Sister and I are the lucky two who get to launch the Healing Species Literacy Project at a Lexington One Elementary School. I am finding that Second Graders might be the best audience on the planet, but maybe it is because I show up with a dog. Never before have I felt SO welcomed, popular or gorgeous–yes, they are generous with the compliments AND the fan mail. I watch these little people race to hold the door for me, carry my bags and drag over a chair for reading time. “Katie” whispers that she wants to sit in my lap. “Mathew” makes a list to remind me of who gets to fill Sister’s water bowl. “Marcus” asks me to be his mom.
Everyone needs to see the Literacy Project in action. These kids are learning and retaining new vocabulary. They discuss Cause and Effect in literature. They write poetry. Because they understand empathy, they feel brave enough to share private things with the class:
“I need help tying my shoes.”
“I still need training wheels with my big bike.”
“I live with my Grandmother.”
Week after week, I watch these kids take risks, challenge and support one another and make connections. I encourage them to have awareness, to be an advocate, to trust their gut. Instead of straight A’s, we celebrate acts of kindness. We decide that we would not want to live in a world where everyone is the same. I trust them with my own private truths:
“Ms. Amy can not jump rope.”
“Ms. Amy has trouble remembering right from left.”
They reassure me that I am not alone. It’s good company.