I have had the privilege of being out in the community to share my storybook with students at schools, children at play centers, and at a children's museum. It has been a pleasure for me to engage with these children and talk about books, reading, writing, and story telling.
The children have offered up amazing insights, encouraging words, and treasured moments. One of these moments occurred when a student immediately noticed one of the little jokes I included in my storybook about the main character having ants in his pants. It was gratifying to see the student pick out the small details that I labored over in my story telling.
The main reason I have had such success in these setting has been due in large part to the teachers that have let me come into their classrooms, be a part of their day's programming, and have guided the sometimes lively classroom discussions.
I always appreciated my teachers when I was a child, but seeing them in action as an adult has given me a whole new appreciation for all that they do within every moment of their day. I was so impressed with how they help keep focused children as young as 3-4 and teach them how to ask questions, how to talk to each other and other adults, and how encouraging they were to each child. It amazed me how much skill it takes to help students be fully engaged.
These reading and speaking events have been a learning experience for me on so many levels. I have learned how to communicate with larger groups of people which has been a great area of growth for me since I tend to be rather reserved, to shy. It has helped me learn better how people receive the stories that I have to tell and has helped me learn more about the whole process of our shared stories.
One of my favorite parts of these speaking engagements has been seeing these fabulous teachers/leaders in action, watching them instill confidence, skills, and leadership in these children who will one day be leaders themselves. I hope I have been as much of an encouragement to all of them as they have been to me.
I love being able to share my love of reading, writing, and storytelling. I really think that when these skills are honed from a young age it truly helps develop people as leaders-whether they become future teachers, community leaders, or leaders on a larger scale, they will have the skills to be a leader in their own lives and that is one of the greatest gifts we can help instill in others.