Thursday, October 3, 2013

Read for the Record

On October 3 we joined classrooms across the country to Read for the Record.  The program identifies a book each year and then asks teachers all across the country to read the book on the very same day.
This year's book, Otis, was special for many reasons.  First of all, it has been a Chets Creek Book of the Month - one of the very special books that our Principal chooses and reads with us.  However, this year's kindergartners have not heard the book because they are new to our school this year, so it was a very special treat to be reading a book that teachers already love.

The other reason that this book is special is because Duval County dedicated the reading of this book this year to Lisa Wells.  Lisa passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly.  She was a beautiful blond who was walking sunshine.  I met her as a District Reading Specialist and she was always the person I called when I had a question or something just didn't seem right.  She knew more about literacy and early childhood education than anyone I have worked with in the county.  Lisa had that rare blend of humor and caring.  She could laugh about the absurdities and she cared about children in a genuine, heartfelt way.  I knew I would always get perspective from Lisa.  For many years Lisa would come to Chets Creek during Read for the Record day because she knew we would be doing something fun.  When The Very Hungry Caterpillar was the book of choice, she loaned me her very used caterpillar so I could make patterns for all of our kindergarten teachers. She had recently returned to the classroom to teach first grade.  I remember when she e-mailed me about her decision, all I could think about was how fortunate that group of students would be and what a grave loss it would be to the district.  As I watched the children listen to this endearing story this week, I couldn't help but think Lisa's presence filled our room, as it must have for so many classrooms on that day.  I could see her dancing and laughing and telling us the funniest stories.  She was a blessing in my life.  Her love of literacy was her legacy to me and to so many others.  We miss you, Lisa...

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