Success Story: Delmar & John

For the February installment of our tutoring success stories series (also featured in Midcoast Literacy's e-mail newsletter) we’re highlighting one of our teenage learners, John, and his tutor Delmar.

John Delmar for web

Delmar and John are a great example of how tutoring success is sometimes measured not by a new certification or passing a test, but by the growth a learner’s goals as they gain literacy. John, who has cerebral palsy, came to the United States from China when he was 13 years old. He learned to speak English quickly, but his reading lagged behind. “We started working together in March of 2019, and initially the goal was just basic reading,” says Delmar. John has made steady progress on his reading, and as a result his tutoring with Delmar has evolved. “I read pretty well now,” says John, “I don’t know how many words, but probably like a thousand words or something like that. When I write a Facebook post or Instagram post, I normally share with Delmar so we can edit it. He’s helped me learn where to put the punctuation, and what is the right word to use in certain situations.”.

In the past year, John’s reading progress was bolstered by two specific events. Last winter, he took a drama class in high school. He wrote a play, My BSF (Best Support Friend), about the challenges of being adopted and living with cerebral palsy, that was performed by students at his school! Secondly, John turned 18 in 2020, and is now eager to live on his own. “He’s been seeking out and applying for programs that will help him live independently in the future,” Delmar says. With this new goal in mind, John’s sessions with Delmar now include practicing writing letters and completing applications: a whole new outlook on what he wants to do compared to the basic reading they started with two years ago. “It’s so true what we learned in tutor training,” Delmar reflects. “It’s crucial to find subjects that will capture the students’ interest and to have them read their own writing.” Congratulations to Delmar & John on this new chapter in their tutoring together, and keep following us for more success stories from our tutors throughout the year!