June 23, 2008
This week, we have a story written by Richard Miller, from Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador. Richard has been on the learners’ advisory committee of the Movement for Canadian Literacy. He will soon be working in the shipping industry offshore from Newfoundland.
I was 27 years old when I took the first steps towards an education. I left school at a very young age, and didn't know how to read or write. I had covered pretty well the fact that I couldn't read or write. What got me really thinking was one warm summer's afternoon my son was playing in our backyard. He cut his little finger and came running into the house. I had to call for help, I couldn't find the phone number to the doctor's clinic and I didn't know what to do. My son was so young the cut was so deep that he was crying.
It was only luck a friend came in at the time of the accident and called the doctor and took us to the clinic. That night I took a long walk and was thinking how helpless I was. I couldn't even help my son. The next morning I told my wife I had to do something. She told me to try and get into school. I called the college and was talking to an instructor. He asked me to come in and do a test to see what level I was on. I couldn't even do the first question.
The next step was for me to call Laubach Literacy, I was told by a friend these people could help me. They asked me to talk to Mrs. Myrtle Elliott. I agreed to do so. She would help me to learn to read and write. I worked four hours a week, one on one for six months. I then moved to a reading course. I was now reading books and the words were slowly coming together.
[This story was taken with permission, from A Book of Changes, which was intended for display at Literacy Action Day, on Parliament Hill. Learners' Advisory Network (LAN) members felt that true stories from learners would make literacy 'come alive' for the politicians who read them.]