I am constantly discovering and rediscovering my literate life.
This was one of many revelations that I have had so far at the Summer Literacy Institute (#wsi2015) in Warman, Saskatchewan. I have had the opportunity to listen to the keynote addresses of: Debbie Miller, author of Reading With Meaning (amongst several other pivotal texts on literacy) and Patrick Allen, classroom teacher and author of Conferring: The Keystone of Reader’s Workshop (and other pivotal texts on literacy). Tomorrow, we get to hear from Penny Kittle, classroom teacher and author of Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers (again, among other pivotal texts on literacy).
Today, we talked about rediscovering reading and supporting students in building their literate lives by modelling ours. How might we be nudging the reading identity of our learners by visibly living our literate identities?
Patrick encouraged us to try lifting a line from a thoughtful piece of writing by Rick Reilly (2014) called “Heading for Home”. I totally recommend reading this thoughtful reflection by a man who’s journey through life was influenced by so many.
Basically, I was nudged. As a reader and a writer. It’s amazing what a good story can do for a person.
That said, I felt like sharing, making my literate life visible (at least for you). So, thank you Rick Reilly and Patrick Allen for this nudge. Here’s my attempt at a ten minute write. Take it as you will.
“From them, I learned service.” – Rick Reilly
From her, I learned service. She cared for my great grandmother, my grandfather, my great uncle, and countless neighbours, family members, and friends. She was always a nurse.
From her, I learned grit. She married for her children, worked full time, raised three kids, divorced, and held her head high. She was a matron. She took my mom for accordion lessons once a week for many years with a 40- minutes-one-way commute. She knew how to work hard, and how to do this for others.
From her, I learned generousity. She baked, made preserves, cooked meals, volunteered, visited the elderly (when she was elderly), wrote letters, gave thanks, gave cash, all without a second thought. She just gave.
From her, I learned love. She wasn’t going to take chemo, but did so to meet our unborn child. We felt that love and were so thankful for it.
It was a privilege to be her granddaughter. To reap the rewards of her generousity, service, grit, and compassion. She is why I have an undergraduate degree. Why I had my first car. Why I love to bake pies. Why my children pray. Why I plant potatoes and try to can fruit.
She was better to me and to so many others than we probably deserved. I live my life thinking of her in unexpected ways. I know she’s smiling at me, telling me to forgive myself or just to let some things go.
How might you be making your literate life visible and honouring your stories that deserve to be told?