June 24, 2017

Never too late to learn to read

http://www.stuff.co.nz/4685740a11.html

Never too late to learn to read

Graham Tumai, 59, read his first book this month.

BIG STEP: Graham Tumai, 59, read his first book this month. It was a book about the humble sausage, but it was a big step for the Hellers sausage-maker.

It was a book about the humble sausage, but it was a big step for the Hellers sausage-maker.

The Christchurch man joined his company’s work-based literacy scheme just five months ago, unable to read or write even the most basic words.

After an hour a week of class, and plenty of dedication to his homework, he can now read and write, and is learning maths.

“To me, it’s done me the world of good. I feel I have achieved out of it,” the grandfather of six said.

As a child, Tumai missed a lot of school.

“I was always thinking about what would happen when I got home, rather than doing schoolwork. I never realised it was that important,” he said.

“I was expelled at nine or 10 and, from then on, I never really bothered with anything.”

That lack of education meant Tumai could not sign his name until he was 25. Being illiterate was embarrassing, he said.

“For me, anything that anybody gave me I was embarrassed, like, give me a pen and fill this out.”

Tumai believed he was the only one with a problem until the literacy programme opened his eyes to how many other adults were also struggling.

“I used to tell people ‘I’m not good on reading’ and catch their eye to see what they think.”

Tumai used to avoid helping his grandchildren with homework, but now likes to be involved.

He and his eight-year-old granddaughter worked on his reading together, and the whole family joined in dice games to help him practise maths.

“I’m achieving one thing at a time and I’m getting there,” Tumai said.

Hagley Adult Literacy Centre head tutor workplace Sue Vallance said working with people such as Tumai was “humbling”.

His was a case of missed opportunities, as he was a quick learner and enthusiastic student, she said.

“It’s people like him we need more of in the world, because they will go out and say `I have a difficulty’, and the stigma is going, because they all think they are alone.”

Yesterday was International Literacy Day. Research from 2006 found that about 1.1 million New Zealanders 43 per cent of adults aged 16 to 65 have literacy skills below those needed to participate fully in a knowledge society.

Craig’s response as a Letter to the Editor:

Editor

Manawatu Standard

Palmerston North

How heartwarming that Graham Tumai of Christchurch has learned to read at age 59. But how disgraceful that the compulsory school system not only failed in its stated mission toward Mr Tumai, but that even today, “1.1 million New Zealanders, 43 per cent of adults aged 16 to 65, have literacy skills below those needed to participate fully in a knowledge society.” The compulsory, secular state schooling system has been going for 130 years. That seems long enough to figure out how to teach reading. And yet the system, despite the many fully dedicated teachers within it, now produces masses of near-illiterates. And that is on top of record levels of bullying, drug abuse and pornography.

The school system is a fraud. Although the law requires children to attend schools, neither the Ministry of Education nor the schools nor the teachers are held responsible when the system produces illiterates. This fraudulent system has deceived most parents into thinking their children’s education is in good hands when in fact it is unsafe educationally, physically, toxicologically and morally. Get out of it. Teach your children yourself at home.

Craig S. Smith

National Director

Home Education Foundation

www.hef.org.nz

http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/NewZealand/

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