Connectivity and community make a world of difference and give life a unique brightness and purpose. For however connected the world is digitally, person-to-person interaction can dwindle over the years for a variety of reasons. That’s where first grader Maggie Kuznia comes in, who spends her free time socializing with residents of a local senior apartment complex.
In general, she’ll strike up conversations about anything that strikes her fancy, from tidbits about the world to her excitement to learn. But most particularly, Maggie reads – a lot. She will readily shelve her favorite game system, take up a book, and travel around the halls to keep residents company.
First grader Maggie Kuznia hung up her video game system in exchange for every book out there
It began last winter when Maggie was packing her bag for the day ahead. It was a snow day, which meant, like usual, she would spent her time with her mother, Tiffany Kuznia. Tiffany reminded Maggie to pack her Nintendo Switch, to which the youngster said, “I’m not bringing that today, I’m going to bring books and I’m going to read to the residents.”
Maggie’s mother works at Heritage Grove and ever since last year, Maggie has used her time there to patrol the halls in search of seniors she may pull aside, chat with, and read to. She’s ready The Good Egg to 96-year-old Margaret Sondreal, whom she’s on a first-name basis with. When Maggie stumbles on a word, Margaret helps along by informing her it’s “Exhausted.”
But hiccups like that have been happening less and less – for a very inspiring reason.
Maggie’s parents cultivated her love of reading as early as possible
A book is a portal to another world and Maggie has stepped through countless doors since before her first birthday, as Maggie’s parents read to her before she was even out in the world. On top of that, they’ve provided her with several reading tutors.
“It’s helped it tremendously,” said her mother. “And it built up her confidence of reading too.” Even without her parents directly commanding her, this first grader continues devouring new literature. “She falls asleep every night with a book in her hands. Every morning there’s like three or four books in her bed.
Not only does Maggie’s work provide a crucial social outlet for the seniors of Heritage Grove; she also inspires and impresses all who learn her story and hear her read.
“She’s such a good little reader,” gushed Patti Griggs. “I taught first grade, and I taught kids how to read. There were very few children who could come in and read like that.” To outsiders, she’s a masterful reader. To the seniors she spends her time with, she’s their honorary granddaughter.