Thursday, June 4, 2009

Teaching a Person to Fish/Teaching Someone to Read

The adage that teaching someone to fish will feed them for a lifetime was driven home this week. Our youngest son landed a paying (yay!) internship for the summer, but it is in another city from where he has been renting an apartment for the school year, so the mad scramble was on to find accomodations. I sprang into full "mom" mode and started reaching out to anyone I knew in the city asking if they knew of anyone who might have a garage apartment or extra bedroom for rent. Not much luck, but did find someone who had a friend who had a friend. I was all prepared to relay this information on to our son when an e-mail popped up. He had found someone who was renting a room to students for what he had determined was a pretty decent price. How did he know it was a good price? Because he researched furnished apartments, extended stay hotels and furnished rooms near his new job. He even researched what it would cost him in gas to drive from this rented room and how much time it would probably take him. It hit me - he learned much more by doing his own legwork than if I had just handed him a piece of paper with an address and said "here is where you will be parking for the next two months."

When LIFT adult learners come to us to learn to read, it is the same thing. Learning to read as an adult is hard work. It would be so much easier just to drift along, letting someone else read your important papers or worse, not knowing what you needed to be able to read. So many times the adult learner has tried and failed, but at LIFT we make sure they are successful and when you are successful what do you do? You keep on trying! We learn from doing our own legwork, or in the case at LIFT, from doing your own bookwork.

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