For the past week, I’ve been at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project August Reading Institute. Every educator deserves to spend a week learning from the passionate, brilliant people here. Each day, keynote speakers share their latest thinking about reading and reading instruction.
The message this week has been loud and clear: WE ARE WHAT WE READ
Matt de la Peña told us on Tuesday that he believes the job of a young person is to “discover the different possibilities that are in front of you.” If a young person is a nonreader those possibilities are very limited.
Stephanie Harvey implored us to “table the labels.” A student is not a number or a letter. A student is a human being with hopes and dreams and desires. When we label them and allow them to read only books that match that label, we are limiting the possibilities they see for themselves. That is unconscionable.
With all this in mind, this poem, by Naomi Shihab Nye, seemed especially appropriate to share and keep in our minds and hearts as we head back to our classrooms.
“The Young Poets of Winnipeg”
by Naomi Shihab Nye
scurried around a classroom papered with poems.
Even the ceiling, pink and orange quilts of phrase…
They introduced one another, perched on a tiny stage
to read their work, blessed their teacher who
encouraged them to stretch, wouldn’t let their parents
attend the reading because parents might criticize,
believed in the third and fourth eyes, the eyes in
the underside of leaves, the polar bears a thousand miles north,
and sprouts of grass under the snow. They knew their poems
were glorious, that second-graders could write better
that third or fourth…
Read the rest of the poem here.
Wishing you all a wonderful school year! Please be sure to visit Julieanne at To Read To Write To Be for the Poetry Friday Roundup.