sowing seeds of change
reenvisioning the joy
of learning in philadelphia
As CLI’s Early Literacy Specialist Jara Zwolak walked the halls at Benjamin B. Comegys School in the Kingsessing neighborhood of Philadelphia, she saw children’s work featured at every turn. The displays outside each classroom are bursting with color, content, and connections.
The children at this elementary school are clearly being seen and supported through instruction that allows them to navigate their identity while being given an opportunity to connect with joy and hope. Jara knows that with the targeted support teachers receive from trained specialists like herself, the literacy instruction the children receive is not only cultivating and creating strong readers, but also helping them to develop a positive sense of self.
In one first-grade classroom, all the children know the eraser as “The Fixer,” and that their teacher will reinforce excellence in their writing when working towards any objective.
Children are engaging with Wendy Ewald’s book, “The Best Part of Me: Children Talk About Their Bodies in Pictures and Words,” in a second-grade classroom. They are candid in sharing the best part of their physical selves while telling stories of identity, interest, and love for family.
Jara sees a child in a third-grade classroom exploring content through journaling, sharing his thoughts, ideas, and perspective.
In all these classrooms the same story is unfolding. Children are learning the power of words. They are learning that telling stories is an innately human experience that creates in us a sense of belonging and connects us with others.
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