Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Thank you, Mr. Falker

Author and Illustrator:  Patricia Polacco
Published:  1998
Trisha is a little girl who wants the gift of reading.  She goes to school and impresses the children with her artwork, but all she wants to do is read.  Some of the kids learn in kindergarten, but she knows that 1st grade is when she will learn.  Trisha struggles to read and when it seems like everyone else can already read, she is still sounding everything out.  The children in the school taunt her and call her names and with time, Trisha believes what the kids say.  She thinks she is dumb.  In 5th grade, a new teacher, Mr. Falker, understands Trisha and realizes that she has dyslexia.  He helps her after school every day for 3 or 4 months.  It is after the few months that she is finally able to read a paragraph and understand what she has read.  Mr. Falker was the one person who didn't just look away, but worked to find a way to help Trisha.

This is a true story of Patricia Polacco, the author.  As a teacher, this is the type of impact I hope I can have on even one of my students.  I think this book helps express what all teachers want for their students, especially the struggling readers.  I want to find a way to help my students and make sure they are readers throughout their lives.

This book could teach students about compassion.  The pictures show the pain Trisha felt from not being able to read and from being teased by her classmates.  You can feel her struggling and suffer with her.  Struggling readers, just like the teachers of struggling readers, might also be inspired by this book.  Realizing that a student who really couldn't read until 5th grade is now a famous author and illustrator is inspiring!

Find this book in the library!
Visit Mrs. Polacco's Facebook page.
Listen to Jane Kaczmarek read the book.


Savannah Weaver said...

This is a book that I always kind of feel like is just as much for me as it is for the kiddos. My voice gets shaky every single time I read the last page. I just can't help it. Have you ever read "Pink and Say?" My shaky voice turns into my all-out crying voice on that one.

Sya LaManque said...

I will now have to buy "Pink and Say!" I can't wait to read it if it has that kind of effect.