Growing up, Eddie Pozo had a love of reading.
“I’ve had this idea that reading has helped me to become the student I am,” he said.
When he started at Columbus High School four years ago, he decided he wanted to help kids — especially disadvantaged kids — become better readers. So he and his mom started a book club at the South Miami Community Center.
“We have advanced second graders, third graders and slower reading fourth graders,” Pozo said. “We meet with them once a week for an hour and a half.”
Any child who shows an interest is allowed in. However, they are limited to 14-16 youngsters per month. They read one book a month — going through three or four chapters each week.
“One child reads about a page, then I call another child to read,” he said.
At the end, each child receives a copy of the book when they are finished reading.
Pozo received a grant from the Miami-Dade Reading Council to purchase books.
Reading choices include the Magic Tree House series, Frindle, Geronimo Stilton and Flat Stanley.
“I choose the books. I research the books and the vocabulary,” he said. “I come with a list of about three of four books and from there they choose which books they want to read.
He’s proud of the how far the children have progressed.
“I’ve had the blessing to have two twins that have been in the book club since the beginning,” Pozo said. “I’ve seen how far their reading has come in that time. And what a difference it has made in the girls’ life.”
Although Pozo graduates in June, he has younger brothers who will keep the reading club going.
Pozo plays football for Columbus. He has talked with several Division III schools about playing while earning a degree in English. He also is considering Catholic University, UCF, FSU and UF. His goal is to go on to law school.
Outside of school, Pozo interned in U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s office for four summers.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld