We go to the library every Friday morning to check out books.
One of my 6th grade students needed a more appropriate reading level book from the library to read in my class.
They all participate in a literacy program called Reading Counts. They read a book.Those that can. Take a test on the computer. And get charms on a chain necklace for points as they pass them.
This particular student had gone to the library with his 6th grade homeroom class weeks prior and picked out a book. This book.
A chapter book, just like all the other 6th graders were reading, but unfortunately for him, he could not read it. The words we’re too difficult for someone with an intellectual disability. So he carried it around for weeks. He’d open it up to a different page each time he “read” it. He’d pick out a few words he could recognize on the page and then close the book. In his mind, he had “read” his book.
I finally found a moment where just he and another 5th grade boy were in my classroom alone together. I asked him if he would go to the library and get a book to read. One for my class. One that he could read most of the words in a sentence.
I asked him if he knew where the books were located in the library that were at his reading level, and he did not, so I asked the fifth grader if he would mind taking him to the library and showing him. This 5th grader is a good kid, very shy and quiet, but I knew he was responsible enough to handle the task.
in my classroom peer mentoring goes a long way. I have 2nd through 6th graders, and they help each other.
They both readily agreed. Off they went. About seven minutes later they returned back with a book. A much more appropriate reading level book. I asked how the experience went, and this is what I heard.
The sixth grader shared with me that his homeroom class came into the library shortly after he had chosen a book. He did not want them to see him with such a beginner book, so he gave it to his friend, the 5th grader, who graciously carried it back to the room for him. It was priceless! His honesty, and his newly made friend’s loyalty to hi’s cause.
I used that moment as a teaching moment to explain to them both that no one should ever be embarrassed by who they are or where they are in life. To hold their head up proud, but to a 6th grade boy my words only fell on deaf ears.
I thank God for my 5th grader that day, and I thank God that my 6th grader now has a book he can truly read.
Literacy. Or better stated, illiteracy. It’s no joking matter. It’s very real in our public school systems today. In our cities, our states, and our country.
Let’s all do what we can to help stamp out illiteracy. Read to your children and grandchildren. Teach them to love books. Teach them not just the alphabet and words, but their meaning and practice comprehension as well.
Reading does not come naturally. And certainly not easy. Especially to those with an intellectual disability.
Those that cannot read miss out on experiencing so much in life. Life for them is a daily struggle. Poverty and illiteracy go hand in hand in that struggle. And the struggle is real.
Those folks are just as priceless to God as you or I. We all are equal. We may just not be equal on the reading level.
Here’s to those that reach out to help those that cannot read. Here’s to those struggling. Don’t give up. Even when it’s hard. If you can read this blog, thank whoever taught you to read. And thank God for the intellect to make it possible.
You are priceless to me. I love you and honor you, so I will trade other people for you. I will give up other nations to save your lives. Isaiah 43:4
Love and laughter,