An Ode to Literacy Leaders

Olivia LaViolette

Starting my first summer with Wise Readers to Leaders as Program Manager gave me a bird’s eye view of all three campuses. I had the privilege of dropping by each site throughout the six weeks to absorb the unique energy and the little world they had each created unto themselves. Every classroom operated as its own embodiment of the program — a manifestation of what it truly meant to get our scholars to sit, listen, and focus, all together. Not an easy task, especially over summer vacation, but the Literacy Leaders consistently emboldened and harvested the ideas of our young learners.

      Our Lit Leaders truly amazed me. They arrived every day with an incredible enthusiasm, ready to sing their heart out in Reading Rally, a manage a classroom of squirmy little ones, and play soccer in the heat of a July evening with scholars while their parents attended a workshop about immigration policy reform. One Lit Leader had a notoriously difficult group, with scholars continually interrupting her, distracting each other, and shifting all over the classroom. Within minutes of visiting her classroom, I was dizzied by the restlessness in the room. I did my best to keep scholars focused, always following her lead. She was so patient, taking pauses after almost every sentence of the book to bring everyone’s attention back to the story. She remained diligent about ensuring that every scholar participated and supported each other in their learning. At the end of the day, she would be exhausted, but never without a smile on her face.
      These moments of watching our Literacy Leaders naturally take charge of their classroom while remaining gentle and encouraging was such a gift throughout the summer. Many of these moments of heroic composure and graciousness went unseen by anyone outside of the classroom, but undoubtedly landed in the minds and hearts of our scholars in ways yet realized.Our Literacy Leaders and management team continued to remain loyal to the values of understanding, persistence, and passion that lie at the foundation of Wise Readers to Leaders even on the most taxing of days this summer. They planted seeds in our scholars that they may have not seen grow, but someone down the road will witness these flowers of confidence, inspiration, and connection blossom.Thank you to our staff for making relentless efforts every day and keeping Wise Readers to Leaders grounded in its mission of providing holistic literacy and enrichment programming. Your dedication to your scholars will grow in them for years to come.