FRIDAY, JUNE 1: Like thousands of other locals and visitors I had the pleasure of viewing the Bermuda Day parade.
The weather was warm and picture perfect.
As I sat with family I admired so much about the parade — the costumes, the participants who were bold enough to enter in the first place and go the full route from start to finish.
I particularly enjoyed the cuteness of the tiniest participants. I admired the intricate details of the creatively decorated floats, and the overall spirit of togetherness and camaraderie Bermuda Day naturally brings. It was a terrific day and we had a great time.
Participating in one of the group displays was a young man known to me. As his group passed by, I sat and watched him silently because other thoughts were going through my mind as others around me were commenting on his dancing talent.
He was agile and creative in his movements. He seemed totally immersed in his own thoughts as he moved his body about, wowing the spectators.
Some people commented about how cute he appeared. He was the centre of attention for all who sat near me, despite what other members of his group were doing. He stood out as one of the best.
I watched him until he was out of sight realizing that others didn’t know what I knew.
You see, for all the glow of his performance to the naked eye, what could not be seen is the fact that this same young man who thrilled the crowds cannot read or write to any functional level. He’s so young and he’ll need to do both efficiently, to get ahead in life.
Additionally, I’ve seen this young man on more than one occasion expressing anger in an inappropriate manner although there have been more times I’ve seen him behaving in a polite and docile style.
He is one of many who lacks the basic skills of literacy.
As I watched I asked myself how he and so many others like him can go through life to the stage of adolescence and simply not be able to function at an age appropriate literacy level.
As I stated last week in my article, it’s easy for us to point fingers of blame at education and all other entities put in place to assist young people, but the bigger question for me is ‘what are this young man’s parents doing to ensure that his deficiency is addressed and fixed?’
Without necessary intervention he stands a greater chance of being yet another statistic in the category of a failing black man. And we all know where that road leads.
We’ve heard the catchphrase many times, that reading is fundamental. It is. Without the basic skills to do so effectively, it hinders many areas of one’s life.
It limits an individual from attaining their full potential. Reading skills are required of us in just about every aspect of our lives.
So what do we do about those who are deficient in the reading process? We adopt the good old adage of ‘each one, teach one’.
And we teach in many ways. We teach by modeling that which we want our young people to do. We read to them and with them and we listen to them read aloud.
Join me on my Generations radio show on Monday, June 4, when my in-studio guest will be Darnell Wynn, President of the Bermuda Reading Association. We will discuss reading and all the components it entails and also share practical activities and solutions that can be implemented to help those who are struggling with reading while also encouraging those who enjoy reading to continue.
• Shawnette Somner is the host of Generations, which airs on DeFontes’ Broadcasting Company’s MIX106 FM. 7.30pm-9pm every Monday. Call in live during the show on 295-1061. Send comments and show ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org