February 2, 2020: Literacy Week and School Visits
Last week was Literacy Week!
First celebrated in 1967, it was a week designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to highlight the importance of literacy to individuals, communities, and societies. The week is celebrated in schools and communities across the world. Our Florida Legislature designated Jan. 27-31 as this year’s Literacy Week, and there were all kinds of events, celebrations, and activities that filled the week.
A highlight for me was a school visit I did to Palm Bay Academy in Melbourne Beach. The 4thGraders there had finished reading my book, Saving Home, as part of their unit on Early Florida history. I have actually been visiting their school for a couple of years now. The 4th Grade Team of Teachers there are incredible. How do I know that? Because every year when I meet and chat with their students, I am blown away by how articulate, inquisitive, and knowledgeable they are. Their students have such a deep understanding of Florida history, and such a passion for learning. They love discussing the writing process and how ideas develop into stories; they ask such insightful questions about the book and love hearing some behind-the-scenes info on how it came to be; they have such a passion for history and literature. And I know it is the teachers who plant those seeds and nurture those inquisitive minds. It is a true joy to visit them each year.
Literacy Week wrapped up at my school with our school-wide Leadership Day on the 31st. We are a Leader-In-Me School. Based on Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Leader-In-Me is a program designed for schools. It provides the training and tools so that schools can help students grow into leaders. I am a 7-Habits fan, and even tried to infuse them into my newest book, Flower Power.
To me, Literacy is as much a central part of my life as breathing. Reading and writing; writing and reading. They are the basis and foundation to everything. To how we get information, process and understand that information, and how we communicate our needs, thoughts, and ideas with others. Literacy is more than a week of fun activities. Literacy is the life-blood of societies.
I wish you days filled with rich and diverse literacy!