March 4, 2016

I have a tender spot in my heart and mind for students learning English. A few years ago, our front sidewalk was the bus stop for the neighborhood school. Usually, I left for work before the students gathered, but one spring morning, as I walked to the car to go to work, I saw a beautiful sight.

A girl, who looked to be in 5th or 6th grade, leaned against my fence. She was alone. Her long brown hair shone in the morning sunshine. Her clothes were plain and her shoes were well-worn. She held a book in her hands. That alone was beautiful. She turned her head to look at me, but we did not speak.  But then, as I pulled out of the driveway, I glanced over and watched as she read aloud from her book. I could tell from the way she moved her mouth that English was not her first language. She was carefully pronouncing each word, working facial muscles, trying on new sounds, intent on her practice. I thought about how proud her teacher would be. I wondered what hopes and dreams she had and knew that her relationship with that book could make the difference.

 

 

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8 comments on “March 4, 2016

  1. What a nice “noticing.” I wonder if I ever did that – just stood somewhere working hard to read a book – wish I could haul back that memory.

  2. Brooke Kinsman says:

    What a beautiful memory! I love the way you described her, all the way down to her well-worn shoes.

    It is, indeed, a beautiful sight to see the relationship between a person and a book!

  3. danahuff says:

    This tugged at my heartstrings. I teach a lot of English language learners myself, and some of them have really worked hard to learn English. What a vivid picture you paint of this girl. I love the image of her reading the book. Beautiful!

  4. What a pretty little memory! I also have a soft spot for English learners. Colleen Cruz calls them “students who are learning to be bilingual.” That is my new favorite expression. It places such value on their languages.

  5. JulieK says:

    Your description of her sounding out the words while reading reminded me of he challenge of learning to read.

  6. Lisa R says:

    This is a lovely piece of writing. After teaching EL for 23 years, this touched my heart as well.

  7. smcninch says:

    Beautiful. I can picture her on that morning, alone but not lonely. Very poignant. Thank you.

  8. A beautiful small moment . so glad you noticed it and later captured it.
    The part about pbserving her facial muscles work at a difficult task was original and touching.

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