Elisa Rodriguez ’14 is a literacy educator on a mission for her students and for the field of education itself. “I want to put a plea out there for future educators,” said Elisa. “It’s such an important role for our world. It takes a certain kind of heart.”
Nominated for the International Literacy Association’s 30 under 30—an award that celebrates the rising innovators, disruptors, and visionaries in the literacy field—Elisa currently serves as president of the Seven Valley Reading Council. She also works as an academic intervention specialist for Newfield Elementary School in Newfield, New York, just a few miles outside of Ithaca.
Reading is a joy for Elisa, who sports tattoos of her favorite novels, including The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. She also knows that literacy creates a vital gateway for connecting more fully to the world, whether you are reading for pleasure, filling out a job application, or following street signs.
“I think it’s important to take a moment to think about what the world would be like if you couldn’t read or write because it would just so completely change your experience,” said Elisa. “If you can’t read text, if it is not accessible to you, you’re so limited in terms of what you can do. You’re given an unfair barrier. It’s kind of like looking through tissue paper where you can see the things, but you just can’t access them.”