"Sure." I stood, making sure my things were settled and followed her outside.
We were at a Choice Literacy retreat, surrounded by forests with trails and a glistening lake. Ruth and I wandered down a path and into the woods, getting to know each other the further we went.
Just this weekend, I walked with Ruth at the NCTE annual convention but this time our feet traveled over the rain-soaked sidewalks of St. Louis. We know each other well now so our conversations are less getting-to-know and more what-do-you-think, what-if, and how-about-this?
Even though the kinds of questions we ask each other have changed, the urgency is still there. Ruth is a determined woman and that's one of the many qualities I love about her. She sets the bar high for herself and others and she gets things done.
Because Ruth is who she is, this book is a beautiful tribute but also a call to action. She shares how hard the work is, how possible it is, and how necessary it is. Weaving personal stories and professional experiences together in her new book Enticing Hard-To-Reach Writers, Ruth invites us to walk alongside her on this journey of teaching writing. Don't worry, she'll guide the way.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"We are all changing. This is life - constant change.
The intent is to move toward better versions of ourselves." (p. 29-30)
"Humans are wired as storytellers. Our brains use story to make sense of the world. Unfortunately, the stories children tell themselves are too often inaccurate." (p. 32)
"Our classrooms may be the last place where healing is possible for some students. Writing workshop may be the only opportunity for their voices to be heard." (p. 34)
"When teachers write, we stop creating assignments and begin cultivating a community. Writers thrive when surrounded by people who write. I know this, so I surround myself with writers. I love to talk with writers about writing. I can't believe how different we all are: I write to a word count, but my friend Tam says she'd never do that; I write at home, but my friend Jen writes at Starbucks; I keep a physical notebook full of sketches and lists and maps and notes, but my friend Franki keeps most of her thinking electronically." (p. 48)
(Hey! I think that's me! I'm Jen and I loooooove writing at Starbucks!)
"When we unlock the writing process of ourselves,
we become prepared to guide students as they do the same." (p. 49)
"It's a misconception to believe that there are writers and nonwriters,
that some people can write and others can't.
Everyone can learn to write.
Everyone can put words on the page.
And everyone struggles with wanting to not-write." (p. 57)
"Writing workshop is the best vehicle for students to become the kind of people who are positive world changers." (p. 67)
- Book page on Ruth's website
Be sure to visit all the stops on the blog tour!
11/13 - Clare & Tammy - Assessment in Perspective
11/15 - Michelle Nero - Literacy Zone
11/17 - Leigh Anne Eck - A Day In The Life
11/20- Mary Helen Gensch - Book Savors
11/22 - Jen Vincent - Teach Mentor Texts
11/27 - Julie Johnson - Raising Readers and Writers