Last week, I spent my days visiting with students from Pre-Kindg. up to sixth graders in SW Minnesota.
We visited about reading, writing, being an author, gathering creative ideas and finishing with a Q&A. When students are fired up about reading and writing fun things begin to happen. I explained they each have a special, unique story to tell that no one else can tell. We talked about reading, “Everyone reads everyday,” I said.
One young man challenged me shaking his head saying, “I don’t read.”
I said, “I bet you do.”
He reassured me several times over he did not read.
I began to list a dozen things I was pretty sure he read everyday, his bus number, posters in the school hallway, the lunch menu, the sport scores, his homework, a comic book and my list went on and on. He sat a bit straighter in his chair and even contributed an idea now and then. The clock showed our time was ending, as everyone lined up to left the classroom, the non-reading young man stopped by me as I stood at the door and asked, “Do you think I could write my own autobiography?”
My response, “Yes, I certainly do!”
Off he went wearing a smile. I can’t wait to read this story!
In another one of my sessions, a young student came in with a para. They sat in the front row next to each other. The para wore three beaded bracelets which the young student reached over to finger and rub the beads from time to time to calm himself. He shared ideas and thoughts even telling me how much he like the books on the print of my dress and shoes.
Our time together was coming to a close and once again, I challenged the students to write notes on what/how they saw their world. They could gather ideas for stories only they could tell. Like what ideas, they wanted to know. I began to rattle off ideas:
“What is the first smell you smell in the morning?
What does you doorbell sound like?
What does your bowl of cereal look like?
What is for lunch today?
What does your father’s after shave smell like?
What does your bus seat feel like? It is bumpy, smooth, hot, cold, hard or soft.
Write it down. Save these important notes like a priceless gift. You will never suffer from writer’s block.”
By this time, the front row student was waving and swaying his hand from side to side to get my attention. I asked, “Yes. Do you have an idea to share?”
He nodded his head up and down and said, “I write notes everyday. I love to write notes to all my friends.” Turning slightly in his chair, he motioned with his hand toward the other students in the room, “These are all my friends.” The other students nodded their heads in agreement. Yes, they were his friends.
I felt a bit of envy, I wanted to be his friend…I wanted to get notes from him too.
We never know who the saints and angels are walking among us, do we?