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Daniel Hogan LIVES UNITED as a ReadUP volunteer

March 28, 2014  |  Education  |  Mary Kinney

Daniel Hogan of Indianapolis is being honored at the fifth annual Leadership and Volunteerism Summit on April 22 as one of three LIVE UNITED Volunteers of the Year.

Hogan was selected for his service of more than 300 hours last year as a ReadUP tutor of elementary students who are struggling readers. The 20 or more students he's tutored in the last three years have improved their reading skills from a year and a half up to two years. 

We invited Daniel to answer a few questions about why he LIVES UNITED as a ReadUP volunteer and why it matters.


What prompted you to volunteer as a ReadUP tutor?
I had just completed 12 years as a mentor in Wayne Township. I also had just retired from Industry as a manager, after 51 years. I was looking for a tutor/mentor opportunity closer to home. ReadUP provided it here in Lawrence Township at both IPS and Lawrence Schools. I learned about the opportunity on a local television station and I applied, took the training, and was on the way.

How much time do you devote to ReadUP every week?
Five to six hours.

If you could sum up the experience in six words, what would they be?
Rewarding. Relevant. Reinvigorating. Remarkable. Resilient. Reflective.

What is your standout memory from ReadUP tutoring?
In my second year, one of my students came from a very large family. As a third grader he was fixing breakfast and dinner, doing the housework and more for eight siblings. With the help of our ReadUP team, he advanced four reading levels that year. The school asked me to mentor him during the summer and into the next school year, where we shared morning moments together before he goes to class. He is an inspiration to me and all those around him. Life has not been fair to him, but he accepts it all with such a beautiful smile.

What has been your biggest surprise about the experience of tutoring young readers?
That the need is so great. I feel that every American, once they have their children raised, and are in their late 40s should give time and love to those in our community who are less fortunate than we are. Make a difference. Don't talk about it. Just do it!

What would you say to someone who is on the fence about becoming a ReadUP tutor to encourage them to give it a try?
We need you. I do a lot of volunteer work. There is nothing more satisfying than working with these children and in seeing that you have made a profound impact. This is not just about their reading and comprehension skills, but also is about seeing them develop into a fuller person. You can swell with pride! ReadUP is easy. But as I told 1,200+ adult scout leaders 35 years ago that I helped train: "It's OK to work hard at it! Make it all that you can for the young child who looks to you for help!" The training is pertinent and continually updated for today's youth. It is excellent!

What is your very first memory of volunteering for anything in your life?
In 1960 I became an assistant scout master and loved working with youth through Boy Scouts of America until 1995.

Who was your role model for becoming such an active volunteer?
Delbert Smith, my first scout master. He showed me NOT to count the hours, but value the moments when taking youth through a quality program.

What has working with the young students taught you or how has it changed you?
If you work hard and gain the confidence of the school administrators, the United Way reading specialist, etc., extra rewards can come your way in your service to youth. Being ready to go the extra mile, while embracing the program, can make the effort so much easier and rewarding.

We understand you are sought after to advise new tutors. What is the #1 thing on your list you offer to help them quickly adapt to the work?
Work hard at it. Relax with the child. Have specific goals in each session, and LEAD the child in his or her reading development. Have fun. Be true to yourself and the program. I show them lesson plans that WORK, and they are found right in our training manual. Don't stray from the basics. Know your resources and use them!

Is there anything else you want to share about your experiences tutoring kids?
The children we work with have one universal that the tutor must address: poor vocabulary! We only have 30 minutes with each child at a session, so every minute counts. This gets to the matter of tools. A dictionary is slow!

I encourage tutors to use a Kindle dictionary and read ahead to the next page, and put a new word into their Kindle before the student encounters it. It can be brought up immediately, and used much quicker than taking 1-3 minutes to look up in a dictionary.

You can enlarge the print, and the child is amazed. There is no fumbling through many pages and getting frustrated, as many have never used a dictionary. The kids love the high tech view, even if they don't have the technology themselves.

We write these words down to make sure the child retains their meaning by starting the next session reviewing them. I also love sharing with the child that I carry 153 books with me all the time and can bring any of them up in an instant.

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