Update on the Talking Books Pilot Program

Pilot Project at Rimes Early Learning Center – Tutors for Kids started a “pilot project” at Rimes Early Learning and Literacy Center in Leesburg.  During February and March, Tutors for Kids researched the availability of talking books for kindergarten students – and decided on the Paw Patrol (a show on the Nickelodeon channel – and very familiar to this age group of students).  Using a generous donation from Dr. Thi Tran of Village Dermatology, Tutors for Kids purchased 20 kits that contain eight books and 8 tablets that talk to readers.

  • The Literacy Coach and the Family Liaison Coordinator designated 15 kindergarten students who needed a boost and encouragement to improve their reading.  Tutors for Kids identified four tutors to work with students from four kindergarten classes. 
  • In late March, the tutors and students met and started “reading” with the Paw Patrol.
  • Since March, tutors have been meeting the students each week, “reading” a book with the tablet, and working with the students to further identify words, letters, and colors.
  • In addition to the reading kits, we have located other Paw Patrol trinkets to give to the students as incentives (donated by the tutors themselves):  badges, stickers, and medals.  (NOTE:  Students are very excited to receive trinkets like these – to show to fellow students and to their families.)
  •  Our plan is to give the kits to the students on May 16 to take home for the summer.  In addition, tutors have talked with each student to determine family persons to whom they can demonstrate their new Paw Patrol kits!!

Going Forward – Our plan for the next school year is to expand this project to more schools and more kindergarteners.  We will alert kindergarten tutors about the success of Paw Patrol, purchase more kits, and spread the joy further.

Carolyn Ruhe helps a student with the talking books program

New Grade K and Pre-K Reading Project Talking Books

A very generous supporter, Dr. Thi Tran, a Dermatologist in the Villages has offered Tutors for Kids a challenge to help us make pre K children become early readers.  He is suggesting that we begin to introduce talking books as a help to Pre K children in developing their reading skills. We have several schools where we already have a Pre K program. These could help us learn which direction we should take.

We would like to take up this challenge. Would any of our tutors like to help us explore this important possibility?

December Tutor Meeting

This year our holiday festivities celebrated several events: the Tenth Anniversary of Tutors for Kids and a special recognition to our donors and funders.  The event was held on December 12th at 3:00 PM – in the Sea Breeze Rec Center, The Villages. The event was open to all.

In addition, to the wonderful tutors who work with students every week, there are a large number of others who contribute unselfishly to Tutors for Kids – donations of time, expertise, dedication, and funds.  They were recognized and honored. We did a trip down memory lane and recounted that ten years ago we started with six tutors in one school working with about twenty students. This year we have over 500 tutors in thirteen schools tutoring 2,600+ students each week.

A special fund raising raffle was sponsored by Dr. Thi Tran’s dermatology practice. The drawing had two items– a golf basket and a holiday tree.  The raffle will continue at his office through December.

Hoot 4 Hootenanny

Hoot 4 – The Villages Pops Chorus Folksingers presented a fabulous concert (Hoot 4) on October 30 at Lake Presbyterian Church to benefit Tutors for Kids and the Sumter Youth Center Each of us received $3,500.  They are such talented musicians, singers, and entertainers!! We are again thankful for their support.

We have received generous grants from the following:

United Way of Lake and Sumter – On October 17, United Way of Lake and Sumter County presented Tutors for Kids with a generous check for $7,500, our fourth for 2018. This is the foundation of our book and database program in Lake and Sumter County.

Duke Energy String Bags And again this year, Duke contributed $5,000 for our book program and also has given string bags for the students in Marion County schools so that students can carry home the books they earn in their tutoring sessions.  Bags are available in the Marion County schools where Tutors for Kids has a presence. The bags are imprinted with the Duke Energy Logo and have a large star in the center with the words “I am a Reading Star” in large letters. Also at the bottom right is a message from Tutors for Kids that these students are “Learners Today … Leaders Tomorrow”.

September Kick-Off Meeting

Kick-Off the 2018-19 Year – With Four Special Guests – At the start of each school year; we have a ‘kick off’ meeting to celebrate a new year of tutoring. This presents a GREAT opportunity to meet the Tutors for Kids “players,” perhaps meet your STC, and learn more about tutoring.  We did “pack the hall” and it was a great “jump start” to the year.

We invited special guests to participate in this meeting. They were several teachers, from schools where we tutor, who spoke to the group. The teachers were Eileen Badger, Media Specialist at Wildwood Elementary, Karen Strong Grade Four Teacher at Stanton Weirsdale Elementary and Linda LaFond Grade Five Teacher from Fruitland Park Elementary. They discussed a range of topics from “The tests that are used to determine reading levels and how often is it done” to “How our tutors affected your student population”.