Tuesday, April 15, 2014

40 Days: 40 Words: Read

The word for the day is read and I'm going to be reflecting on it in several different ways. First of all read reminds me of all those awesome books I read to my kindergarten students. I think they were even more powerful and meaningful to me than them!  From  Brown Bear, Brown Bear (by the way I have an autographed copy from when I heard Bill Martin, Jr. talk at the Young Years conference one year) to Dr. Seuss, Eric Carle and Jan Brett. There are lots of lessons to be learned from books!

Reading is about more than just learning things though. It's about constantly striving to understand the world in a different way. It's easy to understand the world from our small little niche here on this big planet. It's quite another thing to "see" the world through someone else's eyes. Someone who writes about living in a village in Africa, or being at the heart of a major war, or sailing across an ocean. There are so many experiences that we will never actually live ourselves but that can shape how we view the world, how we understand people, and uncover the heart of who we are. Stories that move us, make us laugh, make us cry, disturb us or challenge our thinking can all serve to help us grow.
There's another kind of "reading" that comes to mind though.
After 30 years in education you learn a lot about reading people and reading between the lines. You can almost sense the unspoken questions, the hidden fears and the frustrations. You sort of "know" what's coming next even before it happens. Been there, done that is not uncommon in education. This sense can be helpful but also can hinder you.  Sometimes your sense of the direction things are headed keeps you from speaking up or makes you second guess yourself. At times it shifts the focus away from a topic that needs to be discussed and decided. We aren't always very good at the deciding part in the education world.  I've learned that sometimes the best thing to do is wait it out, see what happens, and file the information away for future use.
One trend I've noted is it seems to be getting harder and harder to get children to read; both to learn how to read and to love reading.  It disturbs me because to read is to open doors to new people, places, and insights. It helps us to grow in wisdom and acceptance.
Cheers I am glad that you can read this and in doing so I can share my thoughts with you. I will be back tomorrow with another word.

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