Saturday, February 14, 2009

Power of words

I've decided to use the weekends to share some words that have inspired me during the week. Some words have inspired me to write more. Others have inspired me to think about the importance of parenting and teaching. Words are powerful. Language is powerful. There's never a day that I'm not reminded that life is what poetry is made from....we'll get back to writing exercises on Monday!

The first link is from a writer by the name of Annie Wickling. I actually forgot today was Valentine's Day until I read her post! Her powerful words made me think about all my loved ones...and the cards that I forgot to sign and give!

Here is the link to Annie's lovely words:

The words below are from one of the most creative and thoughtful teachers I've had the pleasure to get to know, all through the magic of the blog world. When I asked her about using her words, she said, "Parents might not like to hear what I'm saying." I think she's wrong. You be the judge. Here are her words:

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!

Words are powerful. Language is powerful. Life is poetry in motion.


Annie Wicking said...

Hi Jan, To place a link in your posting you will find a symbol of two half circle with a globe behind it, on your toolbar where you create your posting.

If you highligh a name or word in your posting and then click on this symbol and box will open, add the address for the blog or website in it and close. The word or name will then show up in a different colour when you have uploaded it.

I hope this is of some help to you and you can follow my instructions.

Best wishes,

Suzanne said...

I could join your friend on this soapbox.

A mum I know, an intelligent well-educated woman, was cross that her daughter had only been given one 'reader' for the best part of a school year. Her daughter was struggling with her reading and it was all the school's fault. When I suggested that perhaps the mother should be buying books for her own daughter she looked at me as though I'd sprouted two heads. 'But that's the school's responsibility,' she complained.

I find it hard to understand this attitude. Surely making sure children have enough reading matter is a parent's responsibility?

Too many parents - busy or incapable of doing anything differently - are too quick to pass blame for all society's ills onto teachers.

I have many friends who are teachers. They tell awful stories of children who are sent to school dirty, hungry and in no emotional state to learn anything (and this when our benefits system in the UK is so generous that there is excuse for a child going without food or soap and water). Most of these children have no hope of ever contributing to society in any positive way and it's heartbreaking to see so much wasted potential.

Of course we can't blame teachers, the responsibility for a child - for teaching right from wrong, for instilling discipline and a respect for others - lies with parents not with teachers.

Any reasonable parent would be appalled that anyone would look at a teacher with disdain. There is no more important job in the world than preparing the next generation for adulthood. Teachers deserve our respect and they deserve our support.

Suzanne said...

Sorry about the rant. I know the blog was about instilling literary skills. I kind of went off on a tangent there.


Glue Girl said...

You know, Jan, this blogginh has inspired me to write much more than I have written in a long while. I write all the time, I write lesson plans, I write report card comments, I write grocery lists, I write descriptions of items I am selling on Etsy, but to actually push myself to think, to frame thoughts into words - I haven't done that. Thak you for "Igniting my writing!"

Kris said...

Hi, Jan. Thanks for visiting my blog. It looks like you have a great reasource here for writers of all ages and skill levels. Great job!

How cool that you write for the Rookie Read-About series! I think those are some of the best science books around for young readers.

Sandy said...

I remembered it was Valentine's Day, though I didn't send cards to anyone.

This post reminds me of so many of the conversations Chrissy and I about what kids bring to the table and what happens at home with parents or whom ever is the care giver. Chrissy's talks about the time we spent at libraries, the word games we played in the cars on our way here and there, singing her spelling her spelling words, my teaching her how to diagram sentences when she was bored with school. Keep doin what your doing does matter.

Remember the notes I gave you about how to make your posts, with a picture etc.