Slice of Life Story Challenge Day 26 -Sharing Your Literate Life

Today, I presented at a conference for Graduate Teachers in Melbourne. The conference title was ‘Surviving and Thriving in the Early Years of Teaching.’ Among the many things I shared with participants, was the importance of being joyfully literate, and the critical nature of sharing our reading and writing lives with the students in our care. When it comes to teaching, you must in the stream with your students,. You can’t stand on the bank imploring them to swim faster! Your efforts must intially go into helping keep them afloat. When you share aspects of your reading and writing self, it adds extra depth to your humanity and strengthen the connection to what you are demanding of them. It makes you credible…
These remarks led me to thinking about my personal situation as both reader and writer, and I recalled reading recently that one of favourite educators, Richard Allington, speaking at a conference in Colorado had restated his belief that unless you know a thousand books you should not become a teacher! Richard I’m with you all the way. A recent post by a fellow SLICER prompted more thought on this matter when she wrote about teachers who openly declare they don’t read! I honestly struggle with this kind of disclosure!

I can’t imagine a life without books. I try to spend some time each week browsing in bookshops. I willingly yield to the call.  Last week, two more books joined my library. The shelves in my study are bulging with books, magazines, notebooks. There are more in boxes in our garage! These texts are the oxygen for my writing. We read. We inhale. We write. We exhale. It’s a symbiotic relationship.  It feels comforting to know I am part of that great family of readers. Books have always been there, and their powerful magic has worked on me.

Reading is a constant in my life, -Reading newspapers, reading professional journals and books, reading on my iphone, Ipad, or computer, reading books for relaxation and enjoyment, reading to learn, reading to chip away at my ignorance.

Reading Aboringal Dreamtime Story to students at Thiells Elementary School, NY


  1. So true! We must make time for reading, and tell the kids about it. I've always been a big reader (and my students are also voracious), but this year I've made a bigger effort to share my thoughts with them. It's made a huge difference in their willingness to try new things.

  2. "We read. We inhale. We write. We exhale." Truer words.... I'm working hard on doing both in my classroom. Sharing books, sharing my writing. Slowly we are making progress.

  3. It's so nice to hear other people articulate the rhythms of my life with reading and writing woven through. I just don't feel like myself when I'm not reading and writing. I hope I communicate it to my students and teachers I work with often.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree with you Alan! I believe in sharing my reading and writing life with my students. The bond you create is immeasurable. It really strikes a nerve when I hear teachers say they're not readers or writers. They claim to either not be interested or not have the time. I just wonder how you can talk the talk, but not walk the walk.

  5. Time each week browsing in bookshops! That would be so wonderful, especially if no one complained about it. I love to read. People tease me about my obsession. You make me feel acceptable, though. Thanks.

  6. I SO agree Alan and what are you doing in Thiells, NY. I live near there.

    1. Ah Bonnie, the mystery of ThIells! We have friends who live there and while we were living in NY we visited Thiells many times to stay with them. The connection to the school arose from that friendship as our friends are also teachers...
      What a coincidence!

  7. I think every student aiming to be a teacher should read this blog, I am going to send it to my girls who both want to teach. I have heard stories of people in interviews for teaching positions who cannot think of one book they are reading - that is unbelievable really. Glad you are sharing the passion of literacy with so many.

  8. Alan,
    I could not agree with you more. Books are like a food group for me. I would wither away without them! Although I struggle at times during the school year to maintain a balanced diet. Thanks for the nudge to seek more balance. ~ Theresa


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