This blog is all about literacy: speaking, reading, writing and listening. Topics will include: book recommendations, literacy topics based on research, quotes, books I am reading, tidbits of my philosophy, activities, lesson plan ideas, and possibly more.
Based upon my philosophy, literacy is more than the little pieces. Phonics, phonemic awareness, spelling, answering various questions about texts, fluency checks and many more aspects are important. These skills lead to comprehension. While many see comprehension as the ultimate goal, I see it as just another, but rather large, stepping stone.
This belief stems from research by P. David Pearson. He explains so eloquently in a speech, "Rich Talk About Text" (Sept. 2010) at the University of Wyoming*, how skills like phonemic awareness and phonics are just pathways to something much greater. These smaller units of literacy are referred to as "enabling skills" that lead learners to do something else. Comprehension is the pathway to reflection, critique and empathy. As I see it, too, literacy gives us connections with others and creates relationships intrapersonally and interpersonally. We express ourselves through writing, we listen to descriptive words that take us to another place, we look at our own values based on the conflicts others face, we construct solutions based on facts, or we predict what may happen next or how one feels. These are all wonderful results of being involved through literacy, but teaching and learning must not end there either. Pearson further states, "...they are the pathway to civic participation, self-efficacy, and the good life."
Like the story of Miss Rumphius by Barbara Clooney (1982), we learn that it is good to have big dreams and to follow them. When I first heard this story, I was a little girl in the 2nd grade. I remember being mesmerized by the calming words and beautiful detailed illustrations. When my sweet teacher read the story, I felt like I was by the sea or traveling to faraway places. Since first hearing the story, I have accomplished one of my biggest life goals: to earn a Master's in Education. Many years have gone by and while I've checked a grand goal off my list I still have many more dreams to live out.
However, as Miss Rumphius said, "You must do something to make the world more beautiful." As Pearson states, literacy is about living a good life. While it is great to be able to achieve our goals there is more that we must do. We must give back to our communities and the world. Big or small.
My hope is that I can plant the enabling seeds among my future young learners and perhaps, help you to do the same. Miss Rumphius did not know where her seeds would land; she simply scattered them...
"The next spring there were lupines everywhere. Fields and hillsides were covered with blue and purple and rose-colored flowers. They bloomed along the highways and down the lanes. Bright patches lay around the schoolhouse and back of the church. Down in the hollow and along the stone walls grew the beautiful flowers. Miss Rumphius had done the third, the most difficult thing of all!" -- Barbara Clooney
*to see Pearson's speech: http://wyocast.uwyo.edu/WyoCast/Play/55179fde7ce64fe1b66750269a3a3d2b1d