On Thursday, September 8th, the Azusa City Library celebrated International Literacy Day. The library recognized the transformative efforts of “Azusa Reads, Writes, & Counts,” which provides Azusa’s elementary school students with free tutoring from APU students. This program is provided by Azusa Pacific University’s Office of Community-Based Federal Work-Study (C-B FWS) and facilitated by the Center for Academic Service-Learning and Research (CASLR).
Dr. Judy Hutchinson, CASLR’s Executive Director, and Stacey Kim, Coordinator for C-B FWS Programs, received a “Literacy Service Award” and certificates of recognition from the California Senate and Legislative Assembly in honor of this program’s significant contribution to community literacy.
The following is an excerpt from a speech by a grateful father, John Garcia, who shared with attendees how the Azusa Reads, Writes, and Counts program had helped his daughters:
“How do you get a child in the first grade to be reading at a sixth grade level? Yes, genetics play a part in it- but even a person blest with natural athletic skills cannot compete at a professional level without good coaching, and that is what we found at Azusa Reads: excellent one-on-one coaching. By the time our daughter was in the 1st grade she was reading at the sixth grade level and comprehending what she was reading. The APU students motivated her to read by the interest they showed in her and by making it fun. This interest in her progress made her feel special and enjoy reading that much more…
The warm attitudes the APU students have with the children also makes for a comfortable and motivating environment, and when someone is comfortable with something they will participate more. It helps them fall in love with reading, so much so that our daughter didn’t want to stop reading and even wanted to read in the shower…We have a younger daughter who is in 3rd grade and participating in this expanded program. So I ask again, how do you get a child who is in the third grade reading at a sixth grade level and doing 4th grade math as our younger daughter is doing. Once again, good coaching. In this expanded program she has learned in particular, long division in math and sentence structure in writing.
Now, you may be thinking, sure, these are some of the same things that are taught in the classroom; but in there, the student has to keep up with the pace with the rest of the students and may fall behind. This program gives them the chance to learn something that may have given him or her trouble in the classroom, and pick it up at their own pace. In this community there are many students who live in a home where English is not the primary language and struggle to keep up. This program gives them a change to get caught up. We have had parents tell us that their child was struggling in school but after a couple of months in the program they noticed a remarkable turnaround.
Since Azusa has such a diverse population it is important to have people willing to work with different races and ethnicities. The APU students have always embraced all and strive to make people who do not speak English feel comfortable and welcome. In closing, we would like to thank APU for caring so much for the students of this community, for donating its time and talent to this program, and for continuing to work hard for the success of this program and its students. We would also like to thank the Azusa Library for providing a super environment for this program. Congratulations APU and APU students for this honor.”