#SOL15: Literacy Superheroes

Halloween Celebrations are over.  November, still warm and toasty, is here.

Did you see a few superheroes?

I spent some time this last week with a few of my superheroes.


Real life superheroes.  Authors who inspire!  Authors who dare to challenge my thinking. Authors who want a better world for our students.  And authors who understand that in order for students to really be life-long learners, the teachers have to step back and trust that inquiry is one avenue that unites students and teachers in real-world learning.

Who is one of my super heroes?

vicki vinton

Vicki Vinton, co-author of What Readers Really Do: Teaching the Process of Meaning Making, is definitely one.  Have you read her book?  If you haven’t read it,



Additional evidence of my esteem would be in these blog posts:  here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Those nine posts share thoughts from the last year that include Vicki, other rock star literacy educators and many other bloggers as well. It has been an amazing year of learning and I’ve been blessed to have many opportunities to learn along side students, teachers, literacy rock stars and superheroes!

This book was eagerly awaited as Vicki wrote about it on her blog here and here.

The book is a celebration of the 13 belief statements and the 68 study group members who went to Italy in October of 2012 to study the preschools in the town of Reggio Emilia. And as the authors say, “We hope these essays inspire you to move beyond discussion and into action.”

Essay One is “Centering the Child” by Sir Ken Robinson.

Essay Two is “How Reggio Ruined Me for Anything Less than Inquiry-Driven Learning by Vicki Vinton.

Essay Four is “Engagement: A Hub of Human Development by Peter Hohnston and Gay Ivey.

Essay Five is “With an Air of Expectancy” by Katherine Bomer.

Essay Six is “What Price Beauty?  A Call for Aesthetic Education” by co-editor Ellin Oliver Keene.

Essay Eight is “The Journey of a Single Hour: Exploring the Rich Promise of an Immediate Release of Responsibility by Katie Wood Ray.

Essays I have yet to read include those by: Deborah Meier, Matt Glover, Kathy Collins and Thomas Newkirk.

Backstories and Essays you can access:

Sir Ken Robinson – “Centering the Child Part 2

The Story of the Front Cover and Frontispiece

Jeremy Greensmith – “On Teaching the Scaffold

Alfie Kohn – “To Change What We Do, Consider What We Believe” [This essay is adapted from the Foreword to The Teacher You Want to Be, edited by Matt Glover and Ellin Oliver Keene (Heinemann, 2015)]

Heidi Mills – “On Beliefs that Matter

What will my actions be?

I’m still mulling that over.  The last few weeks have really caused me to think about my beliefs. How do others know what I value?  They can see it here in my blog posts as well as on Twitter.  “I loved the alignment of beliefs and practices – as in, ‘If we say we believe this, we must therefore do that . . .'”(Vicki Vinton, p. 20)  Crosschecking, constantly!  Do my beliefs match my actions?

Which essay is your favorite?  

With whom are you sharing the essays?

*I think 2015 is the year of the great books . . . new Mindset, Reading Nonfiction (Notice and Note) . . . my TBR stack is NOT getting any shorter!


Tuesday is the day to share a “Slice of Life” with Two Writing Teachers. Thank you, Anna, Betsy, Beth, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey, and Tara. Check out the writers, readers and teachers here. 

19 responses

  1. I needed to read your post to remind myself to get that book ordered!! ASAP!! And thanks for your honest reflection. I find that I can be pushed along by the status quo or the inexperienced teacher’s ignorant suggestion and before I know it, I am not set up to teach as I believe. As my 1st quarter ends, I plan to spend some reflective time ensuring that what I believe is front and center. I needed your post to kick me into gear. I recall Debbie Miller saying to stand at the door and you should see what you believe in. I have a work day today and I plan to do some observing and reorganizing. Look out 2nd quarter!!!

    1. Sally,
      You will love this book! It’s so full of wisdome and in fact deserves face to face conversation at a NYC cafe! ❤

  2. This looks amazing! Thank you for sharing the book and your unbridled enthusiasm for it. It’s on my list!!

    1. You are welcome, Michelle!
      So many great books out there! This one is going to be in some holiday gift bags for sure!

      And if you think I am enthusiastic now, wait until I have it ALL read! It’ll be like the 4th of July celebration!!!

  3. Even though I am retired I am still always on the lookout for good professional reads. Thanks for what sounds like a great addition to me reading list.

    1. And if your list is long, little bites allow you to check out the links!

  4. I’ve been hoping to find the time to read The Teacher You Want to Be. I will likely get to it in December. I’m slammed from now until 12/21!

    1. Stacey,
      That is why I only have half of it read! It is easy to read, essay by essay!

  5. I haven’t read it yet, Fran, but I will. Sounds like a thought-provoking, life-changing book.

  6. Thank you for the positively spirited post and the reading recommendation. I’ll add the book to my list and start reading the links.

    1. I was amazed at the number of links for such a new book! Enjoy your reading!

  7. Thanks for the recommendation. I love the idea of essays — manageable chapters for my commute!

    1. Essays are still relatively new for me, so I love having more experience with them in real life and YES, manageable for commuting folks!

      I hope you enjoy them! Try a couple of the links!

  8. I’ve read Vicki’s and Newkirk’s so far. What a breath of fresh air. I have so missed VIcki’s weekly words. They kept me on a path of inquiry that is so easily derailed. Thank you for this post Fran.

    1. I agree, Julieanne! Just so “hopeful” and “possible” to right the ship according to these essays. Not saying it will be easy; but it does seem “doable”.

      I know – crazy busy! Hope all are well in your family. Loving this last burst of summer weather here!

  9. This is my reading for the winter break, Fran – cannot wait. And, thanks for that photograph of Vicki – a true hero!

    1. Tara,
      You will absolutely love it! I may have to move on to other resources but I plan to finish and reread at least two of the essays as I consider my #OLW and my New Year’s Possibilities!

  10. […] Literacy Superheroes (I counted FIVE of these essayists + Katherine in the room!) […]

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