“…focusing deeply on…literacy…with teachers…is necessary – even urgent – in order to create passion, commitment, and a zeal for teaching and learning. Commitment from system leaders, administrators, and teachers to a single, shared vision is…the moral imperative.” (Sharratt & Fullan, 2009, p. 10)
Leaders are able to search within themselves to determine their personal why. This is an inspiration to others. This commitment to a greater and deeper purpose compels us to do whatever it takes to nurture and grow readers. This personal compelling why can be rooted in love and how reading can enhance the basic human connection. Reading together allows us to bond in a way that nothing else can. It’s about wanting what’s best for those we love and influence. Here is one of those stories …
My truck stops and they shout “Gramma is here!!” The house trembles as four little bodies tumble all over me (one is the dog). “Did you bring the blanket?” they shout. “Sure,” I say and we put it into the dryer to get it warm. Then four little bodies wedge themselves around me (yes …one is the dog’s) and our ritual begins again. For the love of reading and the love of my grandkids. This is my compelling personal WHY. My professional WHY is for lifelong joy of reading and for nurturing a key 21st century skill.
The following is an excerpt from a school-based administrator’s story that reflects some of his compelling why …
Our student reading assessment conducted in September of 2011 unveiled a harsh reality: only 10% of our students in grades 1-8 were reading at or above grade level. These assessments also highlighted that many of our students were reading multiple grade levels below their grade placements. Faced with this data, it was imperative that our staff develop shared beliefs and an intense focus on helping improve our students’ abilities as readers.
Over the course of the next four years, we stayed steadfast in our literacy goal (all students will grow at least one full grade level in reading) and worked together to create a culture of reading. There were a number of critical aspects of this work which included: early identification, consistency of practice, interventions and data-driven decision making.”