Slice of Life Story Challenge March 7 -A Special Note In My Pocket

 Rummaging through my coat pockets this morning, I chanced upon a scrap of paper inscribed with some special words. 

I immediately recalled that on Monday, at the conclusion of my full day workshop on Writing Terrains, a young teacher had approached me and quietly handed me the note I was now rereading.

I had made mention throughout the day of the important connections between reading and writing. I had urged participants to make their reading and writing lives visible to the learners in their care. I had announced, ‘You cannot be a writer unless you are a reader.’ I further reminded them, ‘Reading is the input. Writing is the output.' Borrowing from Annie Dillard I said, ‘Be careful what you read because, that is what you’ll write.’

The note, at the end of the day brought me much joy. It contained the names of two books this young teacher thought I might benefit from knowing about. She was gentle in her approach. ‘I’m not sure if you know of these books, but I thought you would enjoy reading them.’

I thanked this young teacher for her thoughtfulness. ‘Readers share.’ I said. She smiled.

 ‘I have one of those books already,’ I added, ‘and I agree with you, it’s a great book,' referring to Lane Smith's, It's A Book. 'I’ll try to track down the other one. Thank you for alerting me to it.’

This was a small, yet significant moment in the course of my day, -a perfect book end, as it turned out.


  1. Sage advice, "You cannot be a writer unless you are a reader; Reading is the input. Writing is the output; and Be careful what you read because, that is what you’ll write." I will not only share this with my colleagues, but also with my students. Thank you so much for causing me to stop and reflect.

  2. "You cannot be a writer unless you are a reader; and visa versa :) Nice to be reading you again Alan. What wonderful inspiration.

  3. Well, she certainly took your advice to heart - "to make their reading and writing lives visible" - in sharing her own learning with you. It must have been a marvelous conference.

  4. I noticed the truth of the input/output idea this week, reading some student writing. I could tell how influenced by their current reading diets of "Wimpy Kid" and "Dork Diaries". One girl's writing stood out, though- it is apparent she is already reading romance elementary school!
    I also liked your simple comment of affirmation: "Readers share."

  5. I too like your 'readers share,' How true it is! My daughter loves to read and write and her vocabulary comes so much from her reading. And small notes can sometimes be the best things to read….


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