Ontario students: Express what the #RightToRead means to you in art, poetry, sound or video

person with body painting

Dyslexic kids are super creative and find ways to express themselves in many different and unique ways that don’t always include the written word (perhaps that’s why so many dyslexic adults are in the arts – dancers, painters, musicians, theatre, poetry, photography…).

And yet, our children often fall silent in an education system that doesn’t include them.

So kudos to the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) for giving them a voice within the Right to Read inquiry.

The OHRC is inviting youth to “explore the experience of reading disabilities, literacy, the right to read and standing up for human rights, to create art, poetry, sound or video.”

Spread the word!

The deadline for students to make submissions to the OHRC is April 1, 2020.

Get the details here: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/news_centre/ohrc-marks-human-rights-day-call-student-art-poetry-and-media

Please share widely!!

Students can also spread the word, and their art, by posting online and tagging the OHRC and use the hashtag #RightToRead. The OHRC is on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Youth standing up for human rights

“The Commission is inspired by youth-led movements around climate action, anti-racism and the right to education. This initiative aims to empower students with reading disabilities to share their life experiences and ideas for progressive change through creative expression,” said Chief Commissioner Renu Mandhane.

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again, this is a generation that is finding — and using — their voice to make the world a much healthier, more inclusive place to live. My daughter included, and I’m learning so much from her.

climate protest on hill
I followed along with my daughter, and her friend, at the climate change march on Parliament Hill, 2019 (photo credit: dyslexiclibrary.com)

The OHRC announced the initiative today, on Human Rights Day 2019. Human Rights Day celebrates the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

This year’s theme – youth standing up for human rights – coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and puts a spotlight on the inspiring leadership of youth in collective movements for a better future.

Reading is a human right

Reading is a human right. Withholding a person’s right to read (and write) causes harm that lasts a lifetime: affecting a person’s ability to get an education, a job, to be mentally healthy, and ultimately, to contribute fully to society.

By being denied their right to a full education, dyslexic children and adults face many barriers to equality: Here’s my list of 5 major barriers.

I am so proud of our Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) for bringing these barriers to light through its Right to Read inquiry:

“Reading is a fundamental skill that students must have to navigate their school experience and their later lives. Our public schools should be able to teach students to read. Yet, this may not be the reality for students with reading disabilities.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is concerned that Ontario’s public education system may be failing to meet the needs of students with reading disabilities (dyslexia and other learning disabilities that affect reading). The OHRC is conducting a public inquiry to find out if these students have meaningful access to education as required by the Ontario Human Rights Code (Code). The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also recognizes the right to an inclusive education system directed to the full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth.”

The OHRC is asking parents, students and educators to share their stories by completing an online survey and attending public hearings in 2020.

More info about human rights, disabilities and Ontario education



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