Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Recently, I read Brenda Power's introduction to the most recent The Big Fresh Newsletter. I always enjoy Brenda's insights and love the resources the newsletter provides for readers.   

The title of this particular newsletter was Acronymia and in it Brenda shares her dislike and frustration with the myriad of acronyms used in education that can be intimidating to everyone, including teachers.  However, at a writing retreat, she learned of a few new acronyms that she felt helped her to monitor her own behavior. For this post, I would like to talk about one of these acronyms, SHAME:

My favorite new acronym for teachers and literacy leaders is SHAME, which represents Should Have Already Mastered Everything. Isn't this exactly the trap so many of us find ourselves in, embarrassed that we haven't mastered everything there is to know about teaching and learning, including that massive number of acronyms so many folks sling around in conversations? 
Like Brenda, and many teachers around the world, I also feel SHAME. However, as professor of children's literature, I would like to add a new acronym that follows this same line of thought, SHARE: Should Have Already Read Everything.

One of the first things teachers do when they enter my class is confess their feeling of SHARE. They express their feelings of embarrassment because they:

  • haven't read many children's books since they were kids themselves.
  • haven't read most of the books in their classroom library.
  • don't read the books their students are reading.
  • prefer adult books (even "trashy" adult books!).
  • prefer certain genres and never read others.

I suffer from a mild form of SHARE, too. I am one of those people who feel the need to have read the Newbery, Caldecott, Printz and other award winners "before" they are announced. When I haven't done so (which is almost always in one or more category), then I feel SHARE. 
However, I do read quite a bit. For example, in 2011 I read 100 chapter books. If I were to add picturebooks and professional books, I would add at least 100 more.  

For teachers, the key is often not the desire to read but finding the time to read. Teachers have so many things to feel SHAME about, that often, reading children's books gets pushed to the bottom of the list. I have multiple ways of reading that are integrated into my daily lifestyle that allow some time for reading everyday.  

In the next post, I will share the ways I find time to read. In the meantime, I'd love to hear the ways others are finding time to read. Please post your thoughts in the comments section and I will include them in the next post.

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