The Power of Yet

Reading over the summer has been true indulgence. I am so busy, so involved in thought, the day just slips by around me. Nothing is visible in terms of my work. When my husband walks in around 6pm, nothing has changed. I’m still sitting at the table, books piled around me intently working on my laptop. Sigh, yes I feel a tad guilty. What did I do today? Lots I think. Reading and thinking, to a large extent is not visible and seemingly not accountable. This is one reason I am pushed to write. Making my work accountable: making it real.

My recent read What Readers Really Do by Vicky Vinton and Dorothy Barnhouse #wrrdchat  led me to re examine Peter Johnston’s classic Choice Words.  A huge aha from these books has been the power of  very small words.

Yet…             One of the key points I took away from WRRD was the understanding that proficient readers are capable of tolerating confusion in narratives because they trust they will understand – eventually. They know that the writer isn’t giving it all away in the beginning; the writer has a plan in mind. While readers may not understand the plan at first, they trust they will. They just don’t understand YET. Knowing and trusting that things will make sense in the future drives us on in our stories.

Students and teachers must also learn to tolerate confusion in the learning process. It is tricky, messy work and we must push on, trusting that we will “get it” just not yet.  It is the nature of learning.  The student who struggles has as Johnston put “a history of telling himself stories about being a failure”  and is unlikely to face a new assignment with hope. But the student with the personal narrative of “I haven’t gotten there yet,”  sees learning as a progression. As teachers we need foster the re-writing of our students’ learning narratives to include a “retelling” by the student that imagines success. We may not be there yet, but we have faith that we will be in the future. This drives us forward in our learning.

dinning room table, my office
dinning room table, my office

Gotta go, only three more weeks before students enter my classroom and the FedEx truck just dropped off Donalyn Millers’ The Book Whisperer and Word Nerds by Leslie Montgomery, Margo Holmes Smith and Brenda Overturf! I’m not quite ready, yet.

5 thoughts on “The Power of Yet

  1. Julieanne,
    I have enjoyed learning from you through #wrrdchat (What Readers Really Do), but I am not sure if I am ready to comment YET. For such a little, 3 letter, regularly spelled word, “yet” sure packs a lot of power! I skimmed through some sections of “Notice and Note” (Beers and Probst) today in the hope of linking some deeper understandings. I have a few more hunches, but I am not there yet. This year will be a roller-coaster journey with a bright future as we work on putting our knowledge and learning to test in classrooms. Good thing that we don’t have to know it all YET!
    Fantastic post!

    • Thank you Fran!
      This summer has been an amazing experience learning with you and our WRRD chat group. Who’d thought? The work is challenging, but wonderful. The next word I am thinking about is “hunch.” Next post?

  2. Great post and great response, Fran!!

    I’m about to dive into Book Love and then next on my agenda is #wrrd.

    You’re going to love both of the books that you just received. I read The Book Whisper for the 2nd time this summer, and Word Nerds was SO practical and full of can do ideas for vocabulary.

    Happy reading, thinking, learning, and blogging!


    • Shannon,
      My first time reading the Book Whisperer. It really sets the tone for the beginning of the year. Very inspirational. Love the hands on approach in Word Nerds. I’m thinking about asking kids to google images of words and then try to come up with a kid friendly definition. You will LOVE WRRD. Book Love…umm. Have to check that one out!
      Thanks for your kind words,

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