Wednesday, October 10, 2012


The written word.
I've spent a lifetime in a relationship with it. The old library located underneath the bank that looked like Independence Hall was small enough that I thought I could read through all the books in the children's section.

I don't think I accomplished it. But I read a lot of good books trying.

Back on the public transportation today.
I take the train through the transportation center. As I leave the station the Mexican lady sells churros on the platform. Laden down with school bags and rushing to make the bus I do not stop. But by her knee a young girl kneels leaning against the pillar. Pencil in one hand, folder balanced on her knee she does her homework as the train roars into the station.

I transfer above ground.. The bus passes a stop where homeless people collect. The days have not yet chilled to the uncomfortable level, but still by the vent, a man wth a series of bags and mismatched clothes crouches over the warm air. The bus collects passengers but he doesn't get on. He's concentrating on the book propped up on the grid. The warm air makes the pages flutter.

The assistant principal gives me a new manual for a very old phonics program. I read the directions for the assessment piece. I give the assessment to the ninth grader in the ninth period resource room group.
“I'm going to do terribly,” he tells me.”
He does.

35/50 three letter words read correctly in one minute
I go to the manual. It says on page three if the student reads less than 37 words in a minute follow the directions on page four.

I turn the page. Page five. No page four..

I tell the assistant principal. She's happy I am using the program. She doesn't have page four. Its an old program. She's not sure what I should do.

I better figure something out.
If the churro seller's daughter and the homeless man read, there's no chance of success without mastery of the written word in this world.

Even if you don't want to read your way through the children's library.

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