For half a second today I thought I might have the opportunity to introduce Debbie Miller at the Reading Recovery Conference North America (Yes, I know I’m a little nutty, but in a good way!). She was the second keynote speaker and for some reason there was no one scheduled to introduce her (big oversight!). Being me, I was of course in the second row very close to the podium. When I heard her wondering aloud if anyone was coming to introduce her (since that is what normally happens at a National Conference), I of course, felt the need to volunteer to do it for her. Honestly, I would have gone to get her coffee or any gopher work to help out. (Don’t worry-I do know I am a dork!) As she processes this request, I start planning out what I would say is she says yes. I was also mentally cursing my inability to access technology to both word process and verify information. No matter, I was ready to give a rousing introduction to a wonderful teacher and author.
Alas, she decided she would skip the introduction and just start with her presentation. Here’s what I would have said to the audience if I’d been called upon (or allowed near the microphone).
I could tell you that Debbie Miller taught and learned with children in Denver Public Schools for thirty years before going on to write the internationally known book Reading with Meaning.
I could tell you I know teachers who have read Reading With Meaning so many times that the pages are falling out.
I could tell you that Debbie Miller has continued to stand up for what she knows is right about educating children and has not given in to those who would have educators take an “easier” path.
I could tell you that Debbie Miller’s newest book, Teaching with Intention, was published last year by Stenhouse and that you can still read the book in its entirety online, but that you really need to go buy your own copy and read it from cover to cover. That it is such an amazing book that you won’t want to not be able to write on it, post-it note it, and go back to it again and again.
That Debbie Miller has managed to put into words what so many of us have struggled to describe to those who would take the path of least of resistance in an act of surrender. That the commentary at the very end by Peter Johnston is moving and memorable and that I can only hope we all realize the impact we have as educators.
Instead I will tell you that Debbie MIller is a woman who recreated her classroom in her basement in order to get the essence of her teaching back. Debbie MIller is a woman after all our hearts. Not only have we been lucky enough to have read her work, but today, we get the opportunity to hear her words today.
Let us welcome Debbie Miller. clap, clap, clap………………
I know. Nice daydream.
I also had the opportunity to tell the sales rep from Renaissance Learning that, “No, I don’t want a chance to win a prize.”
“Why you ask?”
Diplomatically answered, “Honestly, I’m not a huge fan of Accelerated Reader.”