“When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any if left, I buy food and clothes.” –Erasmus
Last Thursday, I met a woman at a volunteer event and we started chatting. We then (don’t ask me how) started talking about the oddest things that made us cry.
She cried off of The Three Bears. Yours truly, cried over the Brady Bunch. (Particularly the episode where Marcia enters Mike in the “Father of the Year” contest)
Be warned. I couldn’t get the Brady Bunch theme out of my head, so the poem below was written by the tune. Apologies for this. But there is a silver lining—you can’t hear me sing it. 🙂
Here’s the story of a man name Jerry,
Whose children could read and write and spell
When they asked him how do you spell “ferry”
Of that, he could not tell
Then the one day Jerry met a student
And he thought she could help him, yes indeed
He was happy because he had done the right thing
The student taught him to read
Whew! Glad that’s out my system!
If you haven’t guessed, I was the student–one of 20 people–who taught a group of men and women to read. Jerry was a father of four who worked as a manual laborer and any document he needed to sign or know about, he’d ask a friend or neighbor to read for him. He came to the program wanting to better himself and have his children be proud of him.
Three months later, he could read all Dr. Seuss’s books, a few Nancy Drew books (He liked mysteries) and some articles in the newspaper.
In addition, he could finally fill out an application for employment with some assistance. That was a big moment for him. But an even bigger one for me–a mere 19-year old. I’d done something useful, and in turn, I’d deepened my love of the written word.
As writers, and lovers of the written word, we basically know when we fell in love. Imagine, those who can’t experience that joy, because they can’t read.
There are literacy programs nationwide such at UNESCO and the World Literacy Foundation that need people to teach others how to read. But you don’t have to go that far, look in your towns at the high school and colleges and libraries. They’re always looking for people to join an adult literacy program.
And once that task is done, and “your student” discovers the love of reading, there’s no stopping them.
Children love to hear a good story. My three-year-old grandson will grab a book and “read” to me, which is remarkable since he hasn’t learned as of yet. What he has learned is that at certain times during our reading sessions, the inflection in my voice means that trouble is brewing or something wonderful is about to happen. Now when he “reads” he imitates me.
There’s always a need to teach children to read through mentoring or just participating in programs such as Read Across America and RIF.
RIF “Reading is Fundamental,” continues to ring true. Without reading, it would be rather difficult to translate and understand other areas of study such as science, mathematics and technology.
If you’re thinking about it, or just want to keep in the back of your mental Rolodex, check out some of the places mentioned. If you’re really ready, then grab a book and get to reading or tutoring. Trust me. Your love of the written word will deepen.
And who knows you may get all choked up–just like I do from the Brady Bunch. Oh, and for your singing pleasure, the Brady theme song. Okay, everyone, once more with feeling!