Monday, April 18, 2005

Get Literate!

John Scalzi's Assignment for his Monday Photo Shoot is up.  And it's one of my favorite topics, literacy.  I've gone with two photos this time. 

#1  Amy and Kari's hall closet.  They have moved out, and yet the remnants of their childhood within this home remain.  Oh, Amy is now a teacher; she teaches 1st and 2nd grade at a Catholic school in a local farming town.  Guess you could title this photo "Where future teacher's come from."

#2 Another childhood revisited.  That's me reading to my younger sister, Chris in 1967.

Literacy is a very important topic.  Between 1990 and 1992 I volunteered four hours a week, every week, at the Adult Basic Education literacy program.  Of all the volunteer work I have ever done, my time spent in the literacy program was the most rewarding.  My first student wanted to pass the GED (General Education Diploma) exam, and was struggling with the English component.  On her first exam she scored a 54 percent; needless to say she was disheartened and frustrated.  I was assigned to work with her and the first thing she wanted to cover was poetry.  She just didn't get it.  Today, I can't recall exactly what I told her or how I explained it, but after she seemed to understand.  I spent about an hour with her.  Two days later, she retook the English component, and passed...with a score of 79 percent!  :D  When the instructor passed the news on to me, I was thrilled, and knew I was in the right place at the right time!  Over the next two years I worked with many students, and only quit when Kari asked me if I would.  Back then, I had a full-time job, a part-time job, and the literacy program.  Over time, I tapered my activities back to just the full-time job so I could be available to Sam and the girls.

Why did I get involved in literacy in the first place?  Simple.  I was writing a book and a part of me felt that it wouldn't do any good to write a book if my target audience could not read.  And, maybe it was my way of putting something good out there.  I have always loved books and reading.  The thought that someone could be missing out on so much...well, to me it was just unacceptable.  I wanted to change that, so I did.   


mkolasa101 said...

This is a wonderful post for Monday's Photo Shoot Challange.  You story and your pictures touch me deeply.  I've thought about volunteering to help others read.  I believe while your helping others you are also helping yourself.  I read well as long as I know the word but give me a new one and my phonics is not that woderful.  So I suppose I would learn right along with the person I was helping.  It would feel wonderful to help another develope self-confidence simply by learning to read or comprehend what they read.  Thanks so much for sharing.


gwatcdr said...

I am in college right now.  I have to take a reading class to move into english.  I see the difficulties some of us have.  It is a good plight helping people read and such.  I hope when I have become a teacher I can make a difference with people who need help in that.  Nicki

pixiedustnme said...

cool pictures!

upseted said...

My bedroom closets were always filled with books just like theirs!  Now, as an adult, my apartment is full of books.  The worse thing about moving is lugging all my books (and old record albums).  I too was a Literacy Volunteer!  High five!  
:-)  Great photos!

sarajanesmiles said...

Loved the photo's :o)
I've had my nose stuck in a book whenever possible for as long as I can remember, I've always loved to read, never go a day without a chapter or two :o)
I can't imagine what the world must be like for people that can't read, or have difficulties reading.  It must have been very rewarding for you to help with literacy, and life changing for all that you taught along the way.
Sara   x

karebear4x4 said...

Bravo!   You've planted a seed in me for when i retire in the near future i hope.   I've been wondering what to do once i retire besides continuing my school studies which won't last forever.  I really didn't get into reading til after high school and landed in the Azores, Portugal for my first military assignment.   This is when i really began reading and now don't have enough time for all the books i desire to devour.  Literacy is sooo important!   Thanks for this entry!~karebear

imperfectlyavg said...

My shoe closet looks like that, but I have no noble reason for it, like you do <g>.  Seriously, congratulations on raising literate, intelligent children.  That is an important contribution to the world.