HE GREW IN WISDOM AND STATURE
by Sharon Boone
What a blessing to have Isaac as my Whiz Kid the past 5 years. Isaac had been in Whiz Kids prior to me becoming a tutor, so I knew he was experienced, I wasn’t. My first day as a tutor, I was very nervous, but when that sweet little 9 year old smiled at me, I was all in. During 4th grade, Isaac struggled. He made mostly C’s, a D and a few B’s on his report card. To Isaac’s credit, his goal was to make better grades. We worked diligently; it just didn’t seem to click.
My partner and I decided that we would utilize drive time while taking the children home after Whiz Kids, so we implemented teaching Biblical facts. First, we challenged Isaac and Eltalita, his sister, to memorize the books of the New Testament. Isaac not only memorized them, but said them in large group at Whiz Kids. Having a taste of success, he delved into memorizing the Old Testament. He mastered that also, and again, recited them to the group without a hitch.
Eventually, reading got a little easier. When we started 5th grade, I realized that though his reading was some better, comprehension was not up to par. Rowena Bailey, our site director, guided me to ask Isaac questions about what we were reading at the end of each paragraph. Then, as he comprehended better, ask questions at the end of the page, then after a couple of pages, then the chapter. It was amazing how that helped.
The following summer, my husband read “Gifted Hands”, Ben Carson’s autobiography. By the time school started he had ordered the youth version of “Gifted Hands”. He asked me to give it to Isaac and tell him my husband wanted him to do a book report after he read it. Isaac had never done a book report, but, with a little coaching, he was game.
When Isaac and Eltalita had both read the book and completed their book report, my partner, Leslie Brooks, and I prepared dinner for them and their mother, Gifty. After dinner we watched the “Gifted Hands DVD”. Gifty was quite taken with what she saw. After the DVD, she told the children they needed to turn the television off and read more. WOW!
Following that, Leslie and I decided to issue a challenge to Isaac and Eltalita to read 30 minutes a day, five days a week. We gave them a chart to record their reading times. As agreed, if they did not miss a day during the month, we treated them to dinner and an evening of games or a fun event. They loved it, and a new tradition began that has continued to this day, even during the summers. Their commitment to fulfill the challenge, changed their educational direction.
Leslie and I were so impressed with what the DVD and reading 30 minutes a day did for our Whiz Kids, that we asked our Sunday School Class to help fund the “Gifted Hands DVD’s” as Christmas gift for all of our Whiz Kids for. We gave each child the DVD, microwave popcorn and hot chocolate mix for a family movie night at Christmas.
Grades started coming up; the goal continued to be, make better grades. Isaac never settled, but always strived for more. By the end of the 6th grade he was on the principal’s honor roll and has never faltered.
At 8th grade graduation, he received awards for being in the Honor Society, principals’ honor roll, outstanding social studies student and outstanding PE student. I could not be more proud of my “Whiz Kid”, Isaac. “He grew in wisdom and stature”.