Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Why do I write? Just read this letter ...

Why do I write?
I could answer many things of course: because I breathe, because I walk here, because I have to. But there's another reason. Once in a while, as a writer you are lucky enough to receive a letter like this
(I've edited out specifics for privacy reasons):

Dear Philippa Dowding,

My name is M and I’m an educational assistant.  

This past year I have been working with two special needs children in grade 5. When I started working with the student I am about to tell you about, he did not like to read. His name is D. Every morning we start our day with journal writing. In September, I had trouble getting D to write more than a couple of sentences.

Later on in the year, I wrote headings on popsicle sticks, and D would choose a popsicle stick and write a few sentences about that topic. This seemed to help him with his writing, but it still wasn’t something that he was excited about.

Then one day I took one of your books out of our school library (The Gargoyle in My Yard), and started to read it to my students every afternoon. The boys always looked forward to this time of day, especially D. He even started reading chapters to me! After we finished that book, we continued to read the other books in your series. 

Then one morning in May,  D asked if he could write his own book during our journal time. He called his book, Gargoyle on my Street.  Since D was introduced to your books, I’ve seen a totally different student when it comes to his reading/writing. He has even branched out to reading other books from the library.

The reason I am writing to you, is because I wanted you to know what an impact you had on D. Thank you ... and keep up the great work.


Truly honoured, there can be no higher praise. Thank you M and D! I wrote back, and told D one day maybe I can read one of his books. I'd like that.

Here's a similar blog post about Henry's Apple.

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