Reading With Children

Each Monday afternoon during the school year1 Don and I go to Jefferson Elementary School2 here in Pella3 to read with a 4th grade student.  This is the third year we have been involved4 in the “literacy” program5 and we enjoy it very much.  We have worked with the same 4th grade teacher6 each year.  She chooses a student for each of us to work with.  It is always a student who she feels can profit7 from reading out-loud8 with an adult9 discussing what is being read.


This year I am working with a little girl named Shelby. She reads pretty well, but she also seems to have need of attention10 of an adult to read with her. Don works with a little boy who needs to pay more attention to his comprehension11. Each year we’ve been happy to watch our students develop12 and improve in various ways.


When Shelby was assigned13 to me last fall, it was obvious that she really wasn’t pleased that her teacher had placed us together14. It was obvious that she’s a shy15 person and she didn’t want to have to be with a stranger16.  However, we soon became friends, and when Don and I missed several weeks when we went to China, she was quite pleased when I returned to read with her again.


Shelby reads well and has an expressive17 voice.  Sometimes I wonder how well she understands a certain word so I’ll ask her if she really knows what it means and we’ll discuss it18.  Today one such word was “cinch,” meaning to tighten a saddle on a horse.19  She knew its meaning and said she knew it because she has ridden a horse20 and put a saddle on it.  I’m often surprised at21 some of the experiences my students have had.


Our students are allowed to choose the book they will read with us.  I feel that Shelby chooses very good books, much better than the little girl I read with last year did22.  Today Don’s student, J.D., finished23 his book and then took a test24 on it.  Don says J.D. does well on his tests.  I haven’t given one25 to Shelby yet as she hasn’t finished a book on Monday while I’m there. 


When school ends26 the first week in June, our reading program will end also. However, Don and I will have good memories27 of the year.  We always do.28  When our children were young, we read out loud to them every night.  Our Jefferson School reading program seems to be a normal extension29 of what we were doing then.  We hope to continue being helpers again next year.



1. school year: an academic year, usually September through May or June in the U.S. (学年,在美国通常为九月至第二年的五、六月).

2. Jefferson Elementary School: a building in which children attend kindergarten through 5th grade classes (杰弗森小学,包含幼儿园大班到小学五年级).  This school is named after Thomas Jefferson, one of our early U.S. presidents.  Many schools in the U.S. are named after famous presidents such as Washington, Lincoln, etc.

3. Pella (派拉): a small city in south central Iowa where Central College is located, and where we live

4. have been involved in: have been a part of; have taken part in some activity (参与了).

5. literacy program: a reading program designed to encourage students to become better readers (提高阅读能力项目). Literacy refers to ability to read and write a language. Many schools in the U.S. now have such programs, and using volunteers such as adults, college students, etc.

6. 4th grade teacher: a person who is responsible for teaching students at the 4th grade level of elementary school (四年级负责老师).  The students are about 9 years old.

7. profit (from): gain, or become better (by doing a given exercise or lessons) (获益).

8. read out-loud: read and say what is written at a volume so that it can be heard easily, not silent reading (大声读出来以便别人能够很容易听到).

9. adult: a person who has reached the legal age to vote in a given country or state ( 成人).  In most of the U.S. this is the age of 21 years.  However, some people think that adulthood begins at the age of 18, when one is allowed to drink alcoholic beverages in some states, and when one may be drafted into the military service.

10. attention: the interest that people show in someone or something (关注). 

11. comprehension: the ability to understand something about what is being said or discussed about a topic, person or thing (理解力).

12. develop: make progress or mature in some activity or growth (发展、成长).

13. was assigned to me: was given to me (to do or complete something for some reason) (分配给我).

14. it was obvious that she really wasnt pleased that her teacher had placed us together: 她的老师将我们两人放在一起,她确实不高兴,这是显而易见的。

15. shy: timid, nervous about meeting and speaking to other people, especially people one doesnt know (胆小、害羞).

16. stranger: a person who is not known to one, or with whom one is not acquainted (陌生人).

17.expressive: showing meaning or effective in exhibiting feelings (有表达力的).

18. Sometimes I wonder how well she understands a certain word so Ill ask her if she really knows what it means and well discuss it: 有时候我想知道她对某一个词理解得怎么样,我就问她是否知道这个词的意思,于是我们就一起讨论这个词.

19. Today one such word was cinch, meaning to tighten a saddle on a horse: 今天就有这样一个字,是”cinch”,意思是把马鞍收紧。A saddle is a piece of equipment, usually leather, placed as a seat on the back of an animal, such as a horse, donkey, mule etc.

20. has ridden a horse: has sat, guided and traveled on a horse (曾经骑过马).

21. surprised at: having the feeling you have when something unexpected or unusual happens (对……感到惊奇).

22. the little girl I read with last year did: 此处,I read with last year 是定语从句,修饰the little girldid (chose books)little girl的谓语动词。

23. finished: completed (完成).

24. took a test: took an exam given to someone or something to detect performance level (考试了).

25. one: a test, 此处one是代词。

26. ends: terminates a designated period of time (结束).

27. good memories: 美好的记忆。

28. We always do: We always have good memories.

29. extension: a continuation of an action, or period of activity, or time (延伸).





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