Student Success: Charles Rowell

February 22, 2019

Post image for Student Success: Charles Rowell

Tutor Cathy Phillips and Charles Rowell


Charles Rowell has lived in Glen Burnie for over 60 years.  He remembers this area when it was still a small town – he could go hunting in his neighborhood and the only vehicle his family owned was a bicycle.  He stopped attending school very early in life, but it didn’t stop him from succeeding.  He was a machinist at an air-conditioning shop and later a custodian at Baltimore-Washington Medical Center – always doing well at work.

When he retired and had more time, he decided that he wanted to learn to read.  Charles and I have been meeting twice a week for about a year and a half and his improvement is amazing.   We have worked through all the long and short vowel sounds.  He has learned to write all the numbers, so now he can write checks without using a cheat sheet.

We have done a lot of practice on the 300 most commonly used words and he knows most of them by sight now.  We often practice by reading things he receives in the mail like medical forms, housing letters, insurance statements, and tax forms. We had fun one time when I brought 3 different carryout menus to practice reading.  His work ethic is second to none.

When I asked him why he wanted to learn to read, he said, “so he could read the paper and see what was going on in the world”.  He enjoys reading books and puts in a great deal of time in reading.  He is currently reading The Black Stallion and it has brought up a great conversation about a pony he once had.

His recommendation to anyone who wants to learn to read: “It’s never too late!”

Previous post:

Next post: