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The Secret Reader

The Secret Reader

By Jessica Hansen, AmeriCorps Promise Fellow Serving at Guadalupe Alternative Programs

In the first month of school, I had gotten to know one of the students pretty well. I noticed that she was one of the most active participants in class, but she was a bit of an outcast with the other kids. She frequently finished her work quickly and then sat in silence.

One day a teacher asked her if she liked to read at all. She said that she did, but not “boring” stuff like the books they have at school. The teacher told her she should go to theSecret Reader graphic
he public library and get something to read. She said she didn’t want to go all the way over there. I asked her if she had a library card and told me she didn’t really know. If she had one, she didn’t know where it was. So I offered to get her a book from the public library under my account. I didn’t expect her to really go for it, but she got excited and immediately said she wanted the new books in the “Percy Jackson” series. She wrote down the titles she wanted and I put them on hold right away.

She absolutely blew through them, reading 300+ pages a day. I just brought her the last book in the series yesterday and her Language Arts teacher bet her a soda that she wouldn’t finish before Friday. She came in today with only 20 or so pages left! I’m so glad to have given her an opportunity to get back into reading and exercise her neglected literacy!

[From “Voices From the Field: Reflections from Minnesota Alliance With Youth’s AmeriCorps Promise Fellows.” Fall 2015.]

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