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  • Jocelyn Reyes

Thank you, Tía

By Jocelyn Reyes, Marketing & Outreach Representative 

My interest in books was first encouraged by my mom. Before bed, she read me books about nature or fairy tales in Spanish, our first language. Both topics fascinated me while also putting me to bed relatively quickly! While she read, I loved asking questions and imagining the scenes she was describing. From there I fell in love with reading with my mom.

Once kindergarten started, my mom decided to put me into an English as a Second Language (ESL) program. Although I knew how to speak English, I didn’t know how to read or write in English. After kindergarten, I got bumped into the all-English program. This was an enormous adjustment. I had improved my

Woman and young child

reading and writing skills a bit the year before, but I was not at the same level as my peers. It was hard! That is where my Tía Wendy came in. Although she is not my aunt by blood, she has played a special role in my family. Throughout my mom’s pregnancy, she was her biggest supporter. As I grew up, she quickly became my supporter too. We normally spent weekends together doing fun activities while my mom worked. When she heard about my struggles in school, she knew exactly what to do. We turned to books together. We started going to the library together and picking out books in English. We spent our weekend afternoons reading or participating in activities at the library. She helped me connect what I already knew how to do in Spanish and helped me master those skills in English. Before I knew it, I was caught up with the rest of my first-grade class. 

Now working at Book Harvest feels like a full-circle moment. I get to work for an organization determined to provide books to kids just like me! It is a pleasure and honor to work with children who might be learning English the same way I did. Thank you Book Harvest and thank you, Tía Wendy.  


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