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let’s get literate

March 29, 2012

Well, hello Thursday! This week is cruising by and honestly I’ve been up to very little.  Working by day, watching movies & reading by night. I’ve been kind of a shut-in this week.  Making the commitment to put my phone down and read instead has been refreshing and much needed. Speaking of books…                                                         

Today the ‘Maine Festival of the Book‘ kicked off in Portland and it’s going on through the weekend.  Readers, writers, and book lovers from all around will be gathering to celebrate good ole reading and writing!  The festival was created by Maine Reads, an organization that has various literacy programs all over the state; they foster the love of reading & writing in children and adults, and help the various programs in place to co-mingle.  Another group doing similar work is Maine Family Literacy Initiative, a program of the Barbara Bush Foundation. I admire the mission that these folks are on!

I’ve always loved to read and write, but to some it is a chore and it’s difficult.  Once that barrier can be broken, at any age, your world opens up. A couple of years ago I volunteered at a local elementary school that has a high number of “English Language Learner” students who fluently speak their native language as well as English, but some are lagging in English reading and writing skills.  Of this particular group of ELL students, some kids I worked with weren’t speaking much English at home, or reading it.   This was usually because at home the parents were speaking mostly in their native language.  This is a great disadvantage, but is a completely normal element of a family moving to a new country with a different language.  Literacy programs and extra help in school give these kids, and many others, the opportunity to catch up and it helps when their parents work on their skills, too. Whenever I meet people who do literacy work I feel grateful for them in the way that you do for anyone who does good work. Talk about unlocking doors.  I just want to say: Go Maine Reads!! I’m going to pop in on some of the festivities over weekend.

Have you done literacy work or have any experience in this area?  Maybe moved to a new country whose language you didn’t speak? Maine is super cool, but all states have programs like these~ check them out for volunteer opportunities!

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