Welcome to Thinking Beyond the Book, a space to explore ideas and wondering about literacy and teaching and learning. In this space, we can be fearless and intentional with our beliefs about literacy and teaching and learning. Here is an excerpt of a speech I delivered for the 2016 Convocation at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania. I hope that it inspires you to engage as a learner with this blog.

“When you were a very young child you actively engaged with learning like a Warrior. You did this subconsciously. You explored and learned about the world through your senses. Let me introduce you to a fearless and intentional future Warrior, my grandson. He is 6 years old. He is a tactile learner which means his preferred way of exploring and learning is through touch. Touch helps him understand the world. This summer his parent took him on a cruise. While on the cruise ship they were on an elevator with a very elderly couple. As they exited the elevator my grandson reached out and touched the elderly woman’s hand. His mother asked him why he touched the woman’s hand. He replied in a nonchalant 6 yr. old voice, “I never saw an old person before, Mom and wanted to know what they feel like.” Before this encounter with an elderly person, he thought that when you get old you die. That was how he understood the aging process. However, this elderly woman challenged his belief. His response to the challenge was to fearlessly reach out and touch the woman with the intention of clarifying his belief about the aging process. He wanted to make sure she wasn’t dead.

I tell you this story to stimulate memories of when you were a young child who approached every situation without judgements or limitations. The young child who did not let anything stop him/her from solving problems or taking on challenges. A Warrior. That young child, now a young adult…you…will

Be fearless to be different and intentional to find your passion.

Be fearless to be adaptive and intentional to learn something new or relearn something from a different perspective.

Be fearless to make critical observations and intentional to ask questions because questions are catalyst for change.

Be fearless to seek solutions to challenges and intentional to follow through on the implementation of the solution.

Be fearless to collaborate with others and intentional with a plan to resolve conflict when it arises.

Be fearless to be an effective communicator and intentional to understand the power of your voice and words to make a difference at in your community and the world.

Someone or something inspired your fearlessness and intention. Hold on to that fearless and intentional inspiration. Let it act like an inner compass guiding your words, thoughts, and actions.”

I am excited to engage with you as we think and learn together!