Team Read is Back at Leschi!

Earlier this month, Team Read returned to Leschi Elementary to provide one-on-one tutoring support for 18 young readers. “Team Read was a vital part of the educational experience for our 2nd and 3rd graders at Leschi for many years. I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to bring it back,” said Principal Lisa Moland. “The near peer experience for scholars is exciting to see!”

The Moland family has a long history with Team Read. All five of Lisa’s children were either Team Read students or coaches. And her daughter, Lydia, went on to be a Site Coordinator at Thurgood Marshall Elementary school after being a student reader at Madrona Elementary. “I love the fact that high school students are giving of their time and energy to provide explicit and clearly crafted lessons in support of our scholars’ literacy development. The student readers really look up to their teen coaches.”

Principal Moland attended one of the on-site coach training sessions and took the opportunity to speak with the teens. “The personal stories they shared with me and the group around how they became readers gave me the confidence that they could make a difference in the lives of our scholars,” she explained.

We’re excited to be back at Leschi and look forward to watching these young students and teens learn and grow together over the next several months!

Site Coordinator Spotlight: Danielle Alford-Warfield

Danielle is a paraprofessional at Cascade Middle School and the site coordinator for the Team Read 4 Program at Hazel Valley Elementary.

Why did you want to work for Team Read?
As somebody who struggled with reading until high school, I felt like this was a great opportunity to show young readers that they aren’t alone, and it is possible to overcome their reading challenges.

What background, experience, skills, interests do you feel you are bringing to this role?
When I was a freshman in high school, I had a fabulous paraeducator who refused to give up on me and helped me get up to grade level in reading. This experience inspired me to work in the Read for Meaning class at Cascade Middle School, providing small group reading instruction for low level readers. Reading is truly my passion; it is the backbone of all learning.

What has been the most interesting thing you have learned in this role?
I’ve learned how to keep the readers engaged after a long day at school. I try to make TR4 fun for them, so that they don’t feel like it is just more schoolwork.

How do you think TR4 is supporting the readers to be successful in school?
TR4 allows readers to work one-on-one with a teen coach and build a relationship with them. They have a mentor who is strictly there to support their needs.

What is your favorite thing about being a TR4 Site Coordinator?
I love being able to make connections with the readers and coaches. I get to provide them with support outside of the classroom. Readers also love the silly games that I come up with to play.


GiveBIG to Team Read Today!


Team Read’s “secret sauce” is our teen reading coaches. They have a unique ability to connect with and inspire young students, helping them become more confident, capable readers. We’re thrilled to have several long-time coaches and alumni returning to Team Read this June for our summer program, including Kenji Kurose, who tutored for Team Read from 2013-2017. “I’m excited to give back to Team Read and create more change by helping empower new coaches,” he says.

You can empower Team Read coaches and students too! Donate today and your gift will have a dual impact: 2nd-4th graders will gain the reading skills they need for a bright future, and teens will grow professionally and personally through meaningful work experience. Plus, all donations will be matched 1:1, up to $12,500!

Schedule Your GiveBIG Gift Today!


GiveBIG is tomorrow! Let’s encourage young readers like Roselynn to practice and sharpen their literacy skills over the summer and stay on course for next school year. Team Read’s summer program works to prevent summer learning loss for hundreds of students in our community. Our goal is to maintain reading momentum throughout the summer by continuing one:one tutoring with teen coaches and adding fun new activities!

With eight tutoring sites in Seattle and Highline, Team Read will be serving more students than ever before. Your donation can provide essential tutoring materials and supplies for our summer program, such as:

  • Power Reader Journals
  • Literacy board games
  • Books
  • Makerspace or art activities
  • Family engagement opportunities
  • Team Read t-shirts
  • Treasure chest prizes
  • Special visits from the Pacific Science Center, Creation Station, or the Reptile Man
  • Supplies for “Fun Fridays”
  • Snacks
  • and more!

All donations up to $12,500 will be matched 1:1. Schedule your gift today or make a contribution tomorrow during GiveBIG. Thank you for your support!

Sometimes It’s All About the Right Comic Book

After two weeks with her Team Read student Antonio, Hailey was struggling. Antonio avoided speaking in English. He wouldn’t read. And he never, ever smiled.

“Antonio, we have to read a book,” she’d often say.

The second grader frowned and spoke softly.

“I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish,” she said.

End of conversation.

All around them, other tutoring pairs seemed to click. Other little kids were reading books about marine life, solar power and American presidents. “I felt like I was failing,” Hailey said.

There was one English word Antonio had no problem using. “Boring,” he’d say when she brought him a book on animals.

Hailey tried to introduce all kinds of books. “Boring, boring, boring, boring.”

The only thing Antonio liked to read were the comic book adventures of a ghost named Johnny Boo.

One day, Hailey had an idea. She went to the local library and checked out all the Johnny Boo collections she could find.

“Let’s read Johnny Boo today,” she said at the next Team Read session.

Antonio stared.

“Go on.”

Antonio grabbed one of the comics and started to read aloud. He pointed out goofy characters he liked. Hailey didn’t know about Johnny Boo, so Antonio explained all the jokes.

For the next several weeks, whenever they met, Hailey and Antonio made a routine of telling jokes and making up stories. Antonio started to read more. He returned from the Team Read book boxes with new books he wanted to try.

In time, he confided to Hailey that he was embarrassed by his English. His family had moved to Seattle from Mexico five years earlier, and Spanish was the primary language at home. He also opened up about his playground fights with other kids. The closer they got, the more Antonio relaxed, and the more books he finished.

Antonio’s teacher Mrs. Sanchez noticed the change. “Whenever I checked in with Antonio and his tutor, they were reading.”

Earlier in the year, Antonio was getting in trouble a lot for anger issues, but his behavior took a switch in Team Read.  “They were always focused,” Mrs. Sanchez said of the pair.

Antonio’s reading jumped a level, then another, then another.

The most dramatic difference, said Mrs. Sanchez, was when she noticed Antonio smile. “He has a beautiful smile, and I never saw that smile during the school day.”

Hailey is delighted by the work Antonio’s done. “His teacher told me I’m doing a great job.”

Mrs. Sanchez isn’t surprised by the pair’s progress. “When you’re happy, you learn. It’s that simple. Antonio knows his tutor cares about him. He knows he’s special, and he’s learning a lot.”

Paying It Forward — Jack’s Story

我的姓名是Jack Khuu, 我是中國移民第一代在美出生的孩子


Reading Coach Bio: Jack Khuu

Years in Team Read: 7 (2 years in elementary, 5 years as a reading coach)

Promoted: Jack was promoted to Site Assistant after 3 years of being a reading coach (he started in 8th grade)

Tutoring Tip: Make it fun for your students—tell jokes!

Future plans: attend College to study technical engineering


2My name is Jack Khuu and I’m a first-generation Chinese American.

I was in Team Read in second grade, at an important time in my life. At home, my parents and grandparents spoke Cantonese. None of our books were in English and the TV was always on a Chinese-language channel.

When I tried to read in school, English looked weird and the alphabet made no sense. I never knew which sound to make when I read.

I was jealous when I saw the books that other students were reading, like Harry Potter and the Magic Tree House.

In Team Read, my tutor was a guy from Franklin High School who liked to tell jokes like: “Why did the chicken cross the road? And how many cats does it take to screw in a light bulb?” I never really understood. American jokes were confusing, but my tutor kept trying to entertain me. He didn’t treat me like a student; he treated me like a little brother.

He asked me what I wanted to read most. “Magic Tree House!” I told him. “But it’s way too hard.”

“Let’s do this,” he said. “I’ll read to you for a while, and then you can read some words to me.”

My tutor read to me, and then I started to read some sentences to him. After a while, I was reading entire pages by myself. “That’s great,” said my tutor, “Now read a little louder.”

I didn’t feel comfortable reading to someone else. I didn’t want him to hear me mess up words or get the grammar wrong.

“Okay,” said my coach. “We’ll come back and read it again later.”

I loved the book so much, I was happy to read it again, and every time I read it, my voice got louder.

We worked together in Team Read all year, and I kept trying harder and harder books. When the new Harry Potter book came out, I borrowed a copy from the library. I read it, then I read all the rest of the books in that series. For the first time, reading was fun.

A few years later, when I got to eighth grade, a representative from Team Read came to my school who said that eighth-graders could apply to be tutors in Team Read.
My student was a boy from Ethiopia named Yakub. I jumped at the chance to become a reading tutor for a little kid.

Yakub was so shy, he couldn’t even look me in the face and he was way behind the other readers in his class. I noticed that he was too bashful to make friends with his classmates.
At our first session together, I pulled out a book my old tutor read with me. When Yakub refused to look at the book, I told him not to worry about the words, but to look at the pictures instead.

We looked at the pictures and we looked for clues about the story. We asked each other silly questions. I tried to do everything my tutor did with me, to make Yakub comfortable.

“I want to keep reading,” he finally said.

If Team Read didn’t exist I never would have learned to love reading and I never would have introduced my student to books that got him excited to read as well.

This year, I’m back as a Team Read tutor for my fifth year. I’m also starting my senior year at Franklin with a 4.0 GPA.

I plan to attend the University of Washington next fall to get my degree in technical engineering. And I’m proud to report that I still read a lot and I now do my homework all the time.