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Why is literacy important?

“I have walked a mile in your shoes.  I have struggled to read and write well but more than that literacy is about understanding for me.  I knew, even as a young person, that if I could read and understand letters, words and numbers the entire world would open up for me. I was right. I have dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, all conditions that have created challenges for me throughout my life.  I was so sure that I was stupid by the amount of teachers who became frustrated over my slow learning speed. I realized that I am not dumb or unable to learn, I am just the most excellent code breaker in  history! In all seriousness, literacy is a human rights issue for me.  I know that literacy affects our health in a multitude of ways including our ability to access care and understand the information provided to use as care givers. Everyone has the right to be healthy, access their community and be safe in their environment.  Literacy is the foundation for which we can build our lives. It is literally that important to me. It is an honor to contribute to the Oklahoma City Metro Literacy Coalition in my work as a health educator.”

Robin Chipman is currently a Regional Health Consultant with The Center for the Advancement of Wellness in Cessation Systems.  A native of Oklahoma, her goal is to end the cycle of tobacco use in families and bring Oklahoma communities to greater health through health communication and health literacy.  Robin is currently pursuing her Masters’ degree; in Health Writing and Communication at The University of Central Oklahoma.