You’re Going to Love This.

slice-of-life_individual
I’m participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge, hoping to write every day in March. My thanks to them, their team and to all of the writing community there that provides support and caring challenge as we all strive to be better writers and better coaches of developing, literate learners.

Little eyes peeked over top of the picture book my daughter pressed to her face (a sign of book love).

“Please read this to me?”

She held out “Stuck with the Blooz,” a book she’d chosen all by her four-year-old self at the library earlier that day while I was looking for my own books.

“Sure” I said” “Let’s have a look.”

As I opened the cover, she touched my arm, “You’re going to love this.”

“Oh,” I replied, a bit surprised “so…you’ve read this already?”

“Yeah, it’s good,” she assured me, “read it.”

Two sentences in, my preschooler began pointing at parts of the illustrations saying things like “see? see? look what he’s doing!” and “Look what’s going to happen next!”She was right about everything that was going to happen, and she was right that I’d love the book. She was right because she’d really read the book herself first.

Now, some people might tell you that my little D can’t read yet. The truth is that she recognizes letters and some sounds, although she doesn’t decode words independently yet. But she can read. She’s literate. Because I believe that reading means bringing meaning to a text in order to make meaning from a text, I’m able to see that she is, in fact, reading, even though she’s not decoding words yet. She can skillfully interpret nuanced illustrations. She understands how books and stories work. She’s interested in predicting what will come next and then following up to see if her prediction was accurate. She knows that she can go to a book by herself, look through it purposefully and get meaning and joy from a text. The kid is a reader and she believes she is.

IMG_2228Ten years ago, if you’d asked me if she was reading, I’d probably have said no. That’s because, at that time, I didn’t know enough about developing readers and writers and text-makers to know what I should be looking for to help me answer that question. I hadn’t yet learned that I needed to first determine what a learner knew and could do before I could plan for their next steps in learning. I hadn’t yet learned how to look deeper to discover all the abilities a child had that would support them in continuing to develop their literacy abilities. As I read to my child and watched her interact with the whole text of the book,  I was struck again by her assertion that I’d love the book.

Having though about it many time yesterday, I realize her saying that reflected important information about her identity as a reader. She is already literate. She’s developed some sophisticated reading skills. But most importantly she knows and says she’s a reader, and she’s a confident one, confident enough to recommend books to others.

What if we began each day looking at our developing readers, writers, meaning makers and instead of asking “are you literate?” we asked “how are you literate?” I wonder how our interactions with learners would change if we went looking for what they were able to do and used that information to plan what we might expose them to, engage them in next. All  of our learners come to us literate–what beautiful questions can we ask that will help reveal all the abilities they already have?

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Every Thursdsay

slice-of-life_individual

I’m participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge, hoping to write every day in March. My thanks to them, their team and to all of the writing community there that provides support and caring challenge as we all strive to be better writers and teach our writers better.

For this post I used a mentor text. Much of my work right now is with teachers and supporting them as they use mentor texts with their developing writers. We often base our own writing on mentor texts so that we can immerse ourselves in the work we are inviting our students to do. The Mentor text is Every Friday by Dan Yaccarino

Thursdays are my favorite day.

They are the least predictable of any day of the week for me but I know that every Thursday I will learn. I will learn something new about the world and I will learn something new about learning. I’ve learned to watch and listen to those who are learning. Those remarkable people teach me important things.

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I get in my car and drive into the sunrise. I think about the day ahead. Some days I sing loudly and passionately. It’s like meditation. Other days I slowly sip hot sweet coffee. I learn about stories and how they carry important information generation to generation. I learn about how to hold a camera so I can capture learning in action and share it with others. I learn how to ask the right questions that will help learner focus and uncover possibilities at the same time. I learn how to slow down. Nothing needs to happen as fast as we think it does.

I drive all over my sprawling city so that I can learn and support learning.  Every Thursday I end up in a place of learning–a school, a river, a learning commons. Every thursday I drive into the sunset, return home changed because of my learning.

Yes.

Thursdays are my favorite day.