A lifelong reader and a retired educator, Mary Dee Williams knew when she first arrived at Williams
Elementary she wanted to show children how fun reading could be. However, her experience quickly
turned into a connection much deeper than reading.
In one of the sessions Dwayne and Josh* asked her “Why are you so squishy?” Williams explained to
them that it was because she was a grandmother and she was much older than them.
As funny as that moment was, Williams believes that was one of the reasons the two boys were able to
feel so comfortable and were finally able unlock the joys of reading.
“When they understood I was not going to judge how well they could read but only how willing they
were to try, we made good progress,” Williams said.
Coupled with her passion for reading and the boys’ curiosity, they were able to form a bond that went
beyond anything Williams expected. “I believe that the attention tutors give the student does make a
true difference in their self esteem and sparks their interest for reading,” she said.
That bond was deepened when Williams presented each boy with a copy of their favorite book,
“Z is for Moose,” at the end of the year. Both boys promised to read the book to their families over
the summer, and were looking forward to acting it out just like they did during the tutoring sessions
It is moments like these—laughter about a grandmother being squishy or acting out the voices in a
favorite book—that make connections and a lifelong love of reading possible.