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What Will Your Legacy Be? Celebrating Over a Decade as a Literacy Specialist

This week represented a turning point in my professional life.  I said goodbye to a job I have had for over a decade.  However, it’s not quite right to describe it as just a job.  I know that the fellow literacy specialists in my PLN will agree with me when I describe it as a passion, a way of life.

I created this blog to celebrate books and the way they connect us as teachers, students, and human beings.  I have always celebrated and will continue to celebrate reading.  But I always wonder… are my students becoming REAL readers?  Do they have a connection with books that will last long after I am gone from their daily lives?

As the goodbye cards began to appear on my desk, I was so proud to see a theme emerge. From teachers, from parents, and from the kids. I think the theme will be evident from the pictures below.IMG_5224-0IMG_5214-0

One of the things I love best about being a literacy specialist is that teachers often ask for advice for read-alouds.  I’ve been able to recommend The One and Only Ivan, Rump, Wonder, Along Came Spider, Out of My Mind, The Honest Truth, Each Kindness, Freedom Summer, and many, many others over the years.

One of my recent suggestions was One for the Murphy’s, a book that really touched kids’ hearts. This clever 5th grader used a One for the Murphy’s theme to create this good-bye card for me.  The best part is the picture of me holding a “Book of Books,” which represents all of the recommendations I’ve handed out over the years. Now, I have never taught this particular student, but I have taught her teacher. Today, I can celebrate the far-reaching influence that literacy specialists have.IMG_5219-0

One of the last moments that I had with students was a celebration of the progress they have made on their 40 Book Challenge.  As they were leaving, I invited them to take a book so that they could continue working toward their goals.  The response?  “Just ONE?”  As you can see from the picture, these students left with plenty to read. This is something else I will celebrate-  knowing that I have continuously put books in kids’ hands and hopefully inspired them to reach their reading goals.
IMG_5211I was also reminded of the influence we have as parents who model a love for reading. Today, for a class gift, I had to ask my eight year old son for a bit of advice that he would give his teacher who is expecting her first baby this month. He was on his way to practice, so I asked my husband to text me with his response. (Please excuse the poor grammar.  This is how we text!)

IMG_5262And so this is how I know that my legacy includes inspiring a love of reading. I see tracks of influence on the kids that I teach, the kids that are taught by teachers that I work with, and in my own children. Truly…something to celebrate.

CELEBRATE This Week: LIJoin the celebration every week on Ruth Ayres’ blog here.

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4 responses »

  1. Susan,
    Your wondering: “are my students becoming REAL readers?” is one that plagues us huh? I can see your love of reading is reflecting back at you: from passionate book recommendations to such heartfelt letters of thanks. They will miss you dearly… Hoping your talents will go on to better other young readers!
    Julieanne

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  2. Did I miss something? What is next for you? Congratulations on your ten years but I am very curious where you are going to take your skill and grace next.

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    • Thanks Carrie! I am not going too far. I’ll be working for my district’s central office. Hoping to continue to inspire a love for reading. I will miss being with kids every day, though.

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