“Reading together is a mental break for both of us.”

“Our weekly reading period is a mental break for both of us. I find it rejuvenating to set aside my own concerns for an hour and put myself in the shoes of a ten year old.” Scott Silverstein is an Everybody Wins! mentor at the Waitsfield Elementary School. He has only glowing things to say about his ten- year-old mentee, Riley, and their relationship.

Coordinator Laura Brines describes 4th-grader Riley as outgoing, thoughtful, and popular. He prefers illustrated books but has enjoyed chapter books like the Captain Underpants and The Alien in my Pocket series.

About their mentoring friendship, Laura says, “Scott supports Riley’s love of silly and humorous literature by reading aloud and using silly voices. He models a love of reading and learning—making the experience playful.” Riley’s mother too says that Scott is a great role model for Riley.

Riley loves Pokémon cards and shares his impressive collection with Scott. Until meeting Riley, Scott hadn’t played Pokémon since the original Gameboy video game twenty years ago when he was growing up. He doesn’t have any Pokémon cards of his own, but Riley is happy to share. They each create a deck from Riley’s stash and have a “battle.” Riley usually wins!

“There’s a fair amount of math and counting involved, and Riley is better at that than I am. You have to choose the right card to use against your opponent’s at the right time, and he knows more about that than I do,” says Scott.

This summer, Scott moved from Waitsfield to Richmond, 30 miles away. He is planning to make the trip weekly to read and play Pokémon with Riley this fall. Scott may lose a lot more Pokémon battles, but reading with Riley is a win worth traveling for.