Like Son, Like Mother

Posted by Rachel Vogel-Quinn on Dec 8, 2016 8:00:00 AM

danielle and sons.jpg

"Mommy, Book Buddy came today!"

That's the excited refrain Danielle Marion's son Maxwell repeated nearly every week of his preschool year:

Maxwell attended Capitol Park Early Learning Center last year, and, as the weeks went by, his mother began to see a change in him: a newfound love of reading that was connected with his Book Buddy.

"Before Book Buddy, he didn't read too many words," Danielle says. "His vocabulary for what words he could read definitely expanded beyond the handful of sight words he knew."

Danielle adds that Maxwell also learned more about physical books: the cover, the author, when to flip the pages. He especially liked getting his new book each Friday—making sure to place the book safely in his locker to take home at the end of the day.

All this Book Buddy talk from Maxwell piqued Danielle's interest in the program.

"I saw that my son started to enjoy reading other than just looking at the pictures in the book." Danielle remembers.

Hundreds of central Iowa four-year-olds are at risk of not gaining the skills needed to start kindergarten.

Book Buddy reaches children in the critical year before kindergarten, helping them build the pre-reading skills they need for a strong start in school. For 40 minutes a week, volunteers read one-on-one with four-year-old-students at early childhood centers in Des Moines. 

Learn more about Book Buddy

"He was gaining more respect for the words in the book. I wanted to volunteer and try to give that to another child."

maxwell.jpgDanielle, who works at Principal, began volunteering at Conmigo Early Education Center in October. She's already built a rapport with the children and seen them grow more comfortable with her and with books as they follow along and point out specific pictures and words.
Danielle especially appreciates that Conmigo teaches children in both English and Spanish.

"I really enjoy it," she says of being a Book Buddy. "It has been a very valuable experience for me personally."

It couldn't have been more valuable for Maxwell, who is now 5 years old and enrolled in kindergarten. Danielle describes him as "fun-loving," "active," and "wise beyond his years."

Now, when he puts his bike away, he comes inside to read one of his Book Buddy books—all by himself.