Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly... ~ Colossians 3:16
Friday I got a new student, which in low income schools happens pretty often. Their lives are so transient. I teach 2nd grade. The average 2nd grader should be able to read things like Magic Tree House easily at this point in the year. At a school like mine, that's not usually the case.
I read with this student that afternoon, just to try to gage where I wanted her to be as far as reading groups go (they are ability grouped). Started a few levels below where she should be. And we had to keep going back. And back. And back. When she came to the word 'have', she tried nav/mav. And so I stopped her. I asked her what the first letter in that word was. She thought and thought and finally came up with H. I asked her what that letter said. She said /n/. And suddenly I realized why she had just completely bombed an end of kinder book.
On Monday I will have to pick up reading with her, but it's pretty safe to say if she doesn't know her consonant sounds, she is barely reading. It's heartbreaking.
And then when I was in church last night, Chandler was discussing the importance of reading parts of scripture and just stopping to think about their meaning and impact on your life. And my heart broke for all these students like "Tay".
I have always known the importance of reading for a life skill. And in the back of my mind I know the historical reality of Christians starting schools and what not. But it never occurred to me how vital it was for children to learn how to read for their spiritual good.
Think about it. If students like "Tay" never learn to read, they can never read the Bible. If they can never read the Bible, they can never truly intimately come to know Christ. If they can't understand and think about what they read, they can never make sense of how the words on those pages apply to them. They can't make sense of the God who desperately loves them and desires to know them. If they can't read it, they will be forever dependent on someone else to feed them spiritually and can never grow.
Reading is foundational for being prepared to know Christ. I don't know who out of my class of public school students will ever become a Christian. I do know I pray for their salvation. And I do know God is sovereign.
But now I know that I have been entrusted with the gift of building up their tools to access God. How humbling is that? And it just nourished my heart in so many ways. It spurred me on. I'm not just teaching letter sounds or chunking or character traits or inferencing. I'm teaching kids the skills they will need to hopefully one day understand who God is and what He's done for them.
Reading is a mission field. And for that I am so very thankful
::This will be linked up for Into the Word Wednesday::