Antonio’s narrative is similar to that of many of our learners. During high school, he found his classes difficult and he didn’t always understand what was going on. Academically frustrated and with real world financial issues looming, Antonio started skipping his classes. He began selling drugs and “stayed out in the streets.” He looks back on that time with regret, saying that if he could do high school all over again, he would.
Antonio eventually obtained his forklift certification and began to work in warehouses–he worked at one job for fourteen years before being laid off. He’s driven forklifts at his new place of employment for six years, but he’s always known that he wanted to do more with his life. A few years ago, Antonio figured that it was time to start working on his reading and writing so that he would be able to help his then four year old daughter with her homework.
Antonio’s wife told him about Literacy Mid-South in 2013. He reached out to the organization, and soon he was working with a tutor. The two of them started out by meeting every week, and they used audio recordings and reading passages in their sessions.
Antonio is now one of Literacy Mid-South’s most dedicated learners. He has been meeting with a Literacy Mid-South tutor consistently since he signed up in 2013. His latest tutor, Robert, meets with him as often as they can, and they spend their time reviewing vocabulary lists, using the computer, and checking reading comprehension by reading passages from the Harry Potter series of novels.
Despite the twenty plus year age difference between the two men, they get along really well.
“I was scared when I first started with him,” Antonio said, recalling their first session. He didn’t know what to expect from Robert, but he knew that he was dedicated to continuing to improve his reading and writing skills. The two of them spent their first tutoring session getting to know each other. “Robert asked me a lot of questions,” Antonio said, “but he’s cool.”
Together, Antonio and Robert are making enormous strides toward helping Antonio achieve his ultimate goal: obtaining a GED. Now, Antonio’s vocabulary has drastically improved. He feels more confident in his ability to read and understand his daughter’s homework. And those passages from Harry Potter? He can read those very well now.
“If there was anyone out here who was thinking about learning to read, I’d tell them to come and join me,” Antonio said.
“He’s making a lot of progress,” Robert said, smiling. “Every day is positive, and he’s improving little by little. He teaches me too. I’m learning patience and understanding by working with him.”