Maria is a fourth-grade student who learned how to read last year, and now she doesn’t want to stop reading! She is a hardworking bilingual student who has thrived with individualized phonics-based support in reading. She is tutored weekly during the school day by a Reading Quest Reading Specialist at her south-side school.
Reading Quest serves 400 students each week in grades 1-8, mainly from Title 1 schools in Santa Fe and West Las Vegas, in addition to offering professional development workshops for teachers, parents and tutors.
Maria shared the following with her tutor:
“Reading Quest has made me feel happy. For once, I actually feel like I have somewhere to fit in. Before I figured out what Reading Quest was, I had a lot of trouble with reading — and when it was my time to read, I couldn’t even read one word and everybody would just look at me and say ‘She doesn’t know how to read and she’s in third grade’ and so I would never like to be picked (to read aloud). Reading Quest helped me a lot. Now that I have fully experienced Reading Quest, all I know is that there are multiple kids that are like me that can’t pronounce one word — and if I ever see a kid like that, I’ll tell them ‘Reading Quest is the place to go.’ ”
Maria’s spirit and curiosity for learning shines through in everything she does, and we feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with hundreds of inspiring students like her every week. Maria was able to attend our southside summer reading program and she was thrilled to participate in creating and filming one of our summer Reader’s Theater plays, complete with special effects and costumes. Maria played the part of the jester in the film, and even learned how to juggle, in addition to reading aloud and performing for the first time!
The Santa Fe Community Foundation invited its nonprofit grantees to submit stories related to our September topic of Education.