Politics of Literacy Essay

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If I Had More Time to Save the World: Reflections of a would-be reading superhero About four years ago, I had a student named Latevin who was habitually sleeping in my class. I called his grandmother, with whom he lived, to speak with her about the problem. Rather than confront him (except to try to wake him), I wrote a note in his journal, "Latevin, I spoke with your grandmother this morning and she doesn't want you to sleep in class either. Please try to stay awake. Love, Ms. Hudson" Latevin never slept in my class again. He was one of those boys from Gardere who others saw as a thug, but who was like a kitten in my classes. I saw this gentle soul who was trapped in a life and environment that was rough and to which he responded with tough defenses. I remained close to Latevin and watched out for him even after he finished my class, but he was expelled from school for fighting shortly before graduation, so did not get a diploma. I had a sweet connection with Latevin and always warned him to be careful. Latevin was shot a week ago and died the following day. Latevin was not involved in a crime during the shooting. He was shot for flirting with another man’s girlfriend. I first encountered Latevin in my Reading Intervention class at a public high school. As a reading specialist, I had small classes, so I knew my students. Since the district had not yet implemented their Literacy Initiative, I had the freedom to teach without scripts or pacing guides, taking the time needed to teach from material that interested my students. I’m sure that I learned more from Latevin than he learned from me. I consider Latevin to be my first “informant” (of the research ilk). Our conversations were often centered on the world of people in Gardere. I cannot explain the trust we had between us, but it was uncommon – a forty-something white, private-school-educated

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