04Sep 13

My Life in a Literacy Nutshell

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As far back as I can remember, I have always loved reading. Of all the books that were available at home, I loved my mom’s old books best. I fondly remember Dick & Jane and being captivated by Maggie Muggins. This was the first time I adventured into a new world in my mind. I was hooked.

In grade school, my love for reading blossomed. In grade one, escapades of a sheepdog named Mr. Muggs and his two children companions left me relishing the chance to read out loud. I looked forward to class trips to the library so I could check out new books. To this day, I read Mr. Muggs to my own step-daughter and could easily rattle off a list of books I loved reading in those early years.

In high school, I still loved reading books but writing was a struggle. As an adult, I worked with many people who excelled at writing. I was terrified to write the smallest of notes to them for fear of ridicule. I vowed to conquer this beast of mine and learn all the components of sentence structure and grammar.

In my thirties, I went back to school and received my Administrative Assistant Diploma. One of the required classes was a grammar course, and I loved every minute of it, soaking it all up like a big sponge. By the end of my course I was so much more comfortable writing.

Since being employed at READ Saskatoon as the Office Manager, I have come to truly appreciate the gift of literacy. I am often the first point of contact for new learners who reach out to READ for help, and it is always touching to hear the reason behind their decision to make that phone call.

I often try and put myself in the shoes of the learner; such as the learner with diabetes who struggles at the grocery store to read food labels or the learner who is on the verge of losing their job because they can’t read or write well. There are countless ways we use literacy skills everyday, from reading a street sign, a menu at a restaurant or reading stories to their children and/or grandchildren.

I knew it was important to me to reach my own literacy goal but I didn’t anticipate having such a boost in confidence and skill in my own written communication. I highly encourage anyone who has a literacy goal of their own, who has always wanted to do something like learn to cook, knit, speak a different language or maybe read or write, to go for it! It is never too late…

Cecilia Schaan
Office Manager at READ Saskatoon