The Trinity Afterschool Program, often called TAP, is an after-school reading program for first and second grade students. Kelly Humphreys, our wonderful TAP assistant, has taken a few moments to reflect on her TAP experiences so far.
On my first day as the new TAP assistant, I made a little girl cry. Classic, right? (She was sad she had to finish her lesson, when others had finished and moved on). She bucked up though – especially with the brilliant empathy and encouragement of Miss Rachel – and ended the day with a smile, with her favorite book. Sometimes your favorite book can make it all better.
When I was a first grader, the school librarian would only let us check out one book a day. Every day I would go to the library right before taking the bus home and check out my daily book. I’d devour it on the ride, many times finishing before I got to my house. Eventually, I checked out longer books, which took longer to read, but I’ll always remember that first love I had for getting a new book. As an only child (who also played a lot with cousins and other friends), books were my best friends. I would take a stack of books and hole up in the curtains in my home, making myself a reading fort right next to the window, with lots of natural Oregon light streaming in. Small wonder I majored in English Literature in college.
The girl’s favorite book is called What Does Bunny See?* which we usually read together after her lesson. This particular first grader – lovely inside and out -- is still learning to read by herself, but she loves this book. The colors of the illustrations are vibrant, with the cute bunny checking out different flowers and different colors in the “cottage garden.” It is written in rhyme, so the reader can guess the next color, which bursts out on the next page. This girl loves the playfulness, almost singsonginess of the rhymes, and I love her delight as we read it together.
That’s one of the reasons I enjoy working with TAP – the kids are great, and they love a good book, too. Days with a group of kids can be up-and-down, but there is always a take-away. And I love helping them get there, to read by themselves, to come alongside them as a listening and caring adult as they talk about their day, to be in a world where imagination can explode. It reminds me that God created us to be wonder-filled people. I just might get more than I give and learn more than I teach at TAP each day.
*Written by Linda Sue Park and illustrated by Maggie Smith (NY: Clarion Books, 2005).