I’ve been meeting with Joe for two years. Joe is one of my StoryPals* (StoryPals is volunteer based programed targeted towards kids who need to increase word recognition and fluency in a local baltimore city public school) I first met Joe a when he was in first grade. He is a bright and cheerful spirit, who definitely needs one on one and direction. Super quiet at first, he hardly talked and could barely recognize his letters and know their sounds. Our meetings were short, 15 minutes. Now, that is a different story. After reading over 100 books together including trashy kids reads like Transformers to classics like Caps for Sale, playing catch up on homework, and cleaning out piles of jammed papers in the back of his desk– our time together is more like 30-40 minutes.
In the midst of collective moments, Joe and I have shared more than storybook stories, we’ve shared life stories. After meeting my son, only a couple weeks old, at a StoryPals session, he started talking about his little brother. And from there the stories kept coming. Stories about his mom’s fear of heights, about playing with his cousins, about seeing the random deer in Charles Village. And now he shares not just stories, but hopes and dreams. After reading a book about paddle boating, he talked about wanting to ride in one of the paddle boats at the harbor. He shares dreams of his mom and dad owning their own home, so he can have his own room, but first they need jobs. And the sharing has gone on and on.
And to think, it started with one shared book, one shared story.