Woman Strives For GED Decades After High School

Literacy In Wisconsin: Ruth Works With Her Tutor To Improve Her Reading

Benjamin Chun

Ruth came to her local literacy council for help in reading to eventually earn her GED. She was soon paired up with her tutor Bonnie.

“First when I got here I had problems with reading, understanding,” says Ruth.

Bonnie began volunteering as a literacy tutor after seeing a notice in the newspaper. She had recently retired and was looking for volunteer work. Bonnie’s been working with Ruth for nearly a year. They meet every Wednesday at the Oshkosh Public Library to read and discuss books. Bonnie helps Ruth sound words out.

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“Ruth is very committed to this,” says Bonnie. “She never misses. She’s made such huge progress this year. It’s really amazing.”

More than just improved reading, Bonnie says she’s seen a change in Ruth’s whole manner.

“The Ruth I first met was not this Ruth,” says Bonnie. “You were very quiet. You did not make eye contact, didn’t smile. Now she’s gotten that self confidence and she shines when she’s here.”

What began as a tutoring relationship has gone beyond just reading, though.

“I never had people do this before. I usually try to depend on myself,” says Ruth. “She’s been doing a lot of things for me that I don’t expect her to do. She looks out for me. I love her.”

With Bonnie’s help, Ruth ultimately hopes to earn her GED.

“If I did that I would jump in celebration,” says Ruth. “I did it!”