Three years ago Hailey S. was having a rough time in second grade. Her mother Kathy remembers how she struggled with reading.
“We were reading together every night, but it was hard for her,” Kathy said. “I was concerned because I knew that if a child is not reading by third grade, it sets them up for more struggles.”
Hailey’s teacher felt she would benefit from some extra attention and arranged for her to work with Kathleen Eicher, a volunteer tutor from San Antonio Oasis. Kathleen brought a book to their first meeting and watched for strengths they could build on. Right away she saw how visual Hailey was.
“As we were reading together, Hailey pointed to an illustration and said, ‘This doesn’t make sense,’” Kathleen recalled. “She said ‘This girl looks like a baby when her grandmother puts her to bed, but when she comes down for breakfast she looks like an older child.’”
In their weekly one-on-one meetings, Kathleen noticed how Hailey paid attention to images and colors. She looked for books that were well illustrated to read together and they worked on colorful art projects.
Hailey was also learning how to be a good friend at the time, her mother recalled. One of the books Kathleen brought in appealed to Hailey’s visual sense with a story about friendship.
“It was a beautifully illustrated book called Winston & George,” Kathleen said. “We talked about all the colors and the friendship between the alligator and the alligator bird.“
Kathleen enjoys knitting and found a book called Extra Yarn, about a little girl who lives in a gloomy town. She shows imagination and kindness as she knits bright sweaters for herself, her dog, the townspeople, the trees, even the mailboxes. Kathleen brought in some variegated yarn and taught Hailey how to finger knit a scarf.