Reading is important. People often say that gold is valuable because it is wanted by everybody, but I say that reading is even more valuable because it is needed by everybody. Reading is changing me and my life.
I remember when I came to the United States twelve years ago. I only brought my eyes with me.
Although I had a mouth, I could not talk.
I had ears but could not hear.
I was like a frog that lived in a deep well.
In my second year in this country, I had our first baby. Everything was new to me – baby formula, baby diapers, baby regular physical check-ups, and baby’s…some things I could not have even anticipated. I recognized that, “Everything I wanted through learning is what I needed.”
Fortunately, a friend of mind introduced me to the Hayward library.
Going to the Literacy Plus Program made me feel like dried-up grass getting water,
like a little boat that had drifted off course returning to its course.
I felt the sky blue and high, the sea green and deep, the flowers colorful and fragrant, the people beautiful and friendly.
From this point on, the Hayward library became my second home. I get help everywhere. The books are my friends. Irene, Mary, and May in the Literacy Plus office are very warm-hearted. They know what I need. My tutors Claire and Dorothy, and Anne Marie, who is my writing teacher, are all kind, warm and knowledgeable. I learned many, many things from them, not just English. They are like candles that burn themselves and light others.
Now I can read books, newspapers, magazines, recipes and my children’s school reports. I can help the teachers in my children’s classes and on field trips. I often read books with my children, watch TV and discuss current events with my family.
Books and newspapers are my friends because they introduce me to
other people and other countries.
They are my teachers because from them I learn about life, truth, and knowledge.
They do many things that gold cannot do.
From “Our Words, Our Worlds – Writings by Literacy Plus Adult Learners”, 2000