Stacey Loscalzo

Oct 19

Your Towel?

by Stacey

I love seeing new e-mails appear in my inbox from Choice Literacy.

To quote their website,

Choice Literacy is dedicated to providing innovative, high-quality resources for K-12 literacy leaders. Founded in 2006, the website has grown to include over 700 professionally produced and edited video and print features from top educators in the field, as well as promising new voices.

We believe literacy change that endures comes from within schools. We honor and support local literacy leaders by supplying them with the practical resources they need to mentor colleagues, design demonstration classrooms, lead study groups, and assess literacy learning.

Professionally, I go the website frequently to watch videos of techniques I might introduce to teachers or to listen to podcasts by experts in the world of literacy. As a mom, I often check out articles that include book lists of the latest and greatest.

Each weekly e-mail from Choice Literacy contains a word of wisdom from their senior editor, Heather Rader. I have included this week’s e-mail below…

My daughter Ahna and I have a favorite ritual on the mornings she takes a bath.  She bathes in a room we’ve nicknamed the “Frog” bathroom, and it can be chilly in the morning.  Years ago I started popping a towel in the dryer a few minutes before she got out so it was extra warm.

 When I hear “Mommmm . . .,” I grab the towel, help her out, and dry her off with a heated hug. 

 One morning last year I didn’t put the towel in the dryer and told her to use one off the rack.  She was obviously distraught as she ate her breakfast.  That afternoon she told me she’d been cold all day in first grade.

“I really think that towel in the morning makes a difference,” she explained.

 I’m sure she’s right.  That warm towel is connected to her well-being.  Ahna is a good role model for me.  I’m tempted this time of year to cut back on my exercise, movie watching, and pleasure reading time: the ingredients of my joy.  There are many things on my task list, and they all deserve my focused time and attention. 

 In the past when I’ve decreased my joy ingredients, perhaps I’ve started out completing more tasks, but I ended up unbalanced and wondering where my groove went.  Just like the towel in the dryer, I pay attention to those things that bring me joy and try to do more of them, not less, when things get busy.  What’s your towel in the dryer? What fuels the best version of you?

I shared this story with a group of teachers today and asked them to reflect on their towel. What was missing in their lives. I did this after reading surveys I had asked them to take during one of our first meetings. On these surveys, many teachers reported that they didn’t have a favorite author, didn’t know their preferred genre and couldn’t name a favorite book. Almost all the teachers told me that they just didn’t have time to read for pleasure.

I know that with full time work and full time families, reality sets in and there are only twenty four hours in the day. But… I have made it my mission to get this group reading again. To understand that as the literacy leaders in their classrooms, they have to remember what it means to be a reader. As the literacy leaders in their rooms, they have to come in on a Monday morning and tell their kids how they finished an entire book over the weekend because they just couldn’t put it down. They have to be able to talk with their kids about how they choose the titles they read. They have to be able to discuss when to persevere through a tough book and when to decide that enough is enough.

In order to do all of this, you have to read.

So, here’s to your ‘towel in the dryer’ being a good book.

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