Reading Ahead: Fieldwork highlights – Tracy

Reading ahead logo with space above

During the fieldwork cycle, we write quick summaries of each interview session and send these immediately to our clients so they can start to circulate stories. At this point in the process we strive to stay descriptive; our goal is just to get stories about the people we’re meeting out to the extended team (us, our direct clients, and their stakeholders).

Here is the first of these highlights for Reading Ahead.

We met with Tracy (not her real name) and her two sons at their home in a suburb of Santa Cruz. Tracy is a stay-at-home mom and part-time massage therapist, and is going back to school in the fall to get an MA in Occupational Therapy.

Reading is a big part of her family’s life. She reads every night with her sons (including a two-hour Harry Potter session the night before), and told us she does different voices for each character in the stories.

Reading has always been important to Tracy, and she showed us several books from her own childhood that she keeps on her shelves–including one that her father had when he was a child. She also talked about sharing book recommendations with her Mom and her friends.

Childhood books

In addition to a regular set of reading rituals with the kids, Tracy reads on her own, which she describes as: “My way of getting completely unplugged.”

Tracy and her boys make a weekly trip to the library, which usually culminates in a big spread of books on the living room floor.

Back from the library

I asked them to show us what this is like. Watching the boys comb through the pile to choose a book, I was struck by how physical their interaction with the books was.

There was also an interesting family moment where I asked about a book Tracy mentioned (Tacky, a children’s story about an iconoclastic penguin), and all three spontaneously recited the names of Tacky’s friends in perfect unison.

Here’s a short clip from that part of the interview:


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