Friday, April 13, 2012

A-Z: Leavin' Some Love for Literacy

What would your life be like if you couldn't read these words I've written?

I can't imagine living without reading, any more than I can imagine living without breathing.  I read until I fall asleep at night.  I read while I'm eating.  I read while I'm in the bathtub, and when I'm taking care of other, shall we say, personal business in the bathroom.

This is why The Literacy Site is one of:
My 26 Favorite Ways to Piss Away Time Do Valuable Research on the Interwebs.
I get that too many other people don't or can't read.  Learning disabilities, like dyslexia; a chaotic home environment; teachers or school systems that failed to help the child overcome his/her issues, or simply went through the motions; all this can create reading failure rather than reading success. For whatever reason, too many children and adults struggle to read even the basic things required to get through life, like job applications.  Or computer screens.

So when I start my day and boot up my computer, I go to The Literacy Site as my home page and do some clickin'.  (I generally click on the other, associated tabs, too, for breast cancer and autism and such.) Three minutes, tops, to click them all.
If my budget allows (and sometimes even if it doesn't), I shop through their online catalogs, an easy way to give gifts in more than one direction.

I also volunteer for a wonderful new non-profit organization called Words on Wheels.
The mission of Words on Wheels (WOW) is to enrich the lives and futures of children through the power of words. Words on Wheels (WOW) will coordinate the efforts of screened, high-quality volunteers to bring the world of story, books and song to children primarily aged 0-5 in communities that may be underserved, such as transitional living facilities and child care centers. Because high literacy skills have been found to be an essential part of future academic and professional success, Words on Wheels (WOW) seeks to inspire a lifelong love for language in young children.
WOW is currently beginning operations in Illinois, with plans to spread out to Wisconsin, California, and other states as soon as possible.  There are other organizations who work with school age children, but few that target the 0-5 age range, and fewer still that reach out to children already at risk. Our volunteers will go into places like battered women's shelters, homeless shelters, understaffed day care centers, and other facilities, to read (or sing or perform or play music) and leave each child with at least one new book of his or her own.
It's been a long boring grind so far, to get Words on Wheels started.  Test reading runs to local child care facilities. Incorporation, creation of a Board of Directors, Charter, By-Laws, budget, business plan.  Applications to the IRS and state of Illinois for non-profit status.  Tax returns. Logo design... Hey, wake up!

Finally, we're in the exciting stage of actually being able to send people to go read to kids.  (And collect donations, yeah!)

Please Fan WOW on FaceBook, and we'll let you know when the official website (which will allow you to donate and/or volunteer), goes live.

One additional thing I'm doing for literacy - World Book Night, on April 23, where people in the UK, US and all over the world, will give away free books targeted at people who might not normally pick up a book for years. While it's too late for you to get in on the fun this year, if you're not already signed up, you can start planning for next year.

I'm planning to take my box of The Hunger Games (heh heh heh) to a selected spot in NoHo (North Hollywood, for you peeps not from Southern California) that meets the criteria for "safe, well-populated public area, or indoor setting." 

I love the idea of being able to infect children and adults with the love of books and reading. (Much better than other infections one could spread.) And while I'm not qualified to cure cancer or create renewable energy, I can gush about books and reading with the best of 'em.

My A-Z theme is My 26 Favorite Ways to Piss Away Time Do Valuable Research on the Interwebs.

Truly, sometimes an idea from a "pointless" fun site or post or photograph does result in pages and pages of writing. Or at least a blog post or two.

How did you get hooked on books or reading?
Are you signed up to be part of World Book Night this year?
Got other fun sites beginning with the letter "L"?

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