Raising A Reader is implemented across the country at a variety of agencies. Make Way for Books (MWFB) is an early literacy organization in Tucson, Arizona that understands access to books is essential to developing basic reading skills, leads to longer and more frequent shared reading between parents and children, and produces increased enjoyment of books and improved attitude towards reading and academics. They have been utilizing the Raising A Reader program to fulfill their mission and have a positive impact on the families in their community. Each year, MWFB serves more than 30,000 children and families and 700 educators.
We'd like to share a story about a boy named Silas. Silas and his mom Melissa have been participating in the Raising A Reader program through Make Way for Books for three cycles. She had these incredible words to share about Silas' experience with his educator, Fernando:
"Silas is so excited to bring home his bag of books and when people come over her likes to drag his bag across the living room and into someone's lap to have them read to him. Every Friday when I tell him its time for book club he gets so excited to go.
What I have not told you is that Silas was born prematurely and is a bit slower than other kids his age, but I think this program is helping him reach the goals that we are striving for [in his development]. I think that one of the reasons why we love coming to Raising A Reader so much is your staff. Fernando Gonzalez is an amazing person!!! He has been at all our book clubs that we have attended with you and Silas loves him. When we were at our 1st session Silas was shy and did not want to go to other people; however, he warmed right up to Fernando and wanted to be with him all the time.
Fernando is such a kind loving person to the kids at book club and helps the parents understand why the things he says helps our children. He is excellent at teaching us parents new techniques to work on with our children and that it’s ok for us to get frustrated when our children don't do what we expect them to do. He is very helpful in us understanding why our children act the way they do and in helping us to learn how to get them motivated to do the activities we are attempting. Every child in our group loves Fernando as do the parents! Thank you for having such a wonderful employee, and for allowing him to be a part of our children's lives, Silas says thanks too!!!"
It is stories like these, and children like Silas, that demonstrated the impact reading and family engagement can have on a child. Raising A Reader is proud of the remarkable work Make Way for Books is carrying out, and grateful for staff like Fernando who truly care and live the mission of both Make Way for Books and Raising A Reader.