What if?

What if a young illiterate man had not travelled to New York from the Bahamas to find work?

What if he hadn’t been rejected from the American Negro Theatre in Harlem because he couldn’t read?

What if he hadn’t had to work as a dish washer in a restaurant in New York?

What if an old Jewish waiter hadn’t offered to teach him to read?

What if the old Jewish waiter hadn’t shown him how to sound out words and how punctuation works?

What if the young man hadn’t learned to read within 6 months and reapplied to the theatre?

What if he hadn’t been accepted as an apprentice at the theatre and went on to become a world famous, Oscar winning actor?

Well then,

We wouldn’t have known about Sidney Poitier, who just died at the age of 94 and the world wouldn’t have had a superb actor, human rights activist, ambassador, author and role model for so many black youth.

We wouldn’t have seen the potential of that young black man, the 7th child of impoverished tomato farmers, who had enjoyed only 2 years of schooling.

What if every child learned to read so that they could fulfil their potential?  How richer would their lives be?  How richer would the world be with their contributions to society?

What if all teachers were trained in how to teach children to read and this would actually happen?  We can do this! We know how to!

Listen to the interview here of Sidney Poitier telling his story.



#learntoread #readingintervention #readinghelp

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