By Powerful Schools (RVP sponsor)
RAINIER VALLEY – Vanessa Perez Hernandez, a first grader at John Muir Elementary, stands in the front row leaning forward in anticipation, during her Tuesday after-school class, “Alphabet Soup”. She shouts out answers and moves in sync with her fellow classmates with a big grin.
An outsider might be surprised to discover Vanessa is actually shy and that English is not her first language. In fact, “Alphabet Soup” is a class geared toward struggling and emerging readers and is designed to help students feel more comfortable with the sounds of the alphabet.
“Vanessa is that kid who is bright, brilliant and competent, but needs that extra confidence,” says after-school instructor and reading tutor Lakesha Kimbrough. “That’s what I’m hoping she’ll get from this class, because once she’s confident she will soar.”
Lakesha, who has worked with Powerful Schools for six years, said that in just two weeks of “Alphabet Soup” she has already seen Vanessa become more empowered and engaged in her reading .
Vanessa is seven years old and her favorite color is pink, which is apparent from her pink hoodie sweatshirt, pink earrings, and white tennis shoes with pink Nike swooshes.
Although her first language is Spanish, Vanessa’s favorite subject in school is reading. Her favorite books are Mercy Watson chapter books, which depict the adventures of a loveable pet pig. Vanessa wants to be a doctor when she grows up, possibly an optometrist.
“Alphabet Soup” is Vanessa’s first after-school class with Powerful Schools, and so far she’s having fun and improving her reading skills. She hopes to take the roller-skating class next year because she thinks it looks like fun.
Powerful Schools is an award winning non-profit that has been working to close the achievement gap by creating partnerships with local public schools for over 20 years. Through literacy programs, arts and after-school classes, Powerful Schools’ works with more than 4,000 children and their families in 12 Seattle and South King County elementary schools and five CDSA preschools.
The “Powerful People” series is a way for Powerful Schools to highlight – through the Rainier Valley Post – some of the work its talented students, instructors and volunteers are accomplishing in the Rainier Valley. Photo/Powerful Schools