“I go to church, too” C said as I added the words ‘goes to church’ to CJ’s Identity Web in his tutoring notebook. I was reading Last Stop on Market Street with C, a 9 year old boy I am tutoring in reading this summer.
Earlier in the day, I spent from 11am-5pm exploring my own identity and my racial timeline during Day 1 of the TCRWP Equity Institute** Then I headed over to C’s house for an hour of reading practice. I brought along two picture book treasures by the amazing duo, Matt de la Pena and Christina Robinson. And I had identity on my mind. So I drew a circle for CJ, Nana, Milo, his sister, his mom and C in his notebook and I started our interactive read-aloud.
As we read and discussed together, we added to the webs. On Nana’s we added ‘likes to knit’. After noticing CJ on the last page reading a book while waiting to take the bus home, we added “loves to read’. To Milo’s web, we added ‘rides the subway’ and ‘likes to draw’ and, for Milo’s sister, using C’s words , we added “a cell phone maniac”.
As we read, I discovered that C’s grandma taught him how to knit. That he also likes to draw and read. That his favorite animal is a giraffe and that he loves to ski, golf, play soccer and swim.
Years ago, I would read and point out that proficient readers make connections as they read. A part of the text is just like me or like another text or like something happening in the world. By using the lens of IDENTITY, connections are happening, too. However, these connections feels deeper and more meaningful. Maybe because the parts that aren’t just like me nudge me toward embracing the beauty of diversity and showing empathy.
If you haven’t given it a try, I recommend making your own Identity Web and also thinking about the identity of the characters you find in books.
** Thank you to TCRWP for a fabulous Day 1
FYI: I will be blogging about this whole week of learning in the near future!