Thursday, September 8, 2022

International Literacy Day

Happy Friday!

We made it--but it wasn't that hard. Monday was a holiday for many of us. It's nice that the world feels back to work right along with me now. 

Thursday of this week is International Literacy Day with a theme of Transforming Literacy Learning Spaces; Exploring Possibilities and Opportunities. It's fitting that our Poetry Friday friend, Carol, is hosting our round-up this weekend at Beyond Literacy. She's a pro!

I was mulling over the word literacy for today's post. I looked up the definition at UNESCO's site and at Merriam-Webster. As a middle school librarian, I am always looking for opportunities to grow a student's literacy. It's tough these days. I've had to select my literacy go-tos carefully.  This is difficult with some adults today seeking to control what feels like an uncontrollable world by banning books for young people.

ILD graphic created for my school from UNESCO pics

One of my go-tos is author, poet, and Youth Ambassador for Poetry and Literature, Jason Reynolds.

Mr. Reynolds is exceptional at the descriptors in his title. He has additional charisma for connecting his passion for literacy to others.

This is what Reynolds discusses in the article below--so elegantly expressed as you see-- that I found a poem in his words.

Jason Reynolds

I don't want you
to lead a reluctant life
    Engage with language!

Make the work
that work needs to live somewhere.

Understand that with just
a few words--
everything you are looking 
for--the secret to not boring
a conduit to wholeness
permission to be uncertain.

Bearing witness 
to your insecurities--sometimes
empathy has to do with
empathy of self.

Feel less alone
more emotionally strong
diligence and persistence--
could impart conscious.

Be excellent at it.

words found by Linda Mitchell 9/9/22

I hope that by reading posts of Poetry Friday blogger friends you'll appreciate your opportunities to grow even more literate.

Let's figure out how to grow literacy for others at home and around the world. It's a job for poets!

There's a new poem on Star's padlet inspired by this interview of Jocelyn Bell Burnell.


  1. You mined inspiration from inspiration, Linda. My thoughts are with all of you school librarians and teachers, trying to give children the chance to form healthy minds through reading!

  2. My eldest daughter is a librarian — the struggle is a tough one, for sure. I love everything you found here, Linda, especially, "I don't want you to lead a reluctant life" and "Make the work that needs to live somewhere" and "permission to be uncertain". Thanks for this!

  3. Empathy of self! Permission to be uncertain! What a wonderful speaker he is. Thanks for taking us on your/his poetic thought process.

  4. Excellent job with your found poem!! I get so upset whenever I hear about more books being banned. Thanks for everything you do to help promote literacy. ~ Jama

  5. Jason Reynolds is a literary hero! I love that he is serving another term as Ambassador of Young People's Literature. Your poem gathered the best words from his speech. I am interested in the mechanics (technology) of how you did the image we see of your process.

  6. Yes, Jason Reynolds is a light in all of our recent literacy explorations. I am sorry that he was not around when I was teaching. I love that you 'found' words from him for your poem, Linda. On our National Literacy Days, we had a reading slumber party with piles of books to explore and a visit from the younger buddies so we could share with them, too. It was a special day. It is so hopeful to imagine, at last, every child seeing themselves in a book: "Bearing witness
    to your insecurities".

  7. Yes to Jason Reynolds! Yes to literacy! No, not ever to banning books and controlling what students read. The found poem is brilliant!

    1. The anonymous is me. I am hating how hard it is to post comments of late.

  8. Brilliant condensation/repurposing of Reynolds' message! Hooray for more literacy!

  9. Linda, I have known Jason since his first days of coming to NCTE. Kwame Alexander introduced me. He was a young upstart, brilliant, and soft-spoken back then and look at him now. I am so thrilled you used his writing to find words that are inspirational for students and teachers. Love this line: permission to be uncertain. The placement of all his words into a found poem is one to hold on to this school year.

  10. I caught up on your impressive star padlet.

  11. Love this found poem! Jason's words are always powerful!

  12. Poetry proves a ready door to literacy.

  13. Mighty words by Jason Reynolds and you! I love "permission to be uncertain," thanks for carrying this torch forward Linda!


Friendly, positive comments and feedback are always welcome here. Please let me know I'm not just whistling in the dark!