I was handed my first Regie Routman book, Invitations, during my Master’s program by my literacy professor, Chris Kline. She thought I might enjoy it as I was doing research for my thesis. This book still sits on a shelf behind my desk with all of my original sticky notes and highlights. I often look at it and remember that young, energetic teacher and think about how much more I know now. I’ve been a huge fan and voraciously devoured every new Regie Routman book which has joined that now tattered copy of Invitations on my bookshelf. Over the years, Regie Routman has become Regie to me.
I remember going to one of Regie’s conferences where she pulled out letters she wrote to companies that she used to model for her students her life as a writer. Today, she posts blogs about what she’s read recently and I always come away with a couple new titles to add to my own “wish to read” bookshelf. I think her desire to show our students glimpses of ourselves as readers and writers is something I’ve always taken to heart as a teacher. As I try to model my own literate life to my students, I always think back to that letter she wrote to Starbucks she modeled for us and have her voice in my head.
I bring in stacks of my own books and talk about my thought process in choosing books. Sometimes it’s because of an author I enjoy, a friend recommended it to me, or the cover and description piqued my interest. I also talk about different reasons and different genres I read. From the simple grocery lists I gathered from my favorite recipes to professional literature and articles which challenge my thinking as a teacher and a person. I may even read excerpts, in addition to read alouds, to model my thinking In recognition of that, I have a “Books I’ve Read” link on this blog. I can attribute my desire for my students, and especially my own children, to see me as a model of reading and reading thinking directly to Regie.
Cultivating a culture of readers and writers is always on of my first goals of the year. One of my favorite subjects to teach is writing. Although I’ll share with students items I’ve prewritten, much like Regie did with her letter, I always make sure I write in front of my students. I want them to see my successes and failures, which I find is a great way to review grammar and spelling work, what I think about as I write and how I go about editing my own work.
So now, as I am starting to ponder my own “what’s next?” in my career, it seemed natural to loop back to my initial educational inspiration. I bravely wrote a letter to my idol Regie. She wrote back the next morning (wow!). In addition to the above quote I pulled from her letter, she suggested a blog. Immediately, all these negative thoughts went through my head.
“I don’t have time for that.”
“I have no idea how to make a blog.”
“No one cares what I think.”
“I don’t know enough.”
And then, finally, “Why not?”
So this blog was born. All the doubts continue to swirl in my head as I write and post. This blog is a work in progress yet I have hope in the coming posts, I may inspire others as I’ve been inspired by Regie along with the many other educators and professionals I’ve encountered on my professional and personal journey. Thank you, Regie!