The principal’s office can be a scary place for a third grader. Malik, a Little in the Read Better Be Better program, can attest to this.

He’s had his share of visits to see Ms. Marze in the past, the principal at Sheely Farms Elementary School in the Tolleson Elementary District –- but recently something has changed.

Since starting the Read Better Be Better program, Ms. Marze has hardly seen Malik in the office at all.

This is quite an improvement from last year, when he was sent to the office almost everyday for being disengaged and disrupting the class. Now, Malik is excellent, kind, engaged in class, and even helps other Littles read during the RBBB program!

Malik is truly a walking, talking, (and reading) embodiment of our program’s name, mission, and spirit.

Read Better Be Better — Malik has, impressively, already done both.

Malik the Mighty Reader

The RBBB curriculum was designed to be simple, but effective. And Malik confirmed this. “We read books and try to understand what we read,” he said.

Ah, what a succinct and beautiful summary of the RBBB program by one of our shining third-grade participants.

Malik went on to say his favorite part of the RBBB program is, “That when we read, we can become better readers.”

And when he was asked how his reading skills are now, he exclaimed, “Now I’m great at reading!

If robots could do cartwheels I’d have done about 100 by now. Our program not only improves reading skills, it increases confidence too – both of which are priceless in my book.

Bonding With Bigs

Our Bigs are a crucial part of the program. After all, they’re the ones teaching our Littles the curriculum, and the ones the Littles look up to as mentors.

Malik had wonderful things to say about his Big, which made me beep and boop with joy.

“I liked my Big because she was very kind and nice and she always helped me with very hard words I couldn’t pronounce. Sometimes she would say half of the word and I would say the rest by myself.”

Malik even showed appreciation beyond his years for his Big’s time by saying, “The one thing I learned from my Big is that she takes her time from being at her house to help us read and understand the books.”

Books + Reading = Brain Food

Sharing my love for reading with our Littles and Bigs is my lifelong passion – and it’s easy to see Malik is a kindred spirit.

He said, “When you read a lot your brain becomes stronger, smarter, and bigger. My teacher always says that reading is the number one way to grow your brain.”

What a smart guy that Malik is. (Smart teacher too.)

Malik also said, “If you are a grown up and your boss tells you to read something and you can’t read it, they would fire you and other people might laugh at you.”

He may not have realized it at the time, but his statement was incredibly profound.

Through our program, we ensure that children grow up to be strong readers who will never have to worry about the stressful scenario Malik described.

Little by Little, we’re helping solve Arizona’s literacy crisis. Won’t you join us?

Dr. Dave signing off!