Yolanda: Reading Pays Off

by Literacy Partners

Clock Icon 5 minute read

For Yolanda, it has always been about her children. She wants them to study hard, have a good education, a fulfilling profession, and most importantly, live a life easier than hers. Yolanda would stop at nothing to make that dream a reality.

She left Ecuador for New York not only for the job opportunities, but for the city’s wide range of diversity and culture. There was only one problem: her English skills weren’t up to par. She recalled her early struggles to us, “I had to ask other people to make phone calls for me.”

Harder though for Yolanda, was her inability to communicate with her children.

She joined Literary Partners when her daughter, Camila, was seven years old, and her son, Roger, just four. As Camila was already a bright student with a vast vocabulary, she encouraged her mother’s learning, and welcomed any chance they had to speak English together. Because of her dedication and drive to learn, soon enough, Yolanda was helping Camila with her homework, and was even able to coach her on her writing skills. Thanks to her mother’s attention and reading sessions – she reads to her children three to four times a week – Camila advanced even further than she already had, and is now reading at a level four, the highest level!

As an emerging reader, books by Dr. Seuss are Roger’s frequent choices, though at our recent Books of Their Own distribution, he discovered Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and cannot wait for his family to read it together.

Not only has speaking English strengthened Yolanda’s relationships within her family, but it has made it easier for her to make friends in her community.

Before joining Literacy Partners, Yolanda struggled to comprehend what others were saying, and often asked friends to make and answer phone calls for her. Thanks to her experience with us, Yolanda says that now, “I can do it myself!”

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