This week’s challenge is to choose a political or social issue that interests you, and explain a little bit about it.
Bloggers have a keen understanding of what it is to have a voice, a forum for discussing the things that are most important to us as individuals and as a society. But what if we could not fully participate in that open discussion because our literacy skills did not measure up to the perceived norm out in the blogosphere? What if some of us came from high-poverty homes without books in them, without role models with a firm command of language, and then attended schools where our basic literacy needs again were not met? What if we were judged by the biases of the middle class yet given few of their advantages and tools with which to succeed?
The photos in this post were taken on Martin Luther King day at a volunteer National Service Day project we organized at the school where I teach. We promoted the event as a readathon. Come on in to school on your day off, receive a copy of the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, and, along with our volunteers, read as much of one book as possible over the course of the morning. We registered the event and attracted MANY more volunteers than we actually needed. People who were in town from all over the country for the inauguration came through our doors to read with our great kids. Asbury Methodist Church bought all the books, an outstanding act of generosity. Local businesses and organizations donated food and drink to keep everyone going. And our kids read. And read. And kept reading those books long after the event was over.
Don't ever underestimate your ability to touch the life of a child. There are literacy initiatives in every area of the country that could use your help. There are under-funded schools all over the country that could use your skills as a volunteer. Or you could donate funds to a stellar organization like First Book (these people are rock stars in my eyes) so that children in under-served communities can have books in their homes.
Part of this week's geeky task was to share books that relate to your stated social concern. I drafted a list really quickly (so many great titles), but then decided to scrap it. Instead, I thought I should ask everyone what it might feel like to want or need information, and not have access to it or the ability to read and comprehend it if you could lay your hands on it. So important to help give a voice, to give access to a book that might point a child to all the possibilities in life, to all the things they might become.