RCOstaff@rcowen.com 914-232-3903 or 800-262-0787

Hal Schmid

Water Water Everywhere

Water Water Everywhere appeared at the end of a long day on the Flathead Indian Reservation spent observing exemplary elementary teachers providing reading instruction to first and second graders and Reading Recovery teachers working with struggling readers.  The teachers were impressive, but the emergent readers were inspirational. 

It was evening when I left St. Ignatius Public Schools.  Janitors had taken over the halls.  Stopping at Highway 93, I looked to my right and witnessed the last rays of sunlight striking the snowcapped summits of the Mission Mountains.  Storm clouds framed the brilliant white scarps with charcoal and steel-blue colors and splashes of creamy pastel and salmon pink. 

I sat a long time admiring the beauty of the Mission Valley before turning onto the highway.  Driving slowly, viewing the mountains in my rearview, my attention finally shifted homeward and I accelerated as I crossed Mission Creek.  I looked down at the water and, before I reached the top of Ravalli Hill several miles ahead, Water was composed.

Children in the rural Mission Valley—indigenous and non-indigenous—grow and learn with an appreciation for the natural world.  They reach out and touch it.  They share a connection to it.  Water provides them with more than a simple portrayal of the water cycle.  It provides an alternate cognitive framework.  The glass wall of scientific objectivity shatters when the child-reader is subjectively jumped into the storyline. 

However, the child isn’t the endpoint.  The story isn’t linear.  It’s circular and interconnected, planting seeds for a reciprocal relationship with water.  Originally, the last line read: “Oh-oh.  Got to go make water!”  That antiquated expression acts like an afterthought, serves as a humorous pay-off, and the child-reader is at once immersed and participating in the water cycle, the natural world, and the joy of literacy learning.

To read this FREE eBook, click on the Book Details button below.