Thursday, May 2, 2013

Becoming Writers: Teaching Our Students to Persevere

There are many writers today who have persevered passed learning disabilities. We will focus tomorrow on how everyone can become an excellent reader and writer. I will introduce writers who struggled as students, but now are successful writers. Many of these writers persevered through the encouragement of teachers that made a difference.

The first author we will discuss is Patricia Polacco, who struggled with learning disabilities and illiteracy until one special teacher changed her life.

Below is a link to the reading of her book, Thank You, Mr. Falker. The book is dedicated to the teacher who changed her life and helped her to become a reader.

Polacco has written and published over 60 books during her career.


Another author that struggled with learning disorders, but very popular with middle grades readers is Avi.


True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle          Man Who Was Poe        Crispin

Avi was born in Manhattan on December 23rd, along with his twin sister. He had a learning disability, which made writing difficult, but a love of reading, storytelling, and a tutor made him want to write, which he eventually did after his children were born.
A graduate of the University of Wisconsin and Columbia University, with a master's degree in library science, Avi's first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970. When asked if he has another name, he replies "The fact is, Avi is the only name I use." He received a Newbery Honor for The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. In 2003, he was awarded a Newbery Medal for Crispin: the Cross of Lead. Avi and his wife live in Rhode Island.

Tomorrow we will read excerpts from Avi's and Polacco's writings, read their bios', discuss them, and relate their struggles to our own. Why is it that so many students do not feel confident in their reading and writing skills? How has that kept students from pursuing their dreams and affected their ability to achieve? How can teachers change that? How can students take control of their achievement and become confident writers?

My classes will explore all of these questions through reading, discussion, and writing.

I look forward to hearing my students' struggles, and learning how we, as teachers, can help them persevere through the difficult times, so that they can always be striving for excellence.

1 comment:

Laura Farmer said...

Patricia Palacco is one of my favorite writers of children's books and knowing her struggles to become an author adds a new dimension to reading them. Thanks!
This post reminds me once again of the story I told you about the two teachers who each uttered two words to me that I remember with equal clarity: one called me a "cry baby" and the other said "you could" when I was talking about another student who had always made straight A's, but had moved. Because of that teacher, I became a student committed to doing my very best. The scripture I told you about that I relate to this is Proverbs 25:11-"Words fitly spoken are like apples of gold in settings of silver." Words matter, especially if they come from teachers and parents. Great post! I enjoyed the one yesterday as well-just wasn't able to comment. I think the post has to be up a while before the comment section appears. But know I always read it and an absolutely taken with your writing and your thoughts.