The meaning of literacy

My mom tells me I used to be a reluctant reader. To this day, I neither remember this reluctance nor the cause behind it. Regardless, my mom was determined to change my mind, in the sneakiest way possible. I do remember this part: the nightly chapters of books, like The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe orĀ The Black Stallion. How was that sneaky, you ask? Well, she would always read one chapter and the title of the next. Then, when she said good night, she left the book, lying innocently next to my bed. I don’t know how many nights I sat there, struggling to figure out why the next chapter was calledĀ “Aslan Lives.”

Regardless of my beginnings, I am now an advocate for literacy. I think being an English teacher gives me the power to make words come alive for my students. Some of them still read, and still love the power of words, but many in my general English 10 class are bitter and sick of school. I love sharing with my students my passion for literacy. I share my writing blog, Kenton Musings, I talk about the books I’m reading. In fact, when my students silently read, I whip out my latest pleasure read and read along with them. I get giddy when I talk about traveling to the OCTELA conference, letting them see that it’s okay to be excited about literacy. Modeling by example sends a powerful message: even after graduation, it’s okay to love to read and write.

I’ve been teaching for sixteen years, in a variety of subjects. Regardless of what I teach, I try to leave my students with the same message: fall in love with words.