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Executive Director’s Note – May 2019

“I think it’s the books that we read when you’re young that live with you forever.” – J.K. Rowling

Every month I try to find a quote by a person of note that I believe, if I were ever fortunate enough to have dinner with, would totally endorse the mission of San Antonio Youth Literacy and the necessity of books and reading to humanity. This person would appreciate that by helping children with their reading skills, building their confidence and making reading easier for them, enjoyment would be a natural consequence.  

Many of us can remember the moment that we began to read for enjoyment.  For me, I believe it was the first time the book fair truck came to my elementary school the spring of 4thgrade. I remember as a young child enjoying being read to, especially by my father who was very frequently absent due to his military career. But, the first time I can remember selecting a chapter book all by myself was a memory I will hold always. I still own that book, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. That in itself is remarkable having survived my mother’s pre-transfer culling of “stuff” before every change of duty station. The research on the importance of self-selection is voluminous and because of that we make it a mainstay of our program. Our trunks have bags of books, appropriately leveled, which makes it easy for Reading Buddies and their students to choose books for their sessions. As Reading Buddies, all of us have witnessed the excitement expressed by our students as they are allowed to sift through the books, touching them, flipping through the pages, relishing the illustrations and making that all-important choice. We know that some of these books will remain in their memories because, although they may have read the book, they continue to choose it over and over again. Nothing wrong with that!  

Even though the attainment of enjoyment through reading is more difficult to quantify, I offer up this anecdote. Yesterday, as I walked with my student to the library to begin our session, he could not wait to tell me what he did during Spring Break. You cannot even fathom the joy I felt when he said, “Miss Debby, I went to the BiblioTech.” WOW! Mission accomplished.  

Deborah Valdez, Executive Director

Mary Flannigan