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06 August 2015 @ 05:58 pm
Lift me up  
As I was making my second drive to North Texas for the week, I had the chance to finish reading ROSE UNDER FIRE by Elizabeth Wein with my ears. I loved CODE NAME VERITY, and this companion book was incredible. I found myself immersed in the time, at the camp with Rose and the other women, railing against the human cruelty of the Nazis, longing for freedom. At the conclusion of the story, there are some chapters that I think of as vignettes. They have to do with flight, a common theme in stories dealing with slavery, imprisonments, captivity. The chapter entitled LIFT talked about taking off from our ground, becoming buoyant.

The connection to reading was immediate for me (not a surprise to those who read this blog regularly, I suspect). Here are a couple of definitions of the terms to ponder while I work my way around to the connection between flight and reading.

In science, buoyancy is an upward force exerted by a fluid that opposes the weight of an immersed object. Lift is a mechanical force. It is generated by the interaction and contact of a solid body with a fluid (liquid or gas).

Okay, let's put science and flight aside for now and talk about lift and buoyancy in terms of reading. Imagine a reader so immersed in the act of reading, that he or she is transported from the chair or the floor or the bed. He is suddenly in another time. She is on another planet. He might be experiencing something joyful; her experience might be frightening. But the times and places and experiences are visceral. And they serve to lift the read, to buoy her or him, to make them turn to another book and another and another, rising higher. The ascent is not in terms of levels and lexiles and page counts. The surge is toward more and more books.

Do we act as "wings" then: either the wings on a plane that assist in lift or water wings that assist in buoyancy in the water? Do we lift readers by providing them choice, opportunity, access? Do we make them feel buoyed when we listen to their response, their interpretation, their evaluation?

As we all return to classrooms, these are some of the questions I pose for myself. Can I fashion my courses so that I assist in lift and buoyancy?
 
 
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