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Thursday, October 29, 2020

What if learning to read was a quest?


How I became a Man of La Mancha?

When I was eight years old, I was at the library with my grandfather. The library was his church, his place of hope, peace, and wonder. He would read at his favorite table, with all the other old men. Old men from every corner of the world. They came in all colors, accents, faiths, and they love to debate, laugh, and read world news.
I would sit on the floor doing my homework. This was our routine, He read, every read, and everyone talked about what they read with each other. Those old men talked as if everything in the world depended on the words they were reading. I thought it the norm for old men to hang out at libraries and debate everything they read. Years later, I realized their common threads were they were immigrants, union members, and war veterans.
One day, the old man asks me. What are you reading in school? I said I don't know, but all the books are about Ted and Sally, and their dog spot.
He said let me see your book?
He said oh this is bad, who are these kids, they don't look like any kids I know, and who lives like this? He passed my reader to the other old men, they all agreed this was all wrong, the kids could not be real kids. No one lives like this.
I did not understand it, so I asked what do you mean Grandad?
He said look little Jess? These clothes are all wrong, too clean, too neat, and the games they one around here plays like that.
Then, he said come with me, he walked over to the roller deck files, wrong down a title. We found the book on the shelves. He pulled down one heck of a thick book, he looked at me and said this is what you should be reading. Don Quixote The Man of La Mancha....he hands it to me.
I counted the pages over 800 pages, I said this is too big, too many pages, too many words, and there are no color pictures in it Granddad. This is an old man's book, not a kid's book. I like Ted and Sally.
No one likes Ted and Sally. I don't want you to read it alone, there no fun in reading alone. We shall read it together. We call it our quest. I had no idea what the word QUEST meant, but to say no to that old man was not in me.
So, the quest began, and I found myself over the next two months becoming another Man of La Mancha. I also found myself laughing, talking, and telling every kid I knew about Don Quixote and his faithful squire Sancho. I loved Sancho and I loved reading with that old man. Truth be told I often would read no more than a paragraph, and often struggle through that, but then he would take over....and my mind would fly away to La Mancha. He vividly illustrated the adventures of those two men of La Mancha. He painted with his hands, arms, feet, facial expressions, and words. He was a master storyteller who weaved it all, bringing every adventure to life. Often asking me what I thought...asking me an 8-year-old boy what he thought. I lived in a world of children are seen, and not heard. He gave me a voice.
Two years before he died we went to see Peter O'Toole play Don Quixote....our mind flew away to La Mancha in that movie house.
Some teachers focus on letters, words, and sounds. I focus on giving voice to young readers. I studied with the best literacy researchers and educators, giants in the field. They enlighten me, but, that old man who never graduate high-school, left school in the 6th grade. He gave me a voice and giving readers a voice makes them life-long readers.
We found ourselves, impossible dreamers,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
CCSU Literacy Center Director

If you like to listen to the tune I listen to on my morning walk through a gentle rain this morning? Its the Impossible Dream by Peter O'Toole

"To dream ... the impossible dream ...
To fight ... the unbeatable foe ...
To bear ... with unbearable sorrow ...
To run ... where the brave dare not go ...
To right ... the unrightable wrong ...
To love ... pure and chaste from afar ...
To try ... when your arms are too weary ...
To reach ... the unreachable star ..."
"This is my quest, to follow that star ...
No matter how hopeless, no matter how far ...
To fight for the right, without question or pause ...
To be willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause ..."
"And I know if I'll only be true, to this glorious quest,"

Grandad, your grandson is always and forever a Man of La Mancha 

Thursday, October 15, 2020

19 days To The Reckoning Of A Failed Presidency

October 19, 2020 216,904 COVID-19 Deaths 
  Dear, "I'm not responsible" President Trump, the people need a real president. A president who is willing to take full responsibility for our nation's ups and downs. History points to a real President who understood presidential responsibility. President Harry Truman in his 1953 farewell address left a message to every future president. A message your mindset can't understand or accept.

" The President—whoever he is—has to decide. He can't pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That's his job." ~Harry Truman

President Truman kept a sign on his desk in the White House, "The Busk Stops Here". In the past 10 months 216,904 Americans have died from COVID on your watch, and all you have it "live with it". Perhaps the appropriate sign for you is "Blame Everyone Else." You have told the American people over 20,000 lies, so many lies that the press has stopped counting.

Trust me, historians will label you as the worst president ever. Your swamp of Lies, Deceit, Racism, Robber Barron lover, Tax Cheat, and the president who failed to protect the American people. Your portrait shall hang in the darkest cover of the basement in the White House, and never see the light of day.

In 19 days, the people will vote our blame everyone else president.

I have already handed in my absentee ballot, I voted the Tiny Man out,
Jesse The Walking Man Turner

If you like to listen to the song I listened to on my morning walk its Jen Housten's YouTube Parody of Time After Time