With “Empty Nest,” Comes New Discovery

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As the parents of a freshman in college, my husband and I have entered the “empty nest” season of our lives. I frequently find myself asking “Did I do all I could’ve done to prepare him for college?” “Can he wash his own clothes? Will he keep his dorm room cleaner than his room at home?” (I can’t even think about the bathroom!) The most difficult thing about my son being away at college is not being able to see him every day. I have to rely on my memory of what he looks like and the sound of his voice first thing in the morning. On the other hand, I hear a familiar song, and a vivid image of him strumming his guitar and singing, pops into my head. I see a small child hugging his mom and my 18 year old is back in short overalls snuggled on my lap as I read his favorite dinosaur book for the one hundredth time! As I reflect on my experiences, I realize that these are the kind of visual images and connections we want our students to make when reading books.

One of the books I revisited time and time again when teaching my students to make connections to text was Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox. She shares a beautiful story of a young boy who helps his elderly neighbor discover some precious memories by making connections to everyday objects. As you go through this school year, you will help your students make memorable connections to text, inspire vivid visual images that bring joy and excitement through read-alouds and engagement, and open the gift of questioning as they explore the world of reading and writing. At the end of the day, when you ask yourself, ”Did I do all I could’ve done to prepare my students for tomorrow?  “The answer will be a resounding “YES!” as you reflect on the pathway of literacy that you led them through and the brand new world they discovered in the pages of a book.


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