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Friday, May 13, 2011

The Kids with the Words

Today I was working with my First Grade After School Writing Club and a little girl came up to me and asked, "Where are the kids with the words?"

She was referring to my helpers.  I have two young gentlemen, Ethan (grade 4) and Tobias (grade 3), who meander through the throngs of little first graders armed with post-it notes and pencils, helping the six year-olds spell the words that elude them.  I loved that way of thinking about them, the kids with the words. 


How lucky I am to have them!  (And are their names great or what?  Ethan and Tobias.  It's like I have squires who will someday be knights in the StoryQueen's army!)  Of course, they were where they always are, between the bookshelves of the library, helping some kid sound out Squidward or the like.

The kids with the words.


Earlier in the week, I had my 4th and 5th graders write about why they liked to write.  I read their papers and teared up a bit.  There are kids among them for whom writing is like breathing.  I understand that.  Maybe I was kind of like that when I was a kid.

And then there is a little boy in second grade named Darren who says that Tuesday is the absolute best day of the week because he can come to Writing Club.  He claims he could write all day.  Actually, he probably could.  Such an imagination!

The kids with the words.


And then, folks, there are the realities of a bad economy and budget cuts.  And the truth is, there will come a point when it will be impossible to offer all that we are currently able to offer to our students.

But words.  Words.


If we do not help children find words, then we silence them.


And that is wrong.


hrh

8 comments:

Julie Hedlund said...

I'm so glad I saw this post today. I've been toying with the idea of starting an after-school "writing club" for 4th and 5th graders at my kids' elementary school. This post just cinched it for me.

I want to give kids the experience of writing for joy and for love before they get into the upper grades and start having to do technical writing, research papers, etc.

The kids with the words I LOVE that!

Ruth Donnelly said...

Loved this post. May we all be "the kids with the words".

Catherine Denton said...

Wow! What a powerful post, Shelley! I love that, the kids with the words. *sigh* Beautiful.

Thank you for identifying with me on My Blog. I promise I wasn't reading your mind. ;)

Joanne Fritz said...

This sent shivers up my spine. So gorgeous. And so true. Especially that last bit.

Thank you!

Myrna Foster said...

I love this post.

Corey Schwartz said...

I'm sending this to Governor Christie! Ha. I kid, but not entirely. So sad that this government doesn't understand that education is the last place where cuts should be made.

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh man.

The kids with the words.

Amazing.

Susanne Drazic said...

The kids with the words. Truly powerful. Great post, Shelley! I wish all schools could have an After School Writing Club.