I have a tender spot in my heart and mind for students learning English. A few years ago, our front sidewalk was the bus stop for the neighborhood school. Usually, I left for work before the students gathered, but one spring morning, as I walked to the car to go to work, I saw a beautiful sight.
A girl, who looked to be in 5th or 6th grade, leaned against my fence. She was alone. Her long brown hair shone in the morning sunshine. Her clothes were plain and her shoes were well-worn. She held a book in her hands. That alone was beautiful. She turned her head to look at me, but we did not speak. But then, as I pulled out of the driveway, I glanced over and watched as she read aloud from her book. I could tell from the way she moved her mouth that English was not her first language. She was carefully pronouncing each word, working facial muscles, trying on new sounds, intent on her practice. I thought about how proud her teacher would be. I wondered what hopes and dreams she had and knew that her relationship with that book could make the difference.