Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, April 28, 2008

rockets and reading

Sorry to miss Friday -- big deadline! One of my favourite things is to write for this blog but I thought that I should not distract myself from some other writing that had to be done. I hope you had a great weekend.

I have been watching a BBC Drama called Rocket Man on our local public television station. It is the story of a recently widowed man who is building a rocket with his son and some friends. They plan to launch the ashes of his wife into space "so he and his children can look up at the stars and always see her in the heavens."

It is a story of grief, parenthood, friendship, work, class and literacy. Yep - literacy. I am impressed with the way literacy is woven into this story. George does not read and write very well. This fact comes to light slowly -- a teacher notices that he has difficulty writing a note, a friend notices that he avoids reading -- but it never becomes the main theme. Even on the website the only reference to the fact that literacy is part of this story is a link to the BBC Reading and Writing site.

The story nicely shows how our literacy skill level is part of a basket of things that can have an impact on how we live our lives. George sometimes needs help with tasks that involve reading and he does not usually say why. He sometimes puts the needs of those who help him before his own or those of his children and this results in priorities becoming a little scrambled. Is this because he feels he needs to reciprocate for the help he receives? Perhaps.

This is not the story of a person who is fogged up and trapped by their inability to read and write. This is not the story of a person being saved by the gift of literacy provided by a beneficent volunteer. This is mostly the story of a man figuring out how to be a good parent, a good friend, a good worker, how to best honour the gifts his wife shared...and design and build a rocket from scratch!

I hope you get to see it one day.

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