To read or not to read? It isn’t even a question to me.
There’s nothing better than reading. There just isn’t. As a child, I loved becoming immersed in 2 or 3 books a week- and in the summer, make that 2 or 3 books a day. I loved creating that visual moving picture in my head as my eyes gazed across the words. Every story- great or “meh”- was valued. I read through so many books, that my parents couldn’t keep up with me and I had to read and reread and seven-times-over read my beloved treasures. Blame that on my father for letting me (at 2 years old) climb up in his lap and point to the words while he read and my mother for encouraging it. “What’s that word?” “What’s this word?” And they would tell me every one of them. By the age of three I could read on my own.
To this day, I get excited by books, physical or digital. The lessons I’ve learned without having to suffer the failure myself are endless. The feelings of triumph I experience through some amazing character’s dedication inspires an intrinsic motivation to live in a way that brings me those same feelings through my own hard work and determination.
My one fear is that not enough youth read for pleasure. That they don’t understand what an incredible world is open to them with the power of a good book. That they don’t realize how much can be learned by reading for fun. I suffered as my two oldest children declined to enjoy my passion for reading… until they finally got “the one.” That one book that hooked them forever and made them avid readers.
Luckily. there are others organized in the quest to bring books and kids together. Reading Is Fundamental(RIF) is a program that seeks to ignite the passion for books and is especially concerned with closing the literacy gap and giving access to books to those children who otherwise wouldn’t have reading materials.
With much excitement, RIF Pittsburgh is announcing a partnership with Pittsburgh resident and author, Sharon G. Flake. Ms. Flake will be the spokesperson for RIF and work to get kids reading and increase literacy in the Pittsburgh area.
Read the RIF Pittsburgh press release that follows for more info.
Sharon G. Flake-RIF Pittsburgh Press Release
Reading Is FUNdamental Pittsburgh Announces
Nationally Recognized Author Sharon G. Flake as Children’s Literacy Spokesperson
Reading Is FUNdamental (RIF) Pittsburgh is thrilled to announce renowned author Sharon G. Flake as its spokesperson for children’s literacy. Ms. Flake, whose home is right here in Pittsburgh, is a nationally recognized author of children’s and young adult books. Her award-winning books, Money Hungry, The Skin I’m In, and The Broke Bike Boy and the Queen of 33rd Street are enjoyed by young people around the world.
“We are so proud to have such a respected author help to advance our mission of providing children with the resources, motivation and opportunities to develop a life-long love of reading,” said RIF Pittsburgh Executive Director, Florri Ladov. “Through her partnership with RIF Pittsburgh, Ms. Flake will help to promote children’s literacy in the Pittsburgh community. Some of the new activities will include book clubs for children, special book reading events, as well as a new summer literacy program targeting 6th graders in the Hill District.”
“I am honored to serve in this role. My life-long passion has been to encourage young people to become readers, to see themselves in my books, and to continue to read and love books throughout their lives. Partnering with RIF Pittsburgh is the perfect complement to my own life’s mission,” said Ms. Flake.
Born in Philadelphia, Sharon G. Flake has been a Pittsburgh resident for more than 30 years. She is the author of seven books for children and young adults, and the winner of dozens of recognitions, including the Coretta Scott King Award, the YWCA Racial Justice Award, and the Detroit Public Library Author of the Year.
RIF Pittsburgh addresses critical literacy needs in our community by providing children with access to self-selected books, creating positive environments that motivate children to develop a life-long love of reading, and engaging families in literacy practices in the home. Last year, RIF Pittsburgh provided over 64,000 books and motivational reading activities to more than 20,000 economically disadvantaged children in the Pittsburgh community. Through its programs, RIF Pittsburgh is working to increase the reading opportunities available to underserved children and families, in an effort to reduce the literacy gap in our community.
Simply Put- Pittsburgh has a new partner for making reading the answer for kids.
I have hesitated to weigh in on the #OWS movement. Mostly because I haven’t been clear on the goals or understood the strategy.
I think it is a great travesty that Universities and government officials feel the need to remove peaceful protestors by force and with pepper-spray. I fear that our fundamental right to organize and freely speak out against that which we feel unlawful, immoral, or unfair is being met with an attitude more in line with oppressive governments. It is our duty as citizens to speak up about and work toward equality, justice and better government practices. It seems that the protests have brought to light even more issues than they started with. I question the motives of those who seek to control the collective voice of those who do not accept the rules of conformity and the current establishments.
But, I have another question to pose to you today.
What exactly is occupying a piece of land, whether a park in New York or a lawn on a campus accomplishing?
Instead of “occupying” Wall Street or any other space, wouldn’t it be more effective to actually DO something. For some reason, sitting on my bum, getting smelly and pepper-sprayed doesn’t seem like the way to enact change. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to use the skills and talents that each person sitting in those occupied spaces might have? Wouldn’t it be useful to have specific messages and stories to share and inundate our legislators, financial institutions and public entities with them?
It just seems as if the power of the spoken and written MEANINGFUL word, brought about in clear, concise terms and delivered to the right sources has the power to change the status quo much more so than peacefully sitting anywhere and chanting mumbo jumbo slogans.
The movement has a “slacktivism” quality to it. “We’ll just SIT here and do our part. That should be enough to feel good about ourselves.”
As far as I can gather, the Occupy movement is groups of people who are angry about financial institutions and corporations not paying their fair share while placing an unfair burden on the public that is held to their established practices. And that our government is facilitating, approving, and allowing this to happen. If I am still unclear on the why of the movement, feel free to educate me via comments.
I am neither for, nor against the Occupy Movement. I think I am “The 50%” that either just doesn’t get it, might not actually believe in it (if we knew exactly what “it” was), or want to jump into something without defined goals and action. If you’ve been to my blog before, you know I promote the good that people do and the positive changes people work to incorporate, so I’d be all for this kind of thing if it had the chance to make an influential difference for the good of our communities or the country.
Many people have already suggested that the OWS and splinter Occupy protestors have not formulated a clear plan or objective. My question is why not? While you’re sitting there peacefully, I hope you’re discussing what your next plan of action is. Make the Occupy phase like a big community meeting where you decide what changes need to be the priority and how you can best achieve them, because you can’t just sit there forever.
For my part, I’ll continue to use my tiny, local bank who has never taken a dime from the bailout because they know how to manage their money. And I’ll continue to watch for something from the movement that resonates with me so that I can stand up and actively do to help make positive changes.
And hey, if you got kicked off your occupied turf, now’s the time to learn how to write, actively campaign for change, and really make a difference. If you spend too much time complaining about losing your butt-seat, you’ve already lost the focus of your cause. Which was?
Simply Put- Exercising your rights can’t be done seated.