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Reading Buddy Spotlight

This month we would like to highlight Reading Buddy extraordinaire, Laura Labatt. Laura has been a Reading Buddy with SAYL for three years, and this past school year she logged 30 sessions with one of her students! She first learned about San Antonio Youth Literacy through her friendship with SAYL founder Harriet Marmon Helmle while attending First Presbyterian Church.  

Laura told us about why she feels the work of a Reading Buddy is so important: “Now retired from my 25-year career as a Speech and Language therapist, I feel it is important to continue teaching, especially reading. Often, I find students fail to read fluently because of a lack of understanding of the basic skill of phonics and word sequence. Reading aloud and hearing the words spoken while grasping a larger vocabulary is a critical step to fluency. Some of my second graders at Beacon Hill Elementary love being taught the key to unlocking the code of reading by “feeling” the sounds of the words and learning repeating patterns of word families. As the students become more fluent and sentences begin to make more sense, they delight in their new understanding. While writing their newly learned vocabulary words, they feel a sense of accomplishment.”

We are grateful for the dedication of Reading Buddies like Laura, bringing their expertise and passion to their work with students year after year!

Mary Flannigan

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