For the last month we collaborated with the Indiana Adult Association Continuing Education (IAACE) in the month of June to blog about Adult Literacy. IAACE released their blogs on Wednesdays. The writers were Tom Miller, IAACE President; Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw, our volunteer tutor; Bob Stephenson, The Literacy Coalition-Kokomo; and Darrell Murray, our student. We blogged a reply on Thursdays with: me; Courtney Keating, Ron Whitler, Board of Director’s Chair; and Ashley Sauer, our student as our writers. Each blog was a story and their perspective.
But, it wasn’t just about telling stories. We wanted the readers to make a connection with the stories. Tom mentioned the quote, “A child who reads becomes an adult who thinks.” He connected that to the first step of independence. I agree, but I’ll add literacy is essential to developing “the seven essential life skills: Focus & Self Control, Perspective Taking, Communication, Making Connections, Critical Thinking, Taking on Challenges and Self-Directed, Engaged Learning.” These skills are in every part of our education, even when we don’t intend it. Don’t let your child be an adult statistic of non-readers in the future. Be a part of the awareness, connect with a story and share it. One of my long-standing goals is to get people talking and sharing about literacy; if you have a spark, a true passion, then you should share it because someone’s spark may be dim or went out completely and you might inspire that passion to come alive again. Also, if one’s spark comes alive then it becomes contagious and we move closer to our goals and catching our dream. When you connect you are involved, you’re sharing and utilizing the community resources you have.
Tom ended with asking all to advocate for funding for literacy programs-yes, please do. We have come a long way from the days when my dad was looking for help to learn to read. He didn’t share his inability with many and we (his kids) weren’t supposed to know. He was a very smart man who taught me many things but when he passed away in December 1999, we found a phonics kit hidden in the closet where he was trying to learn to read on his own. I think it was because the awareness wasn’t enough then and the programs were few. I ask you to advocate, share, and connect because with all my heart I don’t want any adult to have to try to learn to read alone.
If you want to be a part of our passion and make a connection with literacy then get involved. I’ll listen and I’ll help you find a way. Please comment, call me (812-429-1222) or e-mail me.
Jennifer Wigginton, firstname.lastname@example.org
Note: The seven essential skills are from the Ellen Galinsky’s Mind in the Making book.