Pam Taylor shares her experience serving with Project Transformation this week. There are still many ways to serve children of our community this summer: MAD Camp, Kids Eat Free, and Chin Community Summer Reading. Sign up to serve at tmumc.org/summer-missions!
This is my third year to participate in PROJECT TRANSFORMATION at Chapel Hill. I was able to do all 4 days this year, so I got to read with the same children each day. What a blessing when they saw me back each morning, and ready to "team up" with me again. …. OK, this may sound like it's ALL ABOUT ME – but let me explain.
Our first 40 minute reading period was with 2nd and 3rd graders. I had 2 children – Favor - who was reading Junie B. Jones and The Mushy Gushy Valentime and José who read a couple different shorter books, including a couple from the Amelia Bedelia series. Both would read aloud – one on my right, and one on my left. I would check in for understanding on what happened when I wasn't listening to that child. I loved that they would summarize the story for me. That told me they were comprehending the story.
Every now and then I would read ahead, and be sure to laugh at the funny situations either character was getting into when they read that part aloud and the smiles on their faces grew. They knew that even though I split my time, I was paying attention to each story. Each morning they looked for me and made sure we were early in line to get checked off so we could start reading.
My second 40 minute group was with 4th and 5th graders. I had Diego and he had selected Old Yeller. Diego was a very good reader. He was the first one to get in line ready to read. On the second day, as we were moving to our reading spot, I told him how much I enjoyed listening to him read. He was very expressive, great intonation, paused at the commas, got excited at the exclamation points … as I told him this, his grin got bigger and bigger. I thought it would surpass his ears! He sat up tall and got even BETTER at reading me the story. He looked for me to walk in the door each morning so that we could start on the book.
My third 40 minute group was Kindergarten and 1st grade. I had the sweetest little 5 ½ year old (NOTE the ½) named Hannah. She had such stories to share with me. She reminded me so much of my grandchildren. The first day we just got to know each other. The second day she got a Dr. Seuss book and sounded out every word! She was so excited to see me when it was her class's turn to read that she couldn't stay in her seat. She jumped up and said, "Let's read this book today!"
So I'm not sure who got more out of this time at our Trietsch week at Project Transformation – me or the kids. I loved that they were so excited to read. I loved that they were happy to see me. I loved that they understood the stories (and when they didn't, we talked through it). I loved that I wanted to go back each day and have them continue the story (I may have to buy a couple of the books so that I know what happens at the end). I loved that I touched some lives. What a blessing to bless a child.
If you can participate in reading with a child through our Project Transformation program – DO IT. It's so easy. Just sit with a child, have them read aloud to you, and ask questions about the story. If you're like me, you'll get into the story with them and can't wait until the next day to see what happens next!