Harriet Dodder reads to Sadie Stretz. Courtesy photo
Do you remember the joy you felt in learning to read, of escaping into favorite books, of exploring the world through books? Do you remember a favorite teacher who nurtured your thirst for knowledge? Harriet Dodder was such a teacher. She began her career in Los Alamos in 1951 and taught here for 40 years. After retirement, she missed working with children so much that she volunteered as a reading tutor at Barranca Elementary School. Mrs. Dodder loved to read and fostered that love in the children she taught.
Research shows that access to books builds literacy. One study of more than 600 schools in Texas examined the effects on student achievement of several variables—and the quality of the school library outweighed the effects of other school variables, including computers per student, teacher experience, and even teacher turnover ratio. To inspire readers, school libraries must have a good supply of books; the greater the choice of books, the more children choose to read. However, the price of books goes up each year while library budgets do not. The average price of a book with a library binding is now $18.
Library week begins April 8. This is the ideal time to help elementary school libraries and honor the memory of a dedicated teacher by donating to the Harriet Dodder Books Memorial Fund. Dodder died last summer, and this fund is an outreach effort of a group of friends and family who felt that supporting school libraries would be a fitting way to recognize her dedication to teaching and reading.
The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation agreed to help by collecting and disbursing donations. The memorial fund will close at the end of May, and the proceeds collected will be divided equally among the five elementary school libraries in Los Alamos and White Rock to be used to purchase books and other educational media. All donations are tax deductible. Dodder’s friends and family want to ensure that all those in the community who knew her as a teacher or tutor and all those who support literacy in schools are aware of this opportunity to honor her services.
To contribute: write a check to the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation.
Put “Harriet Dodder Books Memorial” in the memo line.
Mail to: LAPS Foundation, 1900 Diamond Dr., Suite 1, Los Alamos, NM 87544