The Most Wonderful Post Of The Year – 2007

December 17th, 2007 · 6 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

Though I have been assured that I was born talking (first words, if legend holds true, were “I’m off to buy new shoes”), I believe my next major action was reading. I cannot recall a time when I was not surrounded by printed words. Most of my siblings survived childhood due to the fact that I preferred reading ingredients on cereal boxes over arguments.

Readers — natural, bone-deep readers — cannot fathom a world where there are non-readers. We find ourselves somewhat suspicious of people who don’t covet books. To have the ability to read without using it seems downright wrong. It’s sort of like an unused superpower. If you can fly, why walk?

Amazingly, sadly, in the year 2007, there are still Americans who cannot read. Around the world, millions of people with the desire for knowledge and entertainment cannot read. While we cannot solve all the world’s problems, we can do our best to increase literacy on this planet.

There are two key ways to help. First, donate money to ProLiteracy Worldwide. Second, become a literacy tutor. Wait! Here’s a third: do both.

Give the gift of reading — it will surely be passed on.

File Under: Square Pegs

6 responses so far ↓

  • Jim Murdoch // Dec 18, 2007 at 5:06 am

    About ten years ago I was asked to design and run a literacy and numeracy course. I wasn’t dealing with people who couldn’t read but none of the class had anything more than rudimentary reading skills. The thing I wasn’t prepared for was that my students lacked in lots of other ways. An inability to read is a symptom but it then becomes a cause in itself creating problems for the individual. I was quite naïve. I had a man in his forties who had no idea what an encyclopaedia was and a girl who didn’t know her date of birth; she knew the numbers but not what they meant.

    I can’t say it wasn’t satisfying but it was very intense work. I had been used to taking care of a class of over twenty IT students but these six were far more demanding. Whereas the IT class could be left to work on its own, the Literacy and Numeracy class needed constant attention. You, of course, had to be careful how you communicated; it is very easy to start talking down to these people. It took guts for every single one of them to get off their butts and join the course. Every one had low self esteem to start off with and it was hard to build up and very easy to shatter.

  • K.S.R. Kingworth // Dec 19, 2007 at 8:37 am

    A few months ago when my family was milling about in the kitchen I said to my husband and daughter, “It’s strange, but I have the strongest feeling that I’m going to be going to India and Africa to do something important.”

    The next week, I was invited to a booksellers convention put on by Richard Paul Evans and Robert G. Allen. I heard Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul author) say on stage that part of the company’s aim (called Bookwise, which was new to me) is to teach literacy in India and Africa. That was a real aha moment for me.

    I hope one day I can write back and say, “It happened. I made a difference.” From Jim’s comments, it sounds as though it is tough but rewarding work. I can’t imagine a life without reading. Words have been some of my best friends throughout my life.

    Thanks for the article, Kassia.

  • Susan G. // Dec 19, 2007 at 8:50 am

    I work with a charity called First Book. (First Book Erie is my chapter.) We work on getting new books (a series of them) into the hands of poverty-level kids.

    Studies have shown that in middle class homes, the ratio of books to kids is like 13 books per kid. In poverty level homes, it’s something like 1 book per 100 (or more 0 can’t find the stat right now) kids!!

    Make them cherish books at a young age and want to read! That’s a valuable first step.

    So you can donate to First Book at their website, or get involved with a group in your area — or start one if you don’t have one.

    Or check this out as a way to help literacy efforts:

  • Anonymous // Dec 20, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    Great post, indeed. I also work with adults on improving their reading skills. I have always been a reader, so seeing the world through non-readers eyes has been very interesting and life altering. Thankfully, what we do works, many start reading novels for the first time ever!

    Thanks for the info on giving books to kids in poverty, Susan, that’s a great cause!

  • Susan G. // Dec 21, 2007 at 8:43 am

    Borders is also currently sponsering a drive for funds for First Book. If you’re buying books at a Borders this weekend, ask them about making a donation to First Books.

    (And if you’re in Erie, I’ll be doing giftwrapping at the Borders on Saturday, from 1-5, all in the name of First Book. So stop by, say hi, and drop some money in the kitty. I’ll giftwrap any books, CDs, DVDs, etc. that you buy that day in exchange. LOL!)

  • Fatima // Dec 26, 2007 at 8:07 am

    I hope you had a great Christmas! ;D

    A little smile, a word of cheer, a bit of love from someone near; a little gift from one held dear, best wishes for the coming year… May you have a wonderful 2008! ^_^