When I’m free, I’ll go where I want and rest when I want. I’ll learn to read, too.
I can’t believe I’ve never heard the name, MARY WALKER:
What an amazing woman!
The Oldest Student is a story about a woman who didn’t just see reading as an essential life skill, but as the wings that would carry her to freedom…someday. Mary Walker waited a literal century before she was finally given the opportunity to learn to read. Born a slave, Walker spent the first part of her life believing she would never have the opportunity to do anything, let alone to be married, have a family, and raise children who were really and truly free.
After being freed herself, Walker spent ten decades putting her family’s dreams before her own, but she never lost hope that her dream was still alive and well.
This story teaches children to never give up on their dreams as well as challenges them to cherish their right to literacy.
Questions to ask your kiddos:
***How do you feel about reading? Do you remember what it was like to learn how to read?
***Did you know there used to be rules about who could learn to read and who couldn’t? Why do you think that is?
***Can you image being 114 years old?! What would it be like to live to be as old as Mary Walker?