Thank you, Mr. Falker!

I had the privilege this morning of being a mystery reader to a group of learners who specifically requested a favorite story of mine, Thank You, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polacco (she’s one of my personal favorites).  Knowing they would want a little background about the writing of this story, I did my homework and learned some amazing things.  It turns out, Ms. Polacco experienced her own struggle with reading and this particular story honors the teacher who took special time to offer help.  With her dyslexic, dysnumeric, and dysgraphic tendencies, she required special reading assistance.  Mr. Falker, her teacher and “hero,” was the one who made it “available in those days.”  She notes: ” To this day, I remember the first day that words on a page had meaning to me…Mr. Falker had reached into the most lonely darkness and pulled me into bright sunlight and sat me on a shooting star.  I shall never forget him…”  She talks about how this personal academic struggle destroyed her self-confidence while she was being teased by a bully, feeling dumb and so sad to “be different than the others.”  Her teacher was the one who rescued her; what a powerful testament!  Believe me, the conversations and the emotions raised during our story time made for interesting observations!  I walked away wiping tears and feeling more confident in these little learners becoming champions for others!  🙂

As we celebrate National Children’s Book Week, I challenge each of you to take a moment and share a favorite story with your child.  Revisit and reflect on your own challenges growing up and share these with your learner.  Be an active listener because your child has much to tell you!  Here’s hoping we all celebrate a teacher who becomes a “hero” to your child just like Ms. Polacco did with hers…thank you, Mr. Falker!  🙂

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