Literacy: Never Shame

Mar 09, 2010

Literacy: Never Shame The heart of literacy is communication. For all the good our literacy work does for children, it can also serve to silence – and it can silence through shame.

I don't feel like a person with low literacy. I don't necessarily write like a person with low literacy. But I was scared to start this blog. Why? How dare I be writing a literacy blog without perfect grammar! My childhood experiences with spelling, grammar and penmanship made me feel ashamed before I even started. I’m in a privileged position, though. An editor helps me get this right – he helps me get over my tiny shames.

When we share the basic building blocks of language with children – with openness, with the right to explore and express in any manner - it gives children the strength to start building their own quirky literacy houses. It gives them pride in their communication – however and in whatever form that may shine forth. When anyone shames a child because he or she does not achieve within a narrow preconceived view of literacy, then we stifle communication in the very place it where it should blossom.

This post was inspired by Toni Morrison’s Nobel lecture from 1993