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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Take a lesson from Olivia Neubauer: 100 years old

and still teaching 'wonderful kids'

Olivia Neubauer turned 100 on Sunday, March 11. On Monday, March 12, she went back to work teaching reading to preschoolers and kindergartners at Ashburn Lutheran School on Chicago’s Southwest Side.

Olivia Neubauer, a member of Ashburn
Olivia Neubauer, a member of Ashburn Lutheran Church, Chicago, blows out the candles on her birthday cake celebrating 100 years. Neubauer teaches reading four days a week and directs a spring play. Asked why and how she has continued all of these years, she says, "I have faith in God and I love kids. All kids can be great readers."

It was enough to get the attention of every radio and TV news station in Chicago and land her on the national news. Neubauer, however, was unimpressed. She was doing what she loves to do, what she has been doing almost continuously since 1935. Watching her coach preschoolers in reading is like taking a class on how to make the difficult look easy.

“I have a plan of my own. … I take all the vowels first. There’s only five of them and they can handle five,” Neubauer said. “After that I work on the consonants … and by the time they get that, I make them put the first vowel and the first letter together and sound them out, and when they do that then they can get the rest of it.”


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