Last night, as I walked up the stairs to get my just-turned-six little monkey ready for bed, my footsteps quietened and then stood still as I heard him reading aloud to his puppets. He had chosen a wonderful book (and quite aptly titled) from his bookshelf – Monkey and Me by Emily Gravett.
He has often turned his puppets into the “audience” as he has tried to read aloud to them or have a jam session with his (some hand-made) instruments, but tonight was special. Lately, he has been asking me many more questions. He stops me mid-sentence because the most important thing in that tiny moment is to ask where the word is that I just read aloud. Tonight, he was mimicking my voice and intonation; most importantly, he was chunking and thinking aloud as he tried to get to the end of the book. His perseverance and genuine excitement was adorable and warmed my heart. These early years of reading aloud are already making a real and lasting difference.
My son is Deaf.
One of the most common stereotypes associated with people who are Deaf is that they must also not be able to speak. Whether a person chooses Sign-Language or an Oral world is often a much debated issue in the Deaf community. There are many diverse opportunities available to Deaf and Hard-of-hearing people today, just as there are to those with other exceptionalities. Our son wears bi-lateral hearing aids and we chose to expose our son to Auditory-Verbal Therapy and a Teacher of the Deaf soon after he was diagnosed. Although I did use sign language for the first little while, he soon transitioned to speech himself. Books (and puppets) have been our bonding tools from the very beginning. Books and their stories have healed our journey from uncertainty to possibility. I cherish every glimmer of hope and smile inspired by these shared companions amidst a silent world.
A child born to a mother who can read is 50 percent more likely to survive past the age of 5 than a child born to an illiterate woman. (UNESCO)
A staggering 793 million people remain illiterate worldwide. Now is the time to join the global literacy movement with World Read Aloud Day, which takes place this Wednesday, March 7th, 2012.
“World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.”
Together, we can imagine a world where everyone can read. I know reading aloud has helped to create that world for my son. Now, I want to be part of that change for the global movement. I hope you will join me.
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