Guest Blog: Anne of Learning To Juggle
I care about literacy because I love reading. I love books more than T.V. More than movies. More than sports. The very idea of someone growing to adulthood without the ability to read makes me want to cry. This led to my first experience as a volunteer.
I worked with Volunteers in Teaching Adults, a group in the suburbs of Chicago that connected people trying to develop their literacy skills with volunteers that could help them. The first thing I learned is that my community is filled with people that need this kind of help. Because English is their second (or third, or fourth) language. I thought I would be working with those that had dropped out of school, or slipped through the system with an undiagnosed learning disability. But these students could read well enough in their native languages. They needed help to read and write in English.
Another important thing I learned: English is a messed up language. You all know how many exceptions there are to grammatical rules. Spelling rules. The way words are pronounced. It is hard enough for a native speaker. Try figuring it out when your brain is already filled with the logic of another language.
I fondly remember an evening when my very frustrated Ukrainian student declared that the lesson wasn’t making any sense. I explained it every way that I knew how. In English. I was rescued by my Polish student. He didn’t speak Ukrainian, and the Ukrainian student didn’t speak Polish, but they both knew just enough Russian to communicate with each other. About the things they didn’t understand in English.
Literacy gives us independence. It gives us the ability to learn more about the world around us. But mostly, it is about communication. Reaching other people. Expressing ourselves. And it opens up the whole Internet!
My work schedule no longer allows me to volunteer as a tutor, but I believe this mission is important. According to Literacy Works: “In Chicago, half a million adults cannot read, write, or speak English well enough to meet their own goals for education, employment, and enrichment for themselves and their families.”
Half a million people. I am happy to support Literacy Works while they hammer at that number.
Guest Blog post by Anne of Learning To Juggle
*Amount Donated: $10
For more information about Literacy Works, please visit: http://www.litworks.org or to join the Living Philanthropic team and make a donation to group project, please visit: http://www.crowdrise.com/LP-APR