Project READ helped Emmitt Cole overcame obstacles and improve his life
This is a really heart-warming article - but I'm suggesting that there is far more to this than meets the eye - note my reader's comment following the article!
Many RRFers know many 'Emmitts' and we continue to fight their corner. We all recognise these signs:
Note the emphasis on Emmitt's individual struggles and the description of his home circumstances and note the complete omission of any anlaysis of the type of literacy teaching that may, or may not, have prevailed as he went through his infant years!“When Emmitt first came to Project READ for help, his confidence level was extremely low,” she wrote in his Spotlight on Literacy award application. “He avoided eye contact and constantly apologized and said that he was sorry when he made mistakes … He was limited to reading words he had memorized, and he guessed on everything else or skipped it … (but today) he is now able to read the words that are there.”
Cole has come a long way from nearly 30 years ago, when he first began carrying a big secret that he constantly feared others would discover: He didn’t know how to read.
“It was around the third grade that I learned I had a hard time reading,” he recalled. “I realized it one day when I was reading (aloud in class) and most of the kids were laughing because I was stuttering with words and mispronouncing words. That made me not want to read in class.”
As Cole moved on to fourth and fifth grade, his situation worsened because he “wasn’t learning, and then you go up a grade level and you’re still at the same (reading) level, so it just gets worse,” he said.
Yes, it must be the consequence of single-motherhood and Cole not getting help with his homework. And where did schooling come into this I wonder?
What caught my eye from the outset was the caption referring to Emmitt 'sounding out':One of two boys growing up with a single mother, Cole said getting homework and reading help at home was difficult.
“My mom tried to help me, but she was a single parent, she was in school full time (working on her bachelor’s degree) and she was working full time,” he said. “And it was me and my brother, so when she would come home, she would try to help me, but would usually fall asleep, and once she fell asleep, that was it.”
Speaks volumes does it not.Julie Pangrac goes over skills on sounding out words as Emmitt Cole reads an article with her at Project Read. (Herald & Review/Lisa Morrison)