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    Posted August 26, 2014 by
    Dallas, Texas
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    Presbyterian Village North Resident and Former Librarian Suggests Adding Books to Your School Supply List

    Reading, writing and arithmetic are often hailed as the most important parts of education. As parents prepare to send their kids back to school and frantically complete lengthy school supplies lists, one resident at Presbyterian Village North and former Highland Park High School librarian encourages parents to pick up what she considers to be the backbone of education—books. From her 25 years as a librarian, Mary Hoebeke says her favorite part of education is the exchange of ideas through reading. She believes books are the most important part of every curriculum and wants to encourage kids to set reading goals as they enter a new school year.

    “My favorite part about being a librarian was finding books that would catch students’ attention,” said Hoebeke. “I have had students come to me who dreaded reading and by the end of the year they became avid readers. I can remember a young man whose parents immigrated to the area from Vietnam. He came into Highland Park High School with a very low reading level, and I started him out with very simple books. After he surpassed those books, I would give him books I thought he would enjoy from the next reading level. He was able to read his way through the levels of difficulty and quickly caught up to his grade level. I learned later that he went on to Harvard after graduation, and I am so glad I took the time to help him conquer this language barrier through books.”

    Hoebeke originally was a teacher for ten years in Chicago. Once she started having children, she wanted to spend time with them at night without grading papers and creating lesson plans. Because of her love of reading, she decided to become a librarian and continued her career this way for 25 years. After her husband was transferred from Chicago to Dallas, she found a job working in Highland Park for 14 years.

    “I retired right around the time that libraries started changing everything from card catalogs to computers,” said Hoebeke. “Even though the library system has changed today and everything is digitized, I think it is still important for young people to have someone in their lives who encourages reading and recommends books to them. I still get nostalgic around this time every year and think back to those special times of going back to school each fall.”

    Hobeke listens to her own advice and reads anything and everything she can get her hands on in order to stimulate thinking. She is involved in two book clubs in the Dallas area and challenges parents and teachers to encourage their kids to read more this year. Her personal recommendations are “Mythology” by Edith Hamilton, anything by Jane Austen to get an understanding of 18th century Britain, and biographies of historical people.

    “Mary is always starting conversations around the dinner table about different books and encourages our residents to read,” said Lisa Englander, independent living life enrichment manager for Presbyterian Village North. “Because of her encouragement, we now have multiple book clubs on campus. Last week, the major discussion in the dining hall was about “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” by Charles Krauthammer. The discussions I overheard were incredible because the book highlights events over the past 30 years, and our residents have interesting perspectives to share as well.”

    Hoebeke encourages parents to pick up a good copy of a dictionary, thesaurus and any book that has fun facts in it. She believes having these tools are helpful not only with reading, but with writing and overall comprehension of knowledge. So as summer comes to a close, make sure your books stay open and you keep reading and exchanging new ideas throughout the school year, because according to Hoebeke, that is how learning happens.
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