PROJECTS AS EDUCATOR:
Literacy Learning in the Early Years: Through Children’s Eyes – Teacher’s College Press, Columbia University. Reviewed in the New York Times, the book is a descriptive research text written for teachers and parents of children from birth to seven-years-old about the significance of these years as groundwork for reading and writing.
Word Play and Language Learning for Children – National Council of Teachers of English. As participant researcher, I documented how children master features of language as they play with word sounds and meanings.
PROJECTS AS EDUCATOR GRAN:
Little did I know where my grandson (at six and seven) would take me when he began to share the universe in his head, his Neverland I called it. He introduced me to far off places where monsters, dinosaurs, and dragons hung out, causing mayhem and inflicting violence on any who cross their paths.
But while he loved to tell stories, he was not interested in how print works. Yet, as everyone knows, in the early grades, his main job was to learn the rules of print so he can unlock the world of stories in books. But his mind was elsewhere: turning extinction on its head and wondering if another meteorite might smash into planet earth like it did 65 million years ago.
What to do? Censor the storytelling and hammer away at the rules? No. Absolutely not. I was sure that the school would find time for that. Besides I was not his teacher, I was his grandmother. When I forgot that and used teacher-type phrases like “we should clean up your room” when both of us knew full well I meant he should get busy, he made sure I got included in the job. Or if I asked a testing-type-question to which he knew I knew the answer—typical teacher talk—I couldn’t get his attention. But there was another reason, much more important. I had watched many struggling beginners, who, when over-loaded with the deadening repetition of skill/drill tasks of remedial programs, lost their desire to learn to read. I was petrified by the thought that this might happen to my grandson. The manuscript in progress is the story of how our family pulled together with storytelling at home to support our 7-year-old in and out of school. And my blogs fill in stories before and after the year of story creations during my grandson’s year in second grade.