Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Free E-Book "Building Wings" by Don Johnston, Supports Self-Accommodation and Advocacy

I spent some time this Veteran's Day reading Don Johnston's Story, "Building Wings: How I Made it Through School." I have had an autographed copy for several years with good intentions to read it and it has sat on my shelf waiting for me to pick it up.
We had friends visit over the weekend who have a daughter that could really get a lot out of reading Don's book. She is a middle schooler that struggles with comprehension and needs others to read aloud to her. She gets terribly embrassed and wants to hide her disability. I shared some tools for accommodating print disabilities and in light of their situation, decided it was time for me to read Don's book. I am going to share it with our friends too.

The book is large print and set at a 3-5 grade reading level, so it was easy reading for me but the concepts and issues were laid out to cause anyone reading the book to stop and think. I had to look at my own practice as an educator and reflect on how I support students and their learning. Do I challenge them to reach for higher achievement or do I allow them to settle for the easiest plateau? Don's story caused me to reflect on my own learning in elementary school, first impressions of school, my desire to learn and how that changed over time. I even decided to read it to my first grade son.We sat down last night and I read the first 3 chapters to him where Don shares his kindergarten and first grade years.
My son was glued to the story and had lots of questions. He wanted me to read more but it was time for bed. We talked about his coming to me when he can't learn something and not being frustrated, but rather let the teacher and me help him find the WAY he can learn it.
Don Johnston has a Building Wing's Reader's Theatre Contest that I will share about tomorrow. Meanwhile, check out the book and read it here: you work with children and you have never read it - you owe yourself and your students a good read of this one!

All the best!

Lon Thornburg is an assistive technology specialist and professional development trainer who lives in Oregon and serves 12 districts in 7 counties. He hosts the No Limits 2 Learning Blog and The No Limits 2 Learning Live Talk Show on Blog Talk Radio. He is sharing as a contributing writer on LD LIVE!

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