Welcome to the Winnetka Rotary Literacy Projects Blog

Our literacy committee blog shares information about our Rotary literacy projects and events associated with sharing access to the many different ways in which people read. Some access reading the "traditional" way, some have computers read books, Internet pages, newspapers, and other print material. Our goal is to make the "written word" accessible to every person of every age and ability.

Please come back to find out about our past, present, and future projects.

What is the impact of illiteracy?

Illiteracy causes more harm than merely having a reduced ability to read and write. Illiteracy causes entire families to remain isolated from the everyday fabric of their local and global communities, to remain isolated from inspiration acquired by "enough education," and to remain isolated from a means to share history beyond the reaches of their spoken word.
----Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Inauguration: Oh Yes I Can

On January 20th, I joined many fellow Chicagoans who shivered in the falling snow while watching Obama's speech on the Jumbotron at the Daley Plaza in Chicago. While I could not hear the speech, I watched the closed-captioning (provided with Dragon voice recognition technology, I'm sure)and was struck with the hope that we can get our great country back on track.

Obama's speeches are full of rich vocabulary, full of vision, and full of the love of history. Without a good education, Obama would not be where he is now, guiding us back from the precipice of illiteracy, financial ruin, and overall despair.

So many times, individuals are discouraged from achieving their full potential in learning, whether due to the Pygmalion effect of low expectations for people of color or for people with disabilities. So today, I wrote a little piece to speak to the belief that any and all individuals CAN achieve their full potential.
Oh Yes I Can

Give me a lap to hear the books and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Give me the excitement of hearing about the world through books and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Walk me to the library and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Give me the books to learn and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Give me a dictionary to learn the words and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Give me the microscopes and test tubes and computers and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Give me the tools to learn and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Mentor me and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Share your excitement in learning and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Take down the barriers to learning and I will learn
Oh yes I can!
Try to discourage me from learning, and I will tell you

©Jeanne D. Beckman

Parents everywhere, please join me in taking back the education of our children. Read to them, and if you struggle to read, seek out literacy classes and computer technology at your library to read to you and your family. There is no shame in difficulties in reading unless you refuse to ask for help in learning to read. Turn off your televisions and read, read, read.

Who was it who said, those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it? Obama's speeches certainly reflect that he knows history and is using his understanding of it to bring our country back to greatness. He would not have learned history if he had not read an abundance of books on every subject he could find.

Please join me in asking yourself, "What have I done today to encourage a child to reach for knowledge, understanding, and to walk the path toward community and country contributions?"