What I Learned from a Reading Seed Coach: The Bigger Picture


A guest blog by Reading Seed Program Coordinator, Katie Cooper.

Consider the picture above. What do you see?

Most of us will focus on the tiny black dot in the middle of the box. Did you notice all the blank white space around it, though? In reality, the dot is just a small part of a much bigger picture. It can be difficult to see all the possibilities in front of us when we narrow our focus.

Francis Owen Holaway Elementary School coach, Diane Foray, understands that her students’ struggles are only one aspect of their identity. Like so many coaches, she helps her students grow by concentrating on their strengths.

At a recent Coach Coffee Hour, she shared that she continues to volunteer with Reading Seed because she sees beauty in each individual’s unique path in life. She acknowledges that these children are human beings with varied dreams, goals, and talents.

“One of my girls knows what she wants, and she won’t hesitate to tell you. She will go through life getting exactly what she wants, and that is evident in her approach to reading,” she reflected. “On the other hand, my other girl speaks so sweetly and softly. I have never heard a child speak so sweetly before. But she will never be as outspoken as the other girl. They will not have the same life experiences because of who they are. When I work with them, I love to consider how they will both grow up and contribute to the world around them, but in vastly different ways.

I think back to my own experiences coaching kindergarten students. Although the memories of the books we read are beginning to fade, I can still vividly remember what they wanted to be when they grew up, what they liked to do to help others, and what they thought made them special. I may forget the skills we worked on, but I will never forget who these kids were.

Our conversation at Coach Coffee Hour reminded me why I love working for Literacy Connects. Reading Seed coaches don’t just coach; they mentor. They give their students permission to thrive in their individuality and blossom into strong readers. Their dedication to building kids’ confidence is an example to us all.

So thank you, coaches, for choosing to see the bigger picture when working with your students. You are doing so much more than inspiring a love of books. You are helping young readers discover who they are!

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