Longtime educator Daniela Robles is an instructional coach at Griffith Elementary School in Phoenix’s Balsz School District. Before participating in a panel on why Arizona schools are failing third graders who haven’t learned to read, she explained how she was changed by the year 2003, offered the question she wishes her students would ask more often, and shared her tips on getting reluctant readers books they’ll love .
Who’s the one person, living or dead, you’d love to have a beer with?
I’ll switch it to glass of wine because I don’t drink beer … Probably Hilary Clinton. I’m just mesmerized by her intellect, her tenacity.
What do you consider beautiful?
I think as I’ve become a little older, probably the more simple something is, the more beautiful it is. So something as simple as my daughter reading a book might be considered beautiful to me. Taking a walk. And I think at school when you can really see two or three students kind of engaged, and there’s a true friendship there—a bond. That’s beautiful.
What was the most important year of your life?
Probably the year my daughter was born, because in many respects, it just transformed me. It wasn’t simply about me anymore. It was about cultivating a new human. 2003.
What do you eat for breakfast?
That depends on the morning. On a good day—we’ll go with a good day—a granola bar and yogurt.
What question do you wish your students asked more often?
What is your biggest weakness?
Probably my refusal to accept things the way they are.
What’s the best book for making a reader out of a kid or young adult who doesn’t like to read?
I think the best book depends on the child. So you have to know the child, and the interests of the child, and then go from there. Because my best book won’t necessarily be the best book for somebody else.
What’s the last book you recommended that a kid latched onto?
Hope Was Here, and that was for a sixth grader.
If you had one more hour in the day, how would you use it?
Probably getting out and spending time just outdoors.
What does it take to get you out on a dance floor?
A glass of wine. [Laughs.] And really good music.