After reading to 160 schools over the last two years, I can tell you one thing at the beginning of the school year. You may take offense, but here it goes.
All these schools, from public to private to charter to small town to big city to rich in endowments to facing economic literary challenges are all the same.
When that book is open and that story begins and the plot of the story about pirates, or dogs, or elephants, or dinosaurs, kids with powers, or kids facing challenges, unfolds, all these young minds are brought together all the same way.
They all get engrossed in the words, the voices, the sounds, the action, the comedy, the drama.
At that point, we've got them. It's that power of storytelling that unites us all and especially from three to eight years of age.
I noticed this early on in the Reading Roadtrip and with every school visit it would get reinforced.
But alas, I am a mere crop-duster.
I fly in, swooping down to spread the joy of reading, hoping the young minds remain fertile.
The real cultivation is done by the teachers and parents and mentors. They are the ground every day finding the passion behind every lesson.
I admire and envy them. They get to see the growth.
It's a process that begs for more volunteers to help develop reading at grade level.
If you'd like to be a cultivator, please consider volunteering at ARKidsRead.org. Two hours a week and you too will discover how far reaching imagination and thinking can bring hope and joy and wonder into a child's life.
That's the power of a story.