Jul. 29, 2017

The Struggle Is Real, Don't Let Illiteracy Seal The Deal

"If I had a thousand tongues and each tongue was a thousand thunderbolts and each thunderbolt had a thousand voices, I would use them all today to help you understand a loyal and misrepresented and misjudged people.”
 
Joseph C. Price (1890)
President Livingstone College
 
It seems that I have been constantly thinking about the stagnant growth of literacy rates in many of our majority urban communities across the United States. Maybe, it's time for our educational specialists and administrators to totally rethink the how to implement strategic approaches utilized in gaining literacy improvement with struggling readers. It seems that effective merging of expanding technologies aligned with the infusion/integration of critical basic reading skills hasn't produced the results the educational community had anticipated. For our struggling black male readers techniques must be more clearly defined if the issue of increasing illiteracy is to be tackled effectively.
 
Do we need more brain studies to link medicinal remedies to engage more areas of the brain? Do we need to adapt reading materials that will engage and motivate the urban learner? Should more visible mentorship black male to black male be considered? One thing is certain the appalling number of functionally illiterate black adults should be an unacceptable truth that currently limits our community's intellectual possibilities. I am not an educated degreed doctor of letters related to reading specialties. I am however someone who has worked in the field of literacy instruction for over four decades. It is apparent to me that we don't have the secure models in place that emphasizes the point that black men do read and that the art or science of reading is an essential elemental right for our community's black male residents. Whether incarcerated or not the right to read is as basic as the right to breathe in my opinion.
 
For the past 14 months, I have been engaged in the monumental task of building a literacy movement from my home office. I started a read aloud project that I feel has morphed into something special. Bu merging the reading of non-fiction black historical literature alive on a social media network, Facebook Live. I have created a stable of videos that range from 30-60 minutes of a black man reading aloud quality literature. By using two facets of emerging proven technologies iBooks as well as Facebook Live. I have been able to develop somewhat of a consistent following for Project Uplift Literacy. I have renamed the literacy sessions "A Blackman Reading Aloud Hour" and as a salute to my fraternal organization "The Brown and Gold Literacy Experience". This, of course, doesn't teach specifically the art of reading but its purpose is defined as showing our community that indeed Black men do read and do read aloud. This will hopefully enlighten struggling readers the motivational energy to join the project and read aloud as well. It's easy to simply ignore this pressing issue but sooner or later this deficiency will come back to bite us in the rear.
 
If we don't find decisive solutions to our illiteracy problems more quickly the gap between effective readers and writers and those unable to reach more than competent levels of achievement will only continue to widen. The COMMON CORE STANDARDS will not fix this problem because it is geared to those who have attained the skill of reading and are in the stage of reading to learn. So by aligning our glorious black history to the singular read aloud, we can attain a community consciousness we haven't had for more than 50 or more years. Reading shouldn't be a chore nor should it be a fearsome opponent to securing equality. Reading is a skill, and reading is indeed essential for successful navigation of our society.