Share a Story: Unwrapping the Gift of Literacy

elizabeth o dulembaWelcome to Share a Story ~ Shape a Future 2011

Each year, during the first full week of March, we gather together to celebrate literacy in all its forms, to encourage each other in our efforts to create the next generation of readers, and most importantly to share ideas that we can take “out into the real world.”

This is our third blog tour for literacy, and it is our biggest yet. If the tours remain true to form, I’ll begin the week excited to read all of the ideas and stories that bloggers of all walks of life offer. At week’s end, I will be both exhausted and rejuvenated … and happy for it. I’ll have made new friends, gotten some suggestions on new ways to approach reading, and (of course) added to the TBR pile.

This year’s theme – Unwrapping the Gift of Literacy – is something we’ve talked about for almost two years. The idea sounds like a no-brainer, but it actually has so many facets that it took time to make it cohesive.

None of us are born literate. Reading, writing and communicating are skills we learn … because someone took the time to guide us.  Whether it was a parent who let us sing silly songs endlessly; a teacher who let us write whatever we wanted (and however we wanted) in a journal; or a librarian who took the time to ask us what kinds of things we like. We remember those things and we recognize them for what they are: a gift. How many times have we heard that time is a precious gift? Well, for as far back as we can remember, someone was sharing their time, passion, skill, and patience (can’t forget that). They share their gifts.

Just because we don’t read 10 books a year or write poetry doesn’t make it any less a gift! We can follow directions and put our son’s bike together; we can text, email, and tweet; we know when we’ve passed the exit we should have taken; and we can read the dosage information on a medicine bottle.

As we have in previous tours, each day will talk about one aspect of our overall theme. Today, Donalyn Miller and Carol Rasco and their guests are talking about The Power of a Book. Collectively, they will cover everything from the literal power of owning a book and enjoying a good story to the intangible power that comes with knowing how to read.

I would like to add a personal note. Carol Rasco signed on as a host for this year’s Share a Story ~ Shape a Future blog tour last year. For the last six months national literacy programs like Reading is Fundamental have spent untold hours trying to convince Congress and others that they have to fund the programs that make it possible to achieve the literacy rates they want for our country.  For the last few weeks in particular, RIF (and others) have been fighting for their very existence.

After last Friday’s blow, with President Obama signing the bill that eliminates RIF’s federal funding, I would have completely understood if Carol cried “Uncle.” Despite all that has been happening to keep her organization alive, she has still made time to be an integral part of Share a Story.  There is no greater demonstration of her commitment to children and literacy.

If you leave no other comments today, do please go over to thank Carol for all she’s doing.  I’m sure she is MORE than exhausted … so give her some rejuvenation!

Image Credit: Share a Story ~ Shape a Story  Logo created by Elizabeth O. Dulemba.

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