Good morning friends!
The past three weekends I have had the opportunity in different situations to learn more about something I’m passionate about. Reading.
It started in Rocky Point, Mexico. I don’t speak Spanish, two years of high school Espanol did very little for me. If I work very hard I can kind of sound out the words but have no idea what they mean. My husband, on the other hand, is fluent. I depended on him to read, speak and translate for me. It got annoying not being able to understand and I’m sure my hubby also got annoyed with the constant “what did they say?”, “what does that mean?”, “what’s on the menu?”. But for the first time I realized what it might feel like to be illiterate. Seeing words but not being able to understand them or maybe knowing a few but not getting the context. It was frustrating to say the least and quite honestly made me feel a little stupid.
The very next weekend I attended a reading conference at an amazing elementary school that focuses on literacy. Along with attending different workshops presented by the teachers at the school and in their classrooms three authors came and spoke. It was amazing and inspiring and motivating. I came home and pulled books from our bookshelf and placed them around the house to promote a love of reading in my children and to help make reading a bigger part of our daily lives. I learned how reading sets kids up for success. For those children who don’t fully grasp reading or who don’t have access to a variety of reading level appropriate books the chances of truly succeeding in life drastically decreases.
Just this Saturday I attended a training/simulation put on by the Arizona chapter of the International Dyslexia Association. This training not only taught parents and educators how to better teach those with dyslexia it also provided three simulations to more fully understand how dyslexia works and discover what our sweet, struggling children go through every single day.
Why am I passionate about reading? Because I love it. I have always loved books. Looking through them, touching them, holding them. Before I could read I would look through books and dream about the day I could discover what wonderful things might be hiding in them. It took me just a little bit longer to fully grasp reading than it does some kids. Once I did get it it took a lot of practice to make sense of the context of what I was reading. But books I do love.
My passion for reading has increased significantly ever since I realized my own son wasn’t grasping it. He had a horribly awful terrible third grade year when reading changed from learning to read to reading to learn. He is so incredibly smart that his frustration became uncontrollable and affected his behavior and how he felt about himself. After lots of research, asking questions and reaching out to friends and reading specialists I became convinced he had dyslexia. So we had him tested. He was diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia and executive function disorder. No wonder this kid was frustrated! My heart hurt for him and at times still does. I didn’t and don’t want my son to go through life not being able to uncover the wonders of a good book. And I hurt thinking of the struggles he will continue to have his entire life. I recently read about an intelligent, successful grown man with dyslexia who after seven years of living in his house made the comment that the only thing he didn’t like about living there was how far away the grocery store was. He then learned that there was a grocery store down the street from his house. For seven years he had been driving a significant distance to go grocery shopping because he misread the sign of his local grocery store!
I have been doing everything I can to help my sweet guy succeed. And, thankfully, his school and teachers have been also. He has an amazing team at school helping him and cheering him on. And he’s getting it! Hallelujah! He’s getting it! Last week he read Dogman by Dav Pilkey, the same author as Captain Underpants. He not only finished the book in record time but was so excited to tell me it was the first book he ever read that he didn’t have to skip a word because he couldn’t read it. As excited as I am for my own boy my heart aches for the many children who aren’t receiving the help they need, who don’t have access to the tools that will help them read. I am determined to be their advocate to those kiddos and the 20% of American adults who are illiterate.
I am trying to learn how to help. I want to find the way I can reach the most and do the most good. It’s overwhelming. But I can’t quit. Right now I’m helping my family. I hope to one day be able to help my community.
Those days I feel frustrated and angry with life and those days I feel like what’s the point I try to think of the bigger cause. If I give up, if I quit working, if I stop caring then that’s one less person who might be able to do some good.
What are you passionate about? What is something good you want to do or are working on? What do you tell yourself when you get overwhelmed? or be more healthy? Maybe it’s your goal to just get through the day. Honestly, that’s the majority of my days. But it’s so good to have something bigger to think about.
So, my friends, please know that I love you. You have somethings rest to do and I’m cheering you on!