Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful to be Literate

There are many things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for a place to live, for food to eat, for family and friends, and a job so far. I'm thankful for health coverage and I'm thankful to live in a place where I can speak freely and worship freely. And I'm thankful for each and every one of you who read this blog and especially those of you who leave comments. :)

But what I'm really thankful for this Thanksgiving is the profound gift it is to be able to read.

Everyone who reads this blog also shares this gift. And everyone who reads this blog knows that I enjoy reading.

I also work in adult literacy. Each day, I'm reminded of how blessed I am that reading comes easily for me. I take in mass amounts of information daily through reading. If I want to learn something, it is easily at my fingertips. But even more than that, because I read I can appreciate the beauty of language. I can be touched and connected to other places and other people through words. I can be challenged, stretched, and entertained. I can be self-reliant and I can double check things.

Let me give you an example. This past week, I read a book with my students that included the line, "his breath hung white in front of him." Without exception, my students had no idea what that meant, they simply aren't used to thinking beyond very simple concrete language.

I cannot even imagine a life like that. I can't imagine a life where I would be unable to pick out greeting cards, embarrassed to read in front of my children, ignoring the mail because it's too much work, or unable to find information on the internet. I cannot imagine a life where I am living only in my world, and not also the world of my current book.

So this Thanksgiving...I'm thankful my mom read to me as a child, that my teachers cultivated and encouraged a love and passion for reading, and that books have always been at my fingertips. I'm thankful that reading is easy for me and that I love it. And my hope is that in this crazy world of blogs and twitter and facebook and distractions...that you are also thankful for this gift. Now go enjoy a good book!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Janette said...

Sometimes I forget how much some struggle. Thank you for bringing it to light. This should be the year that I get off my tush and begin to work in the community after school.
Thank you!

stacey @ bookthirty said...

Talking with our kids about what we were each grateful for, I said "the alphabet!" Everyone looked at me funny until I explained that without the blessed alphabet, we wouldn't have any foundation for writing and reading. And I, like you, am soooooo grateful for the ability to write/read. Have a great thanksgiving. :)

Anonymous said...

It rarely occurs to me to simply be thankful for being able to read at all. I've been doing it for so long that it seems akin to breathing - I've just *always* done it. Thanks for the reminder that reading is a gift and not just a "given." Happy Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

I used to work in adult literacy and spent far too much time crying with my students - many of them were from the women's shelter. It's so nice to set aside a day to count our blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sarah at SmallWorld said...

Fantastic post!

Melissa said...

I was thinking much along the same lines yesterday. I have approximately two dozen books on my nightstand at the moment and I know I won't get to all of them as soon as I'd like. It struck me that I am very grateful to be able to read, that my mom read to me and took me to the library when I was little, and for people who encouraged my love of writing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Alyce said...

Thank you for the reminder! I know I take my reading skills for granted a lot of the time. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

kalea_kane said...

That was lovely and inspiring Amy. I am sure your love will be inspiring to your literacy students. :)

Shelley L. MacKenzie said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! Being literate is definitely something to be thankful for!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Beautiful post Amy. Literacy is so easy to take for granted. Happy Thanksgiving!

Vickie said...

Thank you for the lovely reminder.

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