Yesterday I got home later than usual, and I was rather tired because we had a retirement party for our night custodian, Jo. Since I wanted to post a new entry on my blog, but I didn't have a clear idea of what I wanted to write about, I thought I would just jot down a little blurb about the book I had started the night before. I was surprised to find several comments left for me on that post! I enjoy reading the friendly and encouraging comments I receive on some of my posts because it feels like I am connected to that larger universe that I know exists beyond my little school's orbit.
Although I've never had the pleasure of meeting any of you in person, I feel as if you are my newest friends. This blogging stuff is fun! I reflect constantly on my literary development and progress through life, and one constant thread is woven throughout my reflections; if I had not had a mother who was a reader and lifelong learner, I would not be where I am today.
I know there are people who look upon teachers with some disdain and talk about "doing" versus "teaching," but I am the oldest child in a family of twelve children, and I am the only one with college degrees. More than half of my brothers and sisters are high school drop-outs, and my father had only an eighth grade education, so I hope you can understand what an accomplishment it was for me when, at the age of thirty-five, I decided to attend college.
The point I want to make is that I wish more parents would encourage their children to engage in literacy activities at home. Our entire society is so wrapped up in the concept of instant gratification and constant stimulation of the senses, whether through technology, sports, or always being on the go, that literacy education is left entirely to the schools. Schools don't have the time or resources to make sure that students are practicing strategies taught in school and honing their skills to be ready to move on. I'm afraid that many of the students I have are going to have difficulty finding jobs that will provide life's necessities, much less allow them to live the responsibility-free lives many of their parents are now allowing them to live. Also, I hate to burst any budding athlete's bubble, but those big money contracts go to those who work HARD and have big talent, and everyone needs a backup plan.
Even if parents just allow kids to scribble pretend letters and lists or point out environmental print, or tell nursery rhymes to their children, in the end it will impact the way they process and approach literacy, and improve their background knowledge. This last is a biggie with me. Sometimes it is unbelievable to me the lack of background knowledge students are bringing to the table. Is this just because our oral traditions have gone the way of the horse and buggy? I don't pretend to have all the answers, but I do think parents need to interact verbally with their children more often and do some of the other things I've written about to help their children be better able to navigate the world of print. Enough! I'm off my soapbox!
This post started out to as a thank you to those who are kind enough to offer their support and words of encouragement here - Thank you new friends!