Once you learn to read, you will be forever free-Frederick Douglass
Reading is something that will engage your child’s mind. A carefully selected story challenges and engages your child’s mind.But reading will be a tough one for the child to get started.The English language has 26 letters, 44 speech sounds, and more than 70 common ways to spell those.
70 ways to spell 26 letters
Think about it.Isn’t it too much for a child to learn
Inspiration is needed while we are trying to do something tough.I will share with you learning to read and write by Frederick Douglass–story of a young slave boy by the name of Frederick Douglass who used creative problem solving to learn to read and escape from slavery.
Learning to read and write by Frederick Douglass-Summary
This remains one of the finest examples of creative problem solving where a slave boy without a book, pencil, or even a piece of paper of his own learned to read and write. A hunger for learning, inspired by an understanding of the nature of slavery and a vision of hope, he was able to muster the initiative, commitment, persistence, patience necessary to learn how to read and write, and over several years he was able to succeed.
There are a lot of us who are paralyzed by problems. We feel powerless to solve them and are held hostage to self-defeating attitudes and beliefs that limit the opportunities that lie ahead. This young boy’s story could teach us something in this regard to open up a whole new world of opportunities for us.
Frederic was born a slave in the early 1800s. He never knew who his father was. Instead, he was raised by his grandmother until he was six or seven when he was old enough to begin work on the plantation. His mother was on another plantation and had to walk all night, just to see him for a few minutes and to be able to get back in time for her work in the fields the next day.
So he only actually saw her a few times in his life like other slave children on that plantation. He was only clothed in a linen shirt and was fed cornmeal mush out of a trough much as pigs are fed. As a result, he was often hungry. At about the age of 8, he was sent to live with Mr and Mrs. auld in Baltimore to be their servant.
Conditions were much better there. He had clothing and plenty to eat, but he was still a slave. The Aulds had a boy about Frederick’s age, and shortly after arriving in their home, Mrs. auld began teaching Frederick the ABCs, along with her son. Mrs. Auld was the first one to teach Douglass to read and write first. One day Mr. Auld. all walked in and when he saw what she was doing, he became angrier and told her that teaching ABCs would forever make Frederick unfit to be a slave.
All at once, as Frederick describes, a great mystery was unfolded to him and he understood the power of the white man over the black and he became determined to learn to read and write. Mrs. Auld no longer helped him in this reading and blocked his access to any form of reading or writing material. However, now Frederick was eager, he was able to find a small reading book at this time to take his journey forward.
One of his responsibilities was to run everyday jobs for the family. He also had access to plenty of bread at auld’s home. Several little white boys in the neighbourhood knew how to read but were less fortunate in having proper food. He settled on a plan whereby he would finish his work early and began offering them bread to teach him how to read. In this manner over years, he started to move ahead in learning to read.
About the age of 12, he was living in a shipyard where wood pieces were being prepared for a ship. The workers would mark in chalk the letters L for larboard S for starboard A for aft and F for forward. If a piece was marked SF, it meant starboard forward and so forth. Frederic learned these four letters.
Then he would find a white boy and say to him. I know more letters than you do. The boy would say: no, you don’t read, they would argue a bit and then the other would boy would say show me. Then Frederick, would take a stick and draw the letters he had learned in the dirt and that other boy will write some other letters, which Frederic would note, and then he would go and repeat the process with another boy, later on, to start studying the letters one by one
To learn to write he had another plan. When the young white boy he used to stay finished his copy books and threw them away, Frederic would get them and write over the letters. Doing this over two years he finally succeeded in learning to write.
Literacy played an important part in helping Douglass achieve his freedom. Learning to read and write enlightened his mind to the injustice of slavery; it kindled in his heart longings for liberty. He believed that the ability to read makes a slave “unmanageable” and “discontented”
Learning to read and write by Frederick Douglass-Rhetorical Analysis
In the Rhetorical Analysis of “Learning to Read and Write”,published in the year 1845, Frederick Douglass talks about his experiences in slavery living in his master’s house and his struggle to learn how to read and write. Frederick Douglass was an African American social reformer, orator, writer, and statesman. Some of his other writings include “The Heroic Slave”, “My Bondage and My Freedom”, and “Life and Times of Frederick Douglass”
Frederick Douglass went on to become an influential figure in the history of Civil Rights in America. He started an abolitionist newspaper, attended women’s rights conventions, and called for the desegregation of schools. He also helped to escape slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.
By the time the Civil War began. Frederick Douglass was one of the most famous black men in America. He even served as an advisor to President Abraham Lincoln calling for equal treatment of black soldiers in the Union army following the end of the Civil War and the ratification of the 13th amendment to the Constitution, which completely outlawed slavery in the United States
He has been honored with statues and his name is found on bridges and schools across the country. His face has even been put on stamps and coins. He fought all his life for equality for everyone. He always believed what he said in the motto of his newspaper. “ Right is of no Sex. Truth is of no Color, God is the Father of us all and we are all brethren .”.
I hope you enjoyed reading about Frederick Douglass. The purpose of learning to read and write by Frederick Douglass is that it shows how eagerness to learn is very important in life to succeed.it will also show your child the importance of education
Do tell this story to your child as a bedtime story. I’m sure it will inspire him in his reading journey
To download the pdf version of this story click here