SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Book Festival is Saturday, April 6, and one of the organizations partnering with the good cause is San Antonio Youth Literacy.
The group has volunteers from all over the city, ranging from corporate sponsors to local university students to people who just want to help.
Our Max Massey sat down with one of the organizers, Mary Flannigan, about what SAYL means to the Alamo City.
Q: What exactly does San Antonio Youth Literacy do?
A: “We work with students who just need the extra practice to get them back on track with reading. Reading is that very first stepping stone; if you’re not reading in third grade, how are you supposed to solve that math word problem? Instead, students just keep falling further and further behind,” said Mary Flannigan.
There are thousands of volunteers every year who make sure they are doing what they can to help out.
“We partner with 71 elementary schools in four school districts, the north, northeast and now Harlandale ISD, that’s our newest partner,” said Flannigan.
Q: You are not only an organizer of SAYL, you are also a volunteer, what makes you want to help out?
A: “I see my students get excited about reading, they might be timid at first because it might be a challenge, but then they say hey, this book is kinda cool, I’m going to keep doing this. Overall, our students show an improvement of four reading levels in the program over the school year,” said Flannigan.
Flannigan said it’s crucial to get children all the help they can get before they complete the second grade.
“Once they get to third grade that's when they really need to be able to read to learn, so if they’re not reading on their grade level by third grade, they are four times less likely to graduate high school on time,” Flannigan said.