Seven-year-old Maggie Kuznia loves books, but she seems to love sharing the stories she reads even more. Once or twice a week, the little girl puts a few books in her backpack and gets ready to visit the elderly at Good Samaritan Society — Heritage Grove Senior Living in East Grand Forks, Minnesota. By offering to read a book to the seniors living there, she has not only grown more confident reading aloud, but she has also made a lot of new friends who wait eagerly for the tiny storyteller to stop by.
This sweet endeavor began on a snow day. Maggie's mom, Tiffany Kuznia, works as the activity director at the retirement facility and often brings her daughter with her to work. As little Maggie was packing her bag, Kuznia reminded her to bring her Nintendo Switch. Maggie quickly replied that she had different plans for the day. “I'm going to bring books and I'm going to read to the residents,” she announced.
With time, Maggie has become so beloved among the residents that she even has “regulars” she reads to every week. She often visits each one for over an hour—with her mom regularly checking in on her to make sure she isn't overstaying her welcome. Much to Maggie's delight, the residents are more than happy to have her around for extended periods of time. The reading usually leads to coloring books and doing puzzles with her elderly friends, who consider Maggie a granddaughter of their own.
Among the residents Maggie has befriended is Patti Griggs, a retired elementary school teacher. “She’s such a good little reader. I taught first grade, and I taught kids how to read. There were very few children who could come in and read like that,” the former educator said. Hoping to take Maggie's reading abilities even further, she bought her a book that she thought would be a challenge for the girl. To her surprise, Maggie read it with no problem. Now, inspired by their reading adventures, they are taking things to the next level by starting to write a book together.
Maggie hopes to inspire other kids her age to read to the elderly. On top of polishing her reading abilities and having a group of devoted listeners, her senior friends are always ready to help her when she stumbles with a new word. As for the residents, Maggie seems to brighten up their day. “I think the intergenerational part is so good,” Griggs said. “Everybody likes to have the attention of another person and be special to them.”
Seven-year-old Maggie Kuznia regularly visits the elderly at a senior living facility in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, and offers to read a book to the retirees living there.
Not only has she grown more confident reading aloud, but she has also made a lot of new friends who wait eagerly for the tiny storyteller to stop by.
Good Samaritan Society — Heritage Grove: Website