WRAD: The power of words

Hello everyone! Hope we all had a great day. I did! Let me share with you.
Every year, since the year 2010, there is a day to create awareness for literacy, a day to inspire children, teenagers and adults (everyone actually) to celebrate the power of words.  This year, the day is the 24th of February, 2016, today. It is called World Read Aloud Day. It is a movement to show the world that everyone has the right to read. Literacy is a right that belongs to everyone. The emphasis is on the word ‘aloud’. This day is not just about reading, it is about reading ALOUD. It is about celebrating the power of words and being a part of the pleasure derived when you read out loud with others. Please note that this is not meant to be a one-man activity but it is to be done with others. It is a day to read and learn in groups and have fun at the same time. There are millions of people who cannot read; therefore the World Read Aloud Day is a day to celebrate literacy and to take action on behalf of those who cannot read.

To celebrate the World Read Aloud Day, the Lagos arm of One African Child Foundation together with our partners from Dreams From The Slum and Young Protege Leadership Foundation organised an event at Asoland College, Shasha, Lagos State.  The students and staff there were so delighted to have us. We addressed JSS1 and JSS2 students. We started with a short prayer said by a volunteer. We then explained the essence of the World Read Aloud Day for the students to know why we were there. We had the first reading session which involved eight students, four boys and four girls who came out to read a portion of a book for a minute. They did not read this out loud though. We asked them to read silently. After a minute, we stopped them, and asked each of them to tell us what they learnt. The reason we had this session was to know how much each student could read and assimilate in one minute and we got good response from each of them. The lesson derived from this session is that if one can read for just a minute and gain something significant from a book, much more could be gained if more time is spent reading. Hmmmmm. If you can gain something in just one minute of reading, imagine, just imagine what you would achieve if you spend minutes or hours studying!

After this we had a short drama taught by an OAC volunteer and acted by some students. The drama passed across two simple messages: Obedience to parents and the cultivation of a reading habit. Parents spend a lot financially, materially etc to educate their children. Some children do not even have the opportunity, so those who have it should use it well. Cultivate a good reading habit. The first read aloud session was done in groups with one volunteer in each group. We read about potential and power. Everyone in the group read and shared what was learnt. Potential is the ability or quality in a person that can be developed. Everyone has a potential to become great. Whatever we aim to become in life, we need the necessary potentials for it. Discover your abilities (potential), develop them and work hard to achieve your goal.
that's me in my reading circle.

 The second read aloud session was done by Isaac Success, a volunteer. We read a chapter of the book CATALYSTS: CHANGE AGENTS written by Ikechukwu Nwosu. The topic of that chapter is ‘Ability in Disability’. The chapter is dedicated to those with disabilities. We read from the book that physical disability doesn’t mean disability of the mind.  All you need to succeed in life is a healthy mind and a healthy soul. Those with disabilities should not be weighed down by their condition but strive to succeed by eliminating all challenges. Put away your disabilities and work on your abilities. The book cited examples of people with disabilities who have become great in life. Let’s talk about two of them. They are Nigerians. One is Joshua Gidado, a Nigerian born without legs. With his predicament he owns and manages a football club based in Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria. Imagine someone without legs who owns a football club. Awesome! We can’t but talk about the popular gospel artiste, Cobhams Emmanuel Asuquo who is blind. Physically blind but I bet that man has got eyes within because he is a great man today. He plays the piano really well too. Cobham teaches that the world rotates on possibilities. Everything is possible. He asked this question in a song “how far can you see?” It is not the physical eyes he sang about here. He admonishes us to see positive things through the eyes of our mind. How inspiring!
The next thing we did was a mind activity. We told the students to close their eyes for a while and imagine where they would be many years from now. We asked some of them to share with us. We got interesting responses. There was a boy who did not even want to open his eyes. When asked to share his dreams he said he saw himself with government officials from another country and he went on and on and even said we should not have told him to open his eyes.  There was Angel who said she saw herself as a gynaecologist, Christiana said she saw herself as a biologist working under water, Rosemary said she saw herself as the first lady of this great nation Nigeria and also saw herself taking care and being of help to old people. One boy said in his dream he was in a big car receiving a call that he just got a big contract. A young girl said in her dream she found a cure for AIDS and cancer. Wow! Those children have big dreams and I pray they will fulfil them in Jesus’ name.

In another segment of the event, a volunteer held a mobile phone, a piece of jewellery and a book and asked which they wanted and which was more important. The message from this is that a piece of jewellery or whatever will only beautify your body but a good book will beautify your mind. Read, study, do what you have to do to succeed, and then bodily beautification will follow. We concluded the events by encouraging the students to always read at home and to read other good books not just their school books. Lastly, we gave out books as gifts. The closing prayer was said by the first lady herself, Rosemary.
that's the first lady.

Parents, guardians, big brothers and sisters, encourage your children and younger ones to read. Have reading sessions with them. You too, read. Create a to-do list and include reading on it, spend more time studying. Create fun ways to read. Read with people. Have study groups. Learn. Remember, good readers are great leaders.

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