Three Years of Lunch with Julianna

By: Robyn Tice, Boston Regional Board Member

Let’s face it, we’re all busy. But I’ve been a reading mentor for 4 years, the last 3 with Julianna at the Samuel Adams Elementary School in East Boston.  My employer, Eaton Vance, is a supporter of Read to a Child, which is how I first learned about this wonderful program.  I was initially intrigued by the impact reading aloud to children has on increasing their literacy skills and their future success.

But, let’s be real, I was also interested in what could be in the program for me. I don’t have my own children, I enjoy spending time with my friends’ kids, and I have the best memories from grade school about when my teachers would read out loud during story time in the classroom. There was something about hearing stories being told to me out loud that made me want to read books on my own.  I also come from a family of storytellers, so the art of conveying a compelling story was something I’m very familiar with.  I can remember family gatherings where my grandmother would tell stories with great animation and enthusiasm. Sometimes she would even change her voice and intonation to reflect the voices of different characters in her stories.

So, I got hooked quickly on reading in the program and I work hard to reserve the time to read weekly or as often as I can. Seeing Julianna’s excitement each week reminds me why making time for her is worth the effort.  At the end of the school year, she gave me a card thanking me for reading to her.  The note also included the line “I wish you could be my reader in 5th grade, too.”  So, while we still have one more year of reading together during her 4th grade school year, I have already started to miss her.


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