Thursday, September 29, 2005

Reading is knowledge

CanWest is hosting its annual Raise a Reader day today. It is an opportunity to raise money to help those who need to learn to read.

For most of us, reading a a given. I still remember learning to read in grade 1. One word at a time, one syllable at a time, I started discovering what all these little symbold meant.

As a child, I was an avid reader, grabbing everything I could find to read. I have to dredit my parents for intilling in me the thirst for reading, for knowledge. I even remember doing a read-a-thon to raise money for multiple sclerosis. I read so many books in a week, I managed to raise a few hundred dollars (!).

Reading was an escape; I could read about anything, anyone and transport myself to another world, become someone, learn about a different culture.

Whenever I give a gift for a child it is always a book. I can spend two hours in the bookstore, pouring over children's books, making sure the book is interesting and that it will challenge the child's skills and imagination.

However, not everyone gets this chance. For some, they did not learn to read and everyday tasks become a horrible experience. How do you find a number in the phone book? How do you read and understand your bills?

Someone told me about finding out that one of their work colleagues did not know how to read or write. The office was having a team meeting and everyone in the room had to read a small text that was part of a team-building game. When this person's turn arrived, he fel uncomfortable, squirmed around and the room went silent. Someone made an excuse for the person and they moved on. But it was there and then that people realize the illiteracy can hit closer to home than you might expect.

My grandfather moved to Canada from Poland. He never learned to read or write in English and had to rely on his children to read anything from prescription notices, to bills and more.

22 per cent of Canadians have a hard time dealing with printed material. That is about one in five people. That means, chances are, someone close to you, a neighbour, friend, colleague cannot properly read and most probably feels ashamed to admit it.

Raise a reader is a great way to ensure all children get enough teaching for them to be completely literate. Literacy is linked to better job opportunities and is simply a easier life.

Please, either make a donation to the Raise a Reader Campaign or simply help out a child or friend with reading. Reading with a child is truly an wonderful experience and they will be forever grateful.


Blogger Sikander said...

I also believe that good literacy is the key to good writing skills. Unfortunately, even many university and college students nowadays have only an elementary grasp of the written English language, which I think is shameful. With technology being so prevalent in our lives, we are reading much less of quality materials as we used to and thus our spelling, grammar and style are all suffering. Sure, we read a lot online, etc., but most of it isn't material that would help improve our skills. If anything, it probably does the opposite.

Plus, spell and grammar checkers don't do much to help either.

11:05 PM  

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