Bonnie began volunteering as a literacy tutor after seeing a notice in the newspaper. She was soon paired up with Ruth, who is working toward her GED. The two have been working together for nearly a year.
“First when I got here I had problems with reading, understanding,” says Ruth.
Bonnie works with Ruth on her reading. They meet every Wednesday at the Oshkosh Public Library to read and discuss books. Bonnie helps Ruth sound words out.
“Ruth is very committed to this,” says Bonnie. “She never misses. She’s made such huge progress this year. It’s really amazing.”
More than just improved reading, Bonnie says she’s seen a change in Ruth’s whole manner.
“The Ruth I first met was not this Ruth,” says Bonnie. “You were very quiet. You did not make eye contact, didn’t smile. Now she’s gotten that self confidence and she shines when she’s here.”
What began as a tutoring relationship has gone beyond just reading, though.
“I never had people do this before. I usually try to depend on myself,” says Ruth. “She’s been doing a lot of things for me that I don’t expect her to do. She looks out for me. I love her.”
With Bonnie’s help, Ruth ultimately hopes to earn her GED.
“If I did that I would jump in celebration,” says Ruth. “I did it!”
Find a literacy program near you here
Editor’s Note: This broadcast story aired again on February 10, 2021 to honor the 10 year anniversary of “Wisconsin Life” on Wisconsin Public Radio.
Former “Wisconsin Life” host and executive producer Erika Janik chose to share this feature as part of the celebration. She’s proud of the story, which was part of the “Literacy In Wisconsin” series, and was honored to talk with people who opened up about adult literacy.