Clara, Joan, Annie, and Dianne
Two AACLC tutors and a pair of sisters exemplify just how much teamwork can pay off. When significant vision problems forced tutor Joan Thorseth–a seasoned special education teacher–to not only retire, but give up driving, fellow tutor Dianne Hagerty provided wheels for the two of them. Now Dianne and Joan schedule separate but simultaneous literacy sessions with sisters Annie Wilkerson and Clara Claggette.
Both Annie and Clara had long wanted to improve their reading skills. Born into a large, hardworking farm family, it proved difficult for the two sisters to juggle the demands of schoolwork with burdensome farm chores and long walks to and from school. Their home also lacked electricity, so doing homework at day’s end was difficult. As adults, Annie and Clara devoted themselves to raising families of their own, but never lost the desire to improve their reading skills.
Annie was determined that her children would have the educational opportunities that she had been denied, and worked multiple jobs so they could attend private schools. One of her now-grown children even became a teacher. Today all of her offspring tell her how proud they are that she now “goes to school.” Dianne supplement’s Annie’s Laubach lessons with teaching internet research skills and providing additional reading material that ranges from information on pertinent health issues to books about famous African Americans.
Like Dianne and Annie, Joan and Clara work with Laubach readers, and also are tackling the Challenger series. Clara feels that her growing reading skills have boosted her confidence in many day-to-day situations, both at home and at church. Her husband now hands her the family’s medical bills to decipher! Clara notes that even her speaking skills have been strengthened, and she feels more confident about sharing her opinions. Clara’s growing ease with reading has led to a new interest in researching her family’s genealogy.
Clara’s sister Annie is also grateful for the reading help and boost in self-confidence she’s received from the Literacy Council. She says that her experience with the AACLC has given her the motivation to “pay it forward” by joining the Foster Grandparent Program. Her involvement with this program, as well as with various church activities, has enabled her to encourage many disadvantaged children to work on their reading skills and to stress the importance of education in their lives. And Annie is starting to focus on another goal, too: She would like to write the story of her life.