In the Slovak calendar, we mark March 2012 as the Book Month. How beautiful! We celebrate and value the books during the whole month. How lucky our children are to be taught to read and write in Slovak as well as in English or other languages. However, the English literacy and writing still needs to be improved in the School system (from my research), Slovak pupils have the opportunity to learn.
Today, I would like to share with you a story retold by Queen Rania of Jordan at the International Reading Association 55th Annual Convention two years ago. I hope that you find it as inspiring as me, whether you are a parent or a teacher who is able to teach children to read and write whatever language.
"I was in South Africa with the Global Campaign for Education, to promote literacy week. It was there I met another remarkable woman, a storyteller called Gcina Mphole.
She told me a story her father had told her. It was the story of her aunt, an illiterate woman who, despite not understanding what words meant, knew that they were somehow important. So she collected anything with words on it - hymn books, bibles, labels, pages torn from newspapers, anything - and she put them in a suitcase.
Gcina's aunt believed there was wisdom in those words, and that, one day, the voices of those people would speak to her.
Sadly, she never heard those voices. She died without ever learning to read and write.
But, on hearing that story, Gcina had what Oprah might call, an "Aha" moment. She wanted to find that suitcase and "wake it up".
She wanted to rekindle the excitement in others of finding a suitcase of books and unlocking the wonder of words. She wanted to take books to schools in rural villages all over South Africa so that even the most impoverished children could learn to read and write.
And, so, today, in memory of her aunt, Gcina travels around her country telling stories to villagers, raising money to buy books for schools, and encouraging children to read.
Everywhere she goes, she leaves behind a suitcase of books because she believes literacy is luggage for life - the kind you want to carry around." Queen Rania of Jordan, April 2010
I wish that you would retell this story to your children when taking your child on your lap with a book in your hand and let the voices from the book to speak to you.
I wish that you would teach your child/children that "literacy empowers us, makes us more confident, and helps us appreciate other people and other cultures" as Queen Rania said in her speech you can watch here.
Source: Queen Rania of Jordan, April 6, 2010. Queen Rania speaks at the International Reading Association 55th Annual Convention "As literacy empowers us, cross-cultural literacy enriches us". Retrieved from Queen Rania's Website: http://www.queenrania.jo/media/speeches/queen-rania-speaks-international-reading-association-55th-annual-convention-literacy-