Hard to believe it's been almost a year since Reading Amplified went live online as one of Stenhouse's first Read and Watch books. It's been more than a year since I began writing it and creating the videos that are included in it. Though I'm not sold on the web-only format, I learned so much writing this book.
As I sat down to write recently, I thought about how we never quite know who will join us on our writing journey. I am sure my next writing adventure will connect me to people I haven't even met yet.
I could not have written Reading Amplified without colleagues, friends and family. Writing humbles me. Sometimes it scares me. I thought I'd post the acknowledgments from the book just as a public thank you on this first anniversary and as a way to spur myself back to the business of writing.
"Acknowledgments" from Reading Amplified
Writing informs my teaching. It makes the work I do in class matter even more because it is a public act, shared. Writing exposes. It clarifies. Writing refines. Writing connects. Writing a book is a collaborative effort. God brought just the right people into my life to inspire, support, push and encourage me.
Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger shared the idea of a tutorial-rich, multi-media book and spurred me to write it. Thank you for that and for swinging by portable twenty-nine to inspire my student poets when you’re in the neighborhood. Your friendship and encouragement have meant the world to me.
I am grateful that I got to write the book for Team Stenhouse. My editor and yoga guru, Holly Holland, helped me shape the story so that learning could lead the way. Early conversations with Holly, Chuck Lerch and Dan Tobin energized me for the work. Their vision made the multi-media book I’d imagined even better. Many thanks to Jay Kilburn’s superb design work and Jill Cooley’s permissions acumen. I’m grateful to Chris Downey and the tireless copy-editor — their lesson about which numbers to write out may just stick! Many years ago, Philippa Stratton sat in on workshops I offered as part of Janet Allen’s summer literacy institutes. A model workshop participant, she stayed “after class” and talked to me about writing. She listened thoughtfully to book outlines I journaled and encouraged me to start writing. Those experiences would not have been possible without my mentor, Janet Allen—who, above all else, gave teachers like me opportunities to grow professionally. What started as a part-time job presenting workshops during summer institutes turned into sharing learning with a joyful team of generous teachers who wrote at your side. Thank you, Janet.
I am thankful for education’s rock stars. Sara Kajder once told me her goal was to teach me something new—that comment made more than just the day for me. Thank you for believing in me and giving me confidence. Thank you for marking the trail. For the working teacher-writers who have opened their classrooms (Linda Rief) or journals (Penny Kittle) or manuscripts (Cris Tovani) or online worlds (Jim Burke) to me, I am eternally grateful. Through your work and the work of others—Barry Lane, Rick Wormeli, Stephen Krashen, Kelly Gallagher, Jeff Anderson, and Donalyn Miller—I see models of professional lives I want to live. Thank you for leading the way and welcoming me when I followed.
My students bring joy to me each day. I am honored to learn from and with some amazing teenagers online and in person. Thank you for allowing me to include your work, words and pictures in the book—especially Chris and Lea, your family remains an inspiration to me. A special thanks to Hank Green. I am humbled by all he does to encourage young people to learn and do good in the world. DFTBA!
I am lucky to work in a school community with some very smart people. Alpha Geek and personal tech-guru, George Perreault, understands how I love to learn and continues to feed my desire with training and special opportunities offered by the district. Beth Scanlon’s service as a sounding board during our morning commute helped me work through ideas and refine my thinking. My principal, Susan Storch, gave me opportunities to push the tech-envelope at school and in my classroom –thank you.
I am blessed to have two men in my life who understand how to care for a writer. My son, Collin, and I share a six-foot desk in our studio office. Thank you for your optimism even in the face of crashing hard drives. I love having you write across from me. Thank you for giving up some Saturdays and for not minding if I wrote on the sidelines during soccer. My husband, Richard, knows how to turn frustration into production with a good cup of home-roasted coffee and just the right words. Thank you for making me laugh and for helping me believe—even from far flung places like Disney’s Aulani resort.
My mother always believed I’d write. She made writing possible by taking care of meals, errands or my child. She and my father helped me overcome writing fears with unflagging encouragement and the idea that just as I can’t eat an entire pizza in one bite, nor would I write the whole book at one sitting. Piece by piece got the job done just as you predicted, Dad. Thanks.
And thank you to the teacher-readers who, like me, have yet to stop learning. It is in your classrooms and by your example that we will change education and forge the future for youth. Thank you for all that you do for the young people sitting in front of you. Stay true and be strong. I look forward to joining you in the work ahead.