Topic: Special Days
I was lucky. I went to a good primary school and I was taught to read and to write - a skill which I now take for granted. It is so much a part of my life that I could not imagine what it would be like not to be able to communicate in this manner. Well, perhaps that's not quite true! There are other methods of writing down English, Pitman's Shorthand for example. I did study it at college but I never truly mastered it and now it would be like looking at Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics for all the sense it would make to me!
Sadly, there are many people around the world who cannot understand their written language. It is for this reason that International Literacy Day has been celebrated globally on the 8th September for the past forty years. Never heard of it? Well, its main purpose is to recognise that the basic learning needs of all human beings, regardless of their age or gender, should be met in every country of the world.
"Although global literacy has risen by 10% in the past 20 years, 785 million adults, two thirds of them women, remain illiterate and 100 million children are out of school".Since 2000, the event has been expanded to include International Adult Learners' Week.
But this is a problem mainly affecting the developing world, I hear you say. That is true, of course, but the problem also exists right here in the United Kingdom. Sometimes it is a language barrier, sometimes it is Dyslexia, sometimes it is childhood illness or school phobia but it seems that many more children than we realise are being left behind and are leaving school illiterate. This results in many career doors being closed for them and there is a problem of embarrassment and feelings of inadequacy, too. (Do you remember Muhammad Ali being interviewed on Television in the Seventies by Michael Parkinson? Parky asked him to read a passage from a new book and nearly got punched because he had not realised that Ali couldn't read.)
If you know a child with reading difficulties, find out about specialist tuition in your area. Don't ignore it and think that they will catch up. Remember that the earlier a child gets help, the more chance he or she will have of overcoming their reading problem. Also, don't confuse poor reading skills with a lack of comprehension. Many children who can't read out loud understand what they have read which is, after all, the main point of reading.
Colleges everywhere offer Adult Learning Classes so, if you know an adult who has difficulty with reading, encourage them to go. It's not as hard as they think. Just the other day, I came across an extremely interesting Blog by Jamie McCoy:-