Do Something Good: A traveling library and a Pomeranian make reading fun for area school children
MADISON, Wis. — Many of us are familiar with the phrase Reading is Fundamental, but the history of its origin is somewhat more obscure.
In 1966, Margaret McNamara, the wife of then-U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara, was reading to children at a Washington D.C. school. While there, she found out that many of the kids didn’t have their own books. That experience helped create the nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental. Its goal is to make reading fun and part of everyday life.
Today here in Madison, Wisconsin, Lisha Terre works in the medical field as a clinical research associate. She said that Madison Schools’ Race to Equity report that showed 84 percent of African-American third-graders were reading below grade level upset her so much that she knew she had to do something.
By her side is her little Pomeranian, Tchotchke, better known as “Big T.” Together they started “Tales with BIG T.”
Big T helps kids learn to read out loud and feel more confident about their reading skills.
Lisha has a traveling library with over 100 books, and most of them feature a character of color. Lisha said she feels it’s important that the children see themselves represented in the books they read.
They visit schools, community centers and parks year-round, to help kids build their reading confidence.
To Lisha, the inspiration behind her dedication is easy to explain.
“I live in the community and I want to live among a community that’s working for their kids here. These kids are going to grow up and run this community,” Lisha said. “This is really just done out of the love of kids and dogs, and books and literacy.”
Lisha is a self-proclaimed “book pusher,” and this community is becoming a better place because of her passion to do something good for our future leaders.
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