— feedback from teachers

Almost a year ago we met at the library to assess a 15-year-old girl who had the reading skills of a student in kindergarten. Well, I just wanted to give you an update.

We have been meeting twice a week for the past 11 months. Her health issues (and/or the heavy medications she takes) limit her memory and often her sequencing ability. She has tactile issues and WILL NOT TAP! Definitely, sight word arm physical aid is out of the question. But, to her credit, she barely ever misses a lesson, and works throughout our hour-long session without giving up or shutting down.

We have had almost 60 lessons now and I will tell you it has been a roller coaster ride. Some days I've been incredibly discouraged and don't think she can progress, and others I'm re-encouraged and begin to feel again that I'm not wasting my time.

But yesterday, she read to me the entire book "Green Eggs and Ham", cover to cover. All 63 pages with only help on words like 'rain', 'train', 'they', 'them' and 'goat.' We had read half of the book together on Monday. I gave her the book but asked her to bring it back for our Thursday lesson to read the second half. She said she didn't know the book, never had read it before.

Yesterday, I just sat back in my chair, watched, listened and enjoyed. Our lesson ran 15 minutes late. Her mother was waiting in the parking lot, but I didn't care. She was plowing through the pages without fatigue, so I wasn't going to stop her. I was enjoying it too much. I know she was proud, and it was so beautiful to see. Her school had given up on her, saying she would never read. Well, God bless Dr. Seuss! He just showed them there is great hope!
— an ALP tutor

In August 2014 I completed my ALP training. Soon after, I got my first student, a little girl. She was just beginning second grade, after having repeated first grade. Unfortunately, even after two years in first grade, she was still struggling with a basic understanding of letters and their sounds. She had many of the classic signs of dyslexia.

So, I began working with her at the 1.1 level and found her to be a dream student. She is an eager learner, loves coming to tutoring, and she seems to thrive on the one-on-one approach that we use as ALP tutors. She's very comfortable asking questions or letting me know when she doesn't understand something, which I think she's not so comfortable doing in a classroom full of students. Her parents are involved, and will occasionally sit in at the end of our lesson when they come to pick her up.

She is now in fifth grade, and we are in our fourth year of working together. We are now nearing the end of the Level 6 books. When her Mom came to pick her up last week, they had a surprise to show me… an Honor Roll certificate that she had just received for "Outstanding Academic Performance in the First Quarter of 5th Grade." She was beaming with pride, and her mother was almost in tears. So was I! For this student, catching up academically with her peers is a huge boost in confidence. She clearly likes this status and realizes that if she continues to work hard, she can continue to achieve her goals!

I'm honored and thrilled to be a part of this precious girl's story of hard work and determination! Our ALP motto "Tutor One Child, Change Two Lives" is certainly true!
— an ALP tutor

A major miracle is happening in this house!

God led us to a reading tutor in an amazing way for a child that has some significant learning struggles. That child is currently about 4 pages from finishing a 105 page book. He keeps yelling down to me: "Mom, what is h-e-r-o-i-c?" "Mom, what is t-h-r-o-u-g-h?"

I am almost in tears. He has never read a book this long on his own. He hardly reads any books! This is the child that would balk at reading 2-3 pages. And when I read this with him, he told me he didn't want to stop at one chapter, and I left to fix lunch, and he just sat there reading.

Thanking God…
— an ALP student's mom

My student improved dramatically in phonological awareness skills this year. He also made great improvements in word reading/decoding (up 1.7 grade levels), sight word recognition (up 60%) and reading comprehension (up 63%). These gains were evidenced in school assessments, too, as his teacher reported, " … his MAP testing improved 21 points from fall to spring! You are definitely making a difference … thank you so much!"
— an ALP tutor

My child's Sunday school teacher called on him to read half a chapter in the Bible this past Sunday, and he did it wonderfully! Six months ago, you would never hear such a thing. He's excelling in his classes and his confidence.
— an ALP student's mom

I've seen two children go from struggling to confident. This is the greatest experience possible!
— an ALP tutor.

He's been reading the "Titanic" book (gift from his ALP tutor) out loud this week... first time ever without putting up a fuss. His reading has come a long way. I'm proud of his achievement and hard work. Thank you for encouraging him and helping him believe in himself.
— an ALP student's mom

I tutor a sweet girl at a local elementary school. When we first started our lessons together, she was so tentative, so afraid of saying the wrong thing, so unsure of herself. What a thrill to hear her just today reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss with enthusiasm, laughter, comprehension, and confidence! This system really works! With patience, perseverance, and consistency you can reap wonderful rewards.
— an ALP tutor

I just have to let you know the good news! My daughter's teacher was so impressed with her gains since the beginning of the year! She was so excited to see her using strategies to sound out new words that she has not seen before. She loved how even though the sentence was "choppy" as she sounded it out, she then repeated the sentence fluently.

I can't THANK you and the Augustine Project Program enough. My daughter's confidence has grown. She wanted to continue reading with the teacher, even after the assessment was over. In the past the assessments usually ended with sobbing. She has now grown to the reading level of the middle of 1st grade and she is in the middle of 2nd grade now. So the gap is closing thanks to your help.

With much appreciation,
— an ALP student's mom

I have tutored with Augustine for four years now and worked with five students. They all had different needs, grade levels, and skill levels, but one characteristic has been a constant for all. They start the sessions in the fall with a little trepidation, shyness, and lack of confidence. They are hesitant to read or try to decode a new word for fear of being wrong. Gradually, as we engage in lessons at their reading and skill level, they begin to open up and feel more comfortable trying new skills. They realize they CAN do it, which is a new feeling for many. Their eyes light up when they see me at the door, and they're happy to come along and work hard to improve their skills. The bonus is the trust they begin to feel with me in chatting in between work and the camaraderie that builds. By the end of the year, they have improved their skills, gained more confidence, and maybe even like to read! What more can a teacher ask for?!
— an ALP tutor

I just wanted to let you know that we love our daughter's tutor. She's wonderful! Our daughter is using her strategies at home. Recently she started trying to write independently, which is close to miraculous because before she wouldn't even attempt to sound out a word without my help. Last night she showed me five sentences that she wrote while in her room independently. Plus, her confidence is growing. She said to me, "I don't want it to sound like I'm bragging, but I feel so proud right now, Mama!" This was after showing me her sentences. Even while riding in the car, she is thinking of stories she can write using the words she knows. This is remarkable considering the meltdowns and the crying that we were dealing with before.
— an ALP student's mom

In the beginning my student was seriously withdrawn and non-communicative. I learned from his teacher that he had cried every day since school had begun. He would hide his face and hands in his sweatshirt or jacket — not conducive to tapping or phonics. Slowly his trust grew, and with rare lapses, he has become responsive and even pleased with his progress (though he tries to hide it). Once I missed a session due to illness, and he was so excited to see me the next time that I realized how important our time together had become. I wish so much for him that his confidence will grow and his self-image improve enough to keep him out of his sweatshirt for good!
— an ALP tutor

My tutoring experience has been a terrific rollercoaster ride. I've been blessed to have the same student for this year. Though we've struggled through school suspensions and many absences, we've managed to get in 27 lessons. On each 10th lesson, we celebrate with a piece of chocolate cake. I hope we get to have our third piece. Though the success of each session has been up and down (one lesson he is really clicking through everything, the next time he may be trying to sleep on the table or slide under it), I've loved the experience and watching the true progress. When a lesson goes well and I see his true potential, I'm so happy and ready to plan the next great lesson. However, it may be that next time that I get the 'special note' he prepared for me, the one he slides sheepishly across the table to me as he leaves the room — "Sorey Ibot ned you ayn mor." With that, I'm taken back to the reality that patience is needed, and this child's struggle with reading is very complicated. I'm so grateful to all the people behind Augustine Literacy for putting this platform together to enable tutors like me to help those who need it. This experience has taught me a great deal about the reality that some of these kids face and to enjoy the successes when they come, focus on the signs of progress, and know that the time spent tutoring is probably the best spent time of my day.
— an ALP tutor