There are a lot of things a six-year-old can do with a bag of rocks. Build a castle. Lay out an imaginary battle. Roll them around like cars. Learn to read. That last one is what Bill, a kindergartner at Norwood Elementary in Des Moines, did with the help of his mentor Larry Collins.
This past year was the fourth school year Larry volunteered as a mentor for Power Lunch, a literacy and mentoring program of Everybody Wins! Iowa that pairs volunteers and elementary schools students to read together on a weekly basis. The students, many of whom are struggling readers or English Language Learners, benefit from having a caring adult read aloud to them. The sessions improve not just their reading skills but their social skills and confidence as well. Larry had seen that growth in his previous students.