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Get back what you thought you lost.

Every Tuesday I stop what I'm doing and share a part of my life with my writing community at Two Writing Teachers.

When I met my husband, he was not a reader. People were shocked that I could be so in love with someone who didn't read. What would we talk about? How could we understand each other?

I'll never forget the moment one evening after having read to the kids when he said, "I wonder if I'd be different if someone had read to me like that."

Without skipping a beat I said, "I think you can find out. I think if you read the books you could have read, you can relive that time and change with each book."

The next night I gifted him with a stack of books many by Gary Paulson, an author I knew he would have loved as a 10 year old. He read each one like a drowning person gasps at air. I couldn't talk to him or get him to do anything else. He would simultaneously put one book down and pick up the next.

The way he talked changed. He discussed character action and traits as evidence of his thinking. He started asking bookstore owners to help him locate books that were like this or that. He talked about plot and writing qualities as someone who'd been reading all his life. The tipping point came when he got up from a dinner party at our house to pull books down that he thought our guests might enjoy. He shared his loves.

It is possible to get back what you thought you lost. I've witnessed it.

This is what I am thinking about as I read Penny Kittle's Write Beside Them. I can give teachers what they think they missed out on during their writing courses that emphasized formulaic writing, grammar, and spelling. I can give them the power to make intentional writing moves. I can support them as they learn that they are writers. They can become writers who share who they are and what they love--through writing.

It is possible to get back what you thought you lost.


  1. What a great story! I was talking to a colleague this afternoon about how I loved started planning meetings at my last school with me recommending a few books for teachers to read (to share with their third graders or to just know about) and she was saying that I should do that again. I agree with you that it is possible to get parts of you back- great details and share!

  2. I love the story about your husband. It reminds me of my brother-in-law. Not a reader, but he LOVES reading aloud to his kids at bedtime. They started reading aloud chapter books and he tells my sister that HE has to do it because he has to find out what happens next!!! Hahaha! He loves it! I love how you connected it with teaching too! Awesome slice!!

  3. I love this little slice of how you can get back what you lost. I am discovering that more and more.

  4. As always, you continue to inspire me! I have many non-readers in my class this year, and every day I just keep bringing them books that I think might spark an interest or be the whet their appetite. Keep sharing your gift, my friend!

  5. Yes! And to know that is a gift, isn't it?

  6. What a wonderful slice - thanks for sharing. My husband was a reader but only of non fiction. He now wonders why and I find him reading most nights - with the statement fiction, only great fiction at night. Readers are such great people!

  7. I love the story of your husband's journey to reading and the pivotal role you played. I also appreciate how deftly you connected that to teaching writing. What a wonderful message--Thanks for sharing!

  8. This is great, and can apply in so many ways and circumstances!

  9. I loved this wonderful, hopeful story. Wow!

  10. This is an inspiring message, Kimberley, and so true! There are at least two books I've read recently that I wish I'd read as a teenager, and am so happy I didn't just say, "It's too late for those." It's never too late!


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