Skip to main content

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.

Comments

  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!

    ReplyDelete
  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!!

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

    ReplyDelete
  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!
    ~Jennifer

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

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete
  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!

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  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!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

5 Ways to Help Gifted Kids Find Their Gifts

When I work with gifted kids, I'm amazed by their lack of understanding about what interests them. They know how to surf the net exhaustively for Youtube videos that make them laugh, but not what skills and practices further their interests.

Developing interests and passions is critical to these students. Many people out there tell me that this is not just for gifted kids, that their average developing child needs to know how to do this too. While of course I agree that this is true, I also think that typical academic, fine arts, and sports programs are available in most communities are enough to engage and motivate most kids. Not true of gifted children who become jaded, disinterested, and shut down quickly when a program doesn't meet their needs.
Most people think of gifted students as being prodigies who know exactly where their gifts lie. This couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, I often question if some children who are identified as gifted will ever find thei…

Moo by Sharon Creech

I moved to Maine in 1982. I was a thirteen year old freshman in high school fresh out of a childhood in New York City. It sounds more exotic than it really was. The Maine I moved into wasn't so rustic. The town, Cape Elizabeth, is quite upwardly mobile––think Boston suburb. I remember distinctly the day my friends told me we were headed to the Fryeburg Fair. I had been to a few Maine county fairs over the summers I spent Downeast on the coast of Maine, so I knew what to expect. The 4H clubs mesmerized me. These kids who took such control of large livestock were amazing. They knew what they were doing. They were all pig whisperers and lamb crooners. These animals I knew nothing about in the real world were kept clean, safe and show-worthy by kids who looked to be no more than nine or ten years old. At sixteen or so, I felt too old to learn how but man did I want to join that club.
Wordsmith Sharon Creech has come out with the new middle grade novel, Moo. It is kind of a verse nove…

DigiLit Sunday: Relationships

In the light of the moon, a little egg lay on a leaf..

On Sunday, I interviewed a woman named Julie Lindsay. She lives in Australia and started a company called Flat Connections. Her message to me was that Web 2.0 tools have changed the face of education. It brought the walls down so that we could all reach each other.

On  Monday, I read a book by Pernille Ripp, a teacher living in Wisconsin. In Reimagining Literacy through Global Connections, Ripp's message to me was to keep it simple when going global, the students just need to know they can connect and share who they are.

On Tuesday, I voxed Julieanne Harmatz. "Let's do this!" I said. "I've got a fourth grade, you've got a fifth. Mine is in Maine, yours is in California. Let's read together and share thoughts." She agreed.

On Wednesday, Julieanne emailed suggestions for three books she had multiple copies of. I book talked them to my students that afternoon.

On Thursday, I worked online with…