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  • Dionna Roberts

#LiteracyIsMyJam

There is no denying that I love #music. Music is in my heart and deep in my soul. The rhythm, the melody, the rhyme, and lyrics...all of it. When riding in a car, with me as a passenger, it is not uncommon for me to abruptly interrupt our conversation with, "Wait, this is my jam!", proceeded by me cranking up the volume and singing along with the song playing from the radio as if I'd written it myself.


I naturally connect with certain musical genres, musicians, and certain songs, while others I can appreciate, but would not groove to them consistently. Music creates a soundtrack and mood for my day. Sometimes a particular song can describe a situation better than I possibly ever could. While, not every song is my personal jam, it's probably somebody's. It is amazing to me how #literature is very similar and has the power to create that same connectedness for us as readers.


Rudine Sims Bishop described this thought as #windows, #mirrors, and sliding glass doors. She wrote: “Books are sometimes windows, offering views of worlds that may be real or imagined, familiar or strange. These windows are also sliding glass doors, and readers have only to walk through in imagination to become part of whatever world has been created and recreated by the author. When lighting conditions are just right, however, a window can also be a mirror. Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience. Reading, then, becomes a means of self-affirmation, and readers often seek their mirrors in books. (1990, p. ix)”


When choosing books for our classroom #libraries, we should have a #variety of #genres just as we do in the world of music. I'm an Apple girl and I appreciate my Apple music. I am able to create stations and playlists that are tailored to the music I like to listen to. The music in which I can see and hear my generation. The music that allows me to relate to other cultures, spaces and times that sends me on trips down memory lane and to places I've never been.


Our students should have a place in our classrooms where they can access texts and create personal book baskets for themselves like customized playlists. They should be able to choose books with characters and plots that are reflective of their culture, interests, and favorite genres. They should also be able to find those windows and sliding glass doors into other worlds unlike their own.


My personal children's book collection is much like my music collection. Massive and rather eclectic. I treasure them both and take great joy in sharing and talking about them with others. I am constantly looking for what's new in the world of picture books, middle grade, and young adult literature. I now run to the bookstore and libraries to check new releases with the same excitement as I once did whenever a new Prince album dropped.


Tuesdays will be dedicated to Book Talks here in this space--stay tuned! If you had a Literature Playlist composed of books, your jams, over the last 5 years, would there be evidence of mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors in the rotation? TpT has a free downloadable playlist template!




LITERACY FUN FACT ABOUT ME


When I was first learning to read, my mother used rhythm, rhyme and MUSIC to teach me. Have you ever heard of the 1964 chart topping song, "The Name Game" by Shirley Ellis? If you haven't, pause for a moment, and take a listen.


My mother remixed this song and created what I now know as a phonemic awareness routine to practice with her at home and sometimes riding in the car. Routines such as this help build those early literacy foundational skills as described in (K-3 Literacy Essential #4). It's no surprise that one of the first books that I could read independently was Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss. This may also help to explain my affinity for poetry as well.

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