Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Fundamentals

Greetings from a cold (duh!) and damp Chicago. Today was one of those days that wasn't terribly cold, but just had a dampness you can feel in your bones.

Now that the obligatory weather talk out of the way, you are probably wondering what I've been up to since I last posted. Or not. This blog has about 3 regular readers, so I doubt it. In the time between my last shameless plug, er, post, I've been watching the Olympics, writing for Consequence of Sound and trying to get my shit together.

I'm inspired to post today because I've had cause lately to think about something - actually, a few things - I take for granted.

Even though my reading pace is slower than a Brown Line train during rush hour, I LOVE to read. Always have. One of my new year's resolutions for 2010 is to read more. And, if I may pat myself on the back a bit, I think I'm doing a fairly good job. In the last month, I finished Cormac McCarthy's The Road, read Neil Gaiman's fantasy novel Neverwhere and begun reading LJ Smith's Vampire Diaries series. Maybe if I'm feeling enterprising, I will finally finish Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native, which I began when I first moved to Chicago in 2007.

Bottom line: reading is in my blood. It's a fundamental part of my life. I cannot remember a time when I didn't read; nor can I recall when I didn't know how. It's something I take for granted, not only for myself, but for others. Because I and everyone around me knows how to read, I assume that everyone else in society does. It is this assumption - and all the related assumptions about education and class and access - that I've had to confront since signing up to become a literacy tutor in the field of adult education.

First a bit of background. In January, I decided to become a literacy tutor (even though I have zero experience in it). Part of my motivation has to do with wanting to go into teaching; but I also just wanted to volunteer using one of the few skills I have that's of use to anybody but me. I love to read and I wanted to help others get to do the same thing.

So, for the past two Saturdays, I've been in literacy training and it's made me think about the fact that there are people my age and older, from all walks of life who cannot read. It's also made me think about what my life would have been like if I'd reached my current age (34) not being able to read. Inconceivable. Reading isn't just something I like to do, it's an integral part of my existence. From proofreading (my job) to reading signs on public transportation and in grocery stores (necessities), I'm reading almost 24/7. I can't imagine functioning without being able to read.

But many people do. So, this experience will be eye-opening for me. I hope I can do it justice.

1 comment:

  1. BRAVO!!! Such a wonderful thing you are doing for others! You will do it more than it's fair justice!