There's a great quip worth more than a moment's thought: reading is like breathing. It slides off the tongue so easily you can hardly help but repeat it. Its allure lies somewhere in the union of slant rhyme and simile.
As a life-long and voracious reader, reading has been a source of knowledge acquisition, character development, worldview formation, and joy. My life would not have nearly the same richness, even if I worked a satisfying trade with my hands and never needed to read to earn a living. A good book is like a breath of fresh mountain air that revitalizes the soul.
Increasingly in this developing economy, however, reading is simply a means of economic survival. Even entry-level jobs are becoming harder to find without a secondary school diploma in Mexico. In order to achieve that, one needs at least baseline literacy.
Josue is one of our boys at Hope House. At times as silly as the rest of them, he one day hopes to be part of the armed forces. He didn't enter school at the beginning of the academic year because he couldn't read.
When he entered our individual tutoring session on the first day, I was surprised to find that he couldn't recite the alphabet. The one word he knew—aside from his own name—was oso, the Spanish word for "bear". Somewhere along the line, this young man was left behind.
One of the many joys of teaching at Hope House is watching the progress of these boys toward ever-more hopeful outcomes. It's been two months since we began tutoring and he's growing comfortable with over 60 syllables that allow him to sound out a wide array of words and read simple sentences. We're excited with his progress and he's now enrolled in school where he gets additional help learning to read.
I wouldn't say he loves to read yet, but scarcely a day goes by where he doesn't ask excitedly if he has tutoring today. The act of reading a picture book is still incredibly difficult for him, but I imagine that lungs learning to take their first breath is a little uncomfortable too.
You can give Josue hope too by joining our sponsorship program. Follow this link to read more about this opportunity to join us in making the difference in the lives of young men like Josue.
(Isaiah is an intern with Shepherd's Heart Ministries. He serves alongside the staff and volunteers at Hope House where he works to positively impact the young men living there.)