Image: Writing Workshop
#Edublogs Club Prompt 16 Tell a Story
The simple acts of reading and writing remain at the heart of my memories as a perpetual source of enchantment.
Before I learned to read, my mother would read aloud, both in Spanish and Portuguese, thus unveiling the secret worlds that lay in silence within children books. She would encourage me to dictate my own stories long before I was able to write: I would stand by her, while, sitting, she would patiently put down word by word the fragile fragments of tales I entrusted to her caring attention.
I remember having learned to read very early – thanks to my parents who were both eager readers; I would go alone to hide in our backyard in a silent place, holding my treasure, just to plunge in the mystery that was to me, at that time, the fact that I could reach another space and time and apparently share a different life with the characters.
Later, when I was older, and looked for a book in the family library complaining about not knowing what to choose, my mother used to say: “Write what you wish to read”. Her advice became progressively more difficult to follow, but I never really gave up, and I keep cherishing writing among the best things in life just next to Family and Friendship.
I reencountered the magic of these moments, many years after, with my young students, while reading aloud “The Ink Drinker”, “The Report Card”, or simply telling in my own words – and reading some chosen passages – the adventures I finished to know almost by heart, like the “Chronicles of Narnia “and “The Hobbit”.
As for writing, my young student texts have blew me away as soon as I started to teach. I discovered their feelings and thoughts could express an implicit but so strong insight about the human person, the meaning of life, a certain vision of the world that was still germinating but was already present as a promise of future.
Their clumsy, novice writing was energizing, it concealed the power to make things happen in their own lives and could throw off balance some well-established prejudices to make a better world.
I began to collect their writings; then to share them in the classroom as a real “reading activity”; to use them for interpretation as the main text on tests; to publish them in the old school bulletin, later in our class blogs – helping in their translation; we even participated in the Edublogs Blogging challenge in 2008, and took our turn to be in charge of the student’s blogs “Bringing Us Together” and “Students Friends” (with my help for translations) without any infrastructure in school that would allow us to blog; and finally, to print the texts typed in colours before giving them back, just as an humble homage that seeks to enhance the discreet and often unknown voice of young students.
This was a story about the love of reading and writing and the transforming power that lies in both of them.