Literacy: An Undeniable Essential

Author – Lillian Lewis

“Reading is fundamental.”  We’ve all heard this statement many times over, haven’t we? Well, I am sure we can all agree that reading is a very crucial part of our lives. We read for everything- shopping, cooking, and traveling, to name a few. We even read when watching television. There isn’t a day that goes by where we are not inundated with words and things that want and/or need to be read. Therefore, the assertion that reading is fundamental is quite accurate because it encompasses basically all areas of our lives.

With this realization in mind, I recently thought of a way to promote the continued growth of literacy here at Daybreak; why not start our own personal library? And with that thought, came action. I encouraged staff members and individuals alike to bring in any new or gently used books they would like to contribute to the building of our own library at the program. Many thought it was a great idea and we have received tangible support from parents as well as staff. When going through our books and magazines at home, I am sure we all come across some that we no longer want or need. Instead of tossing them or leaving them there to gather dust, why not donate them to a great cause? Ours!

Since its establishment, our mini library has drawn attention and encouragement from all who have seen it. The initiative even sparked a writing event here at the Woodlawn location, as one of the staff members who donated books thought of it as we reviewed the many selections she brought in to give. “We should have a poetry slam,” said Tatiana (a direct support professional from the Woodlawn location). She was inspired as we went through all the wonderful books that various people donated, ranging from short paperbacks to chapter books.

The need for literacy is very real and very important. As young adults aspiring to be more independent, the ability for our individuals to read and write is essential to that process. During a recent literacy lesson at program, some groups had a discussion about many of the different things people would need to read on a daily basis to accomplish an array of tasks- such as taking the correct bus/train to get to their destination, cooking foods properly & with the right ingredients, knowing the difference between beauty products & cleaning supplies, filling out forms, checking/replying to messages on social media and the list goes on.

Literacy also expands the mind, allowing us to explore different cultures, stories, and ideas. Reading can help us to stay safe by warning us about potential danger, keep us up-to-date with things happening in our communities/country, increase our knowledge about a vast number of topics and keep us entertained by immersing us into a fictional world of epic proportions. It is essential to our lives in one way or another. Therefore, we are excited to keep this initiative going and we need your help!  We welcome any books, magazines, educational posters, and flashcards that you would like to donate so that our library can keep growing and impacting their lives in a meaningful way. Let’s work together to help our individuals navigate this big world of words and hopefully develop a love of reading along the way.

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