Program mentors a love for reading

BOWIE, TX (KAUZ) - One Texoma school is reaching out to the community to help teach students.

Bowie Elementary School uses a mentorship program to help kids with reading and behavioral problems.

Izabella Morales, a third-grader, and Sandy Ramsey, her mentor, have met at least once to twice a week for the last three years to work on Izabella's reading skills.

"She was a beginner when we first started," Ramsey said. "She was just trying to figure out sight words but now she's reading a book without pictures."

The program brings in adults to mentor first and third-grade students during lunchtime. Each mentor has a folder with information about their "mentee" and lesson plans to teach them.

"Some of them need a little extra support in the reading and so we read to them and then we play ball and have a great time," Bowie Chief of Police Guy Green said.

Izabella and Ramsey have developed a unique relationship. When asked how it is to work with her mentor, Izabella simply said "pretty exciting and fun." This is their last year together. Sandy will be graduating at the end of the school year and going to another Bowie ISD school.

Mark Neese, Bowie Elementary counselor, said teachers have told him about the improvements the students have made. This year the school will see how the program helps the third-graders on their first state tests.

"We do use beginning, middle, and end [tests]," Neese said. "We can see a progression with our students particularly in the reading and the number of words per minute."

Some mentors said they benefit more than the students do.

"Anything that you do that makes a memory for somebody else is always fulfilling," Ramsey said. "I always say the blessing is all mine. When you are able to come here and a person looks forward to seeing you, that's a blessing for yourself."

"It's indescribable how it makes you feel," Chief of Police Green said. "It makes you feel like your whole career is worthwhile to help one person."

Neese said they have about 50 mentors now but more are still needed.

If you would like to become a mentor, Neese said all you have to do is call the school and let him know. The school's phone number is (940) 689-2950.

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