So what happens to those kids who unfortunately leave our educational system and still can't read? I know they exist--I see them on a regular basis. The ones who laugh about never reading a book or the ones who tell me they hate the library--what sort of future do these kids have? Some turn into adults that can't read. We as educators tend to focus on teaching children to read but honestly don't always think of the difficulties adult have when they can't read. My dear friend Megan is working with the Literacy Council in Birmingham, Alabama as a volunteer these days. She was recently featured on a PBS program entitled Spotlight on Education where she talks about her work with these adult learners.
She brings up some interesting points. Adults who can't read can't find streets when they are lost--they can't read the street signs. Sometimes these adults just want to be able to read stories to their grandchildren--simple things the rest of us take for granted.
What really struck me about this--I know as teachers we struggle with those students who don't/won't/can't read in our classes. But when we give up on these kids, they become the kind of adults Megan is now helping. When I listen to Megan talking about the struggles those adults are having, I feel guilty for all the times I threw up my hands with a kid. Wish I could have a do over with so many of them!
Here's the show--Megan comes on about 30 minutes into it.