#AlwaysThere: Reading

Through the end of the year, we’ll be sharing stories that demonstrate our year-end campaign theme: #AlwaysThere. It’s what inspires Reach’s work, and it’s what we try to be for our kids. We hope you’ll use #AlwaysThere to tell us your stories using Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And, when so inspired, we hope you’ll visit www.reachincorporated.org/alwaysthere to make a contribution.

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Linsey (left) with fellow Site Managers,
Kim Davis and Luisa Furstenberg

This post was authored by Linsey McCombs, our Site Manager at Ballou, Eastern, and H.D. Woodson.

I was five years old and completely bored. All day long the movers were in and out of our new house in Connecticut, placing our boxes in the various rooms. I remember sitting on the front step…just waiting. I was so desperate for them to finish because my dad promised me that we could go to Waldenbooks – does anyone remember Waldenbooks? – if I stayed out of the way.

Finally, the movers packed up their supplies and left.  And off we went to the bookstore. I have always loved bookstores. Even when I was little, I knew that there were amazing stories just waiting for me. I enjoyed searching the shelves until I found the perfect book. That day, I picked Cinderella. I couldn’t wait until bedtime so I could ask my Dad to read it to me.

That’s one moment when reading brightened my day. In my lifetime, there are too many to count. Once I was able to read on my own, you couldn’t stop me. There were many nights when I stayed up late to finish a book, keeping the light dim so my mom wouldn’t know I was still awake. I heard warnings that I would ruin my eyes. That didn’t deter me. (Note: The fact that I wear glasses now is unrelated.)

In school, English class is where I would shine. I understood the power of words. When I went to my math classes, I felt I was in a foreign land. The teacher and my classmates conversed in the local language while I sat there confused. Literature was my home. I understood it and its rules. I scrutinized character development, themes and figurative language even before I knew those terms.

Eventually, when I entered Boston College, I chose to pursue a double major in secondary education and English because I wanted to help students love words like I do. Yes, reading always brought me joy, but it also allowed me to accomplish my goals. My school performance, college acceptance, and current employment all happened, in part, because I can read.

I am proud to work at Reach because it allows me to support students who feel about reading like I did about math. Whether the books that kept me company when I moved to a new town, or the words on the applications I completed to achieve significant life goals, my ability to read has been something I have leaned on my whole life. If our kids do the work now, books and words will be #AlwaysThere for them, too.

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