STUDENTS' WORK... from Ottawa
Joanne Knight of Project R.E.A.D. (Remedial Education for Adult Development ) writes:
".. . Please find enclosed some student generated material entitled Reflections on Being Illiterate. The first two short selections were composed by two project R.E.A.D. students through the experience story method with their instructor. The third and longest selection His progress since last June has been fabulous.
The students prepared these selections especially for the LITERACY publication. I hope you'll have a space for them.
1. " I remember little schemes I had to devise when I was asked to read something I would try and get the other person to do it rather then me stumbling over words and making mistakes sort of a role reversal.
I guess embarrassment is the biggest thing. You don't want them to be aware of the problem. You try and cove up depending on the situation In classroom situations when asked to read, I would resort to saying I have sore throat.
2. " I don't lie. I say I'm sorry, I can't read or write. It is not right to lie. I don't think its right to make up excuses.
Both my children know I don't read or write. They know I'm a dummy. I would love to know how to read. I would love to KNOW.
3. I remember when I wanted to go to Heron road one day (from Preston St.) I walked all the way because I couldn't read the bus routes and I was too embarrassed to ask the driver for assistance.
It was about four miles, quite a distance. Now it seems crazy but then the realty was too real.
Going shopping was a pain. I always got someone to go with me because I couldn't read the labels. I had a trick I used use. I would ask a friend what he thought of a certain product in order to find out what it was without revealing the fact that I couldn't read. I got caught a few times but generally it worked. I was certainly around about way of getting information.
I thought I was the only one in the world who couldn't read. Now that I am more aware of the problem I feel sad for the million other Canadians who can't read but not alone anymore. My excuses ranged from loosing my glasses (which I don't own) to bandaging my writing hand when having to fill out an application form in public. I've missed out on buildings on my way to an intervie . In one instance I was talking to people in the revenue building about a manpower problem. I wondered why they didn't use pictures instead of words on doors and buildings.
Knowing how to read affects me in a number of ways. I now have confidence and a sense of independence because I don't have to rely as heavily on others around me. A few years now I feel quite liberated and can relieve myself in the appropriate place.
I still feel a little shy and withdrawn about learning to read at the age of thirty-three but due to the results I am seeing and the patient people that are helping me I feel more relaxed about learning to read.
Dennis Childs, Jr