The power of literacy

Child with Down syndrome readingEven though children with Down syndrome can learn to read using the same evidence-based strategies as other readers, they are routinely excluded from effective reading instruction.That means that many children are growing up without the ability to keep a diary, write a poem, text their friends, read a recipe, tweet, read street signs, pass notes in class, write down a phone number, read the label on a jar, write a thank you note, jot down a friend’s address, write a love letter, read subtitles in a foreign movie, read a map, fill out a job application, read directions on a prescription bottle, spend a summer afternoon with a good book….Imagine your world if you couldn’t read?

6 thoughts on “The power of literacy

  1. Gasp – you completely captured the power of literacy! How interesting that you mentioned the importance of being able to read the directions on a prescription bottle. My daughter with Down syndrome is a young adult and for the first time in her life she has health issues. If she was not an excellent reader, she would be dependent on others to help her discriminate between her meds and to understand the unique instructions for each one. And yes, she can write love letters to her boyfriend, she can text me and others, she can post on Facebook, and be a part of our family group emails. She can open her snail mail and read it. She can spend hours at Barnes and Nobles or the library entertaining herself. She can read the microwave instructions on frozen dinners. She can read notes I leave behind and take telephone messages. She is able to Google what is interesting to her and find out what time various local movies are playing. Literacy is powerful and completely affects her ability to stay safe, have fun, and lead an interesting life.

  2. My daughter is 21 and not a reader and it really is a life changer. I am so happy for all the children and adults with down syndrome who have mastered this important skill. We haven’t given up hope but it sure would have been easier if this was learned at an earlier age! Of all my advocacy battles over the years this is one I should have approached differently. Glad for all the studies which show children with down syndrome can and do read and well!

  3. Thanks for this post! It is so important to have effective reading instruction because it really improves their quality of life. Every child should be given the opportunity to be able to write his/her own thoughts and feelings in a diary or to be able to say “I want to go see this movie, Joey, because I read that it is about….” It helps a person be more independent and have more self-determination over what they want to do when they can read something for themselves.

  4. This post really helped me recognize some of the reasons why it is so important for all people to be able to read independently. Many everyday things that we as humans may take for granted, such as being able to read a birthday card or write a poem, are skills that someone who is unable to read will never be able to experience without the assistance of someone else. This article validates the importance of literacy that sometimes goes unnoticed!

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