As a child, the time I looked most forward to was before bedtime, when my dad would read my sister, Maureen and I our favorite stories. Fifteen Minute Bedtime Stories, anything by Beatrix Potter or about Ramona and Beezus Quimby and the Dr. Seuss books were our favorites. Each weekend, we would go to the book mobile or library and pick out new books, and as we got older and read at night on our own, we devoured The Baby-sitter's Club and Sweet Valley Twins.
Unfortunately, a head start involving reading is not as idyllic for all children, youth and families in our community. Many children in the DC area lack reading materials and often reading is not commonplace in their homes. This month, JLW set out to promote reading and books as a critical resource targeting literacy through Resolution Read!. Along with fellow JLW volunteers Maya and Angel, I had the privilege of reading with the children at St. Ann's Infant and Maternity Home in Hyattsville, MD. Sister Kate was a fantastic cheerleader in promoting reading to the children at St. Ann's. To my delight, my assigned kids, Elijah and Saniya, were totally engaged in reading. Elijah, age 6, read to his sister, Saniya, and me several books: Where the Wild Things Were, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Go Dog Go! Elijah was a very strong reader and it was amazing as he read book after book before he decided that we read Flat Stanley together. It was a wonderful afternoon to kick off my personal goal of supporting our community partners and literacy mission as well as my own efforts to read more in 2012. Sr. Kate told us we were a hit, as too often the kids receive food or toy donations but the personal touch of reading out loud with our new friends at St. Ann's made such a difference! I hope Elijah and Saniya will remember their time spent reading as much as I fondly recall my early days falling in love with books.