Marta Arroyo Spreads Love for Reading with 'Read Alouds' for PSCDC Residents
SAN DIEGO, CA – World Read Aloud Day–day dedicated to the importance of sharing stories and challenging participants to grab a book, find an audience, and read-aloud–falls on the first of February. We believe, however, that the joy of sharing stories shouldn't be limited to once a year. To share the excitement of reading, PSCDC has collaborated with award-winning bilingual children's book author, Marta Arroyo, to tour properties across California and share her stories with our residents.
Supplemental educational opportunities and resources–outside of what public schools and government programs already provide–are difficult to incorporate into the budget for a low-income household. Despite the added expense, parents and individuals believe that investing as much as they can into pursuing quality education will lead to a more comfortable financial future–and the data backs them up. According a 2021 survey by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers age 25 and over who attained less than a high school diploma had the lowest median weekly earnings ($626) and highest unemployment rate (8.3) among all education levels. Workers with graduate degrees (master's, professional, and doctoral degrees) had the highest earnings and lowest unemployment rates.
"PSCDC promotes reading/literacy as part of its mission to empower our residents to achieve economic and social stability," states Robert Laing, President of PSCDC. "We offer many educational services, such as after school programs at family properties, as a primary service because they are the essence of our mission. [Marta's visits] was an idea that evolved, similarly to the food distributions, to help increase resident awareness and interest in our educational programs."
Marta first started to host read-alouds as a means to introduce her books, connect with her audience in a more personal level, and ignite the passion of reading inside people. While hosting read-alouds at different schools and libraries, Marta began visiting PSCDC properties in 2018, where she found residents of all ages enjoying and listening to her stories inspired by her personal experiences. Since she began, she has visited PSCDC properties in San Diego, Imperial and Orange counties. Her visits are promoted in advance by Resident Services Coordinators by way of fliers and door-to-door visits with residents, and have had a very positive response from children, parents, and even seniors. Attending residents are treated to snacks, refreshments, and raffles to win household prizes including Marta's books. For Resident Services Coordinators, Marta's visits are an opportunity to promote community building and inform residents about the community's overall Resident Services Program.
"I gradually started writing so many years ago when communicating in letters to my siblings and parents," said Marta when interviewed about the start of her writing career. "My sisters and I wrote to each other to tell of our times with family and news of our young lives. I had La Fiesta y el Mariachi and The Story of Señora Tamales published, and poured my energy into this interest. I really loved putting down my family's history through these stories. Ever since then, I kept going, and writing. I joined the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrations in 2014 who have helped me connect with people who love writing and publishing."
Her first books, La Fiesta y el Mariachi and The Story of Señora Tamales were heavily influenced by her childhood–especially her mother's cooking.
"During my visits to our home from college, I loved being home for her amazing cooking. I was always in love with my mom's cooking and in awe of her expertise in making tamales and tortillas. I started writing La Fiesta y el Mariachi, back then, when I recalled the early mornings spent getting ready to go to the fields with my dad. My mom had the radio on while she prepared the lunches. So much Mexican music blared from the radio! I also started working on Señora Tamales before my mom's passing in 1994."
Now an award-winning bilingual children's book author, Marta has had two additional books published–Polvorones and Jorge and the Lost Cookie Jar–and is looking to write and share even more of her stories with her readers. For her, the goal is to inspire and guide everyone–especially young readers in this day and age–to pick up books and read.
"I value reading and am proud of having had the opportunity to attend a university when I was accepted at UCSB. I think many, many parents want a good education for their children. Hispanic parents want their kids to do well in school, to acquire higher education. Years ago, a lot of our parents did not have these opportunities. Nowadays, more and more children are learning to read and liking it. It's a valuable tool to excel in school. Reading is a light at kids' feet. It directs them to keep succeeding in school."
Marta will continue to visit even more PSCDC properties across the various counties this year. All of Marta's books are available on Amazon.com.