"Dear Theodosia" is a duet that Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton sing to their newborn children, professing their love for these little people and promising to create a better future for them. It's one of my favorite songs from the musical Hamilton.
The power of letters can be harnessed to encourage the love of reading, particularly in those who struggle.
Beth Sanderson is a big believer in the power of letters. Beth teaches English and is the co-instructional lead teacher at Swanson Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. Every school year, she writes a letter to each of her 105 students, telling them about her own reading and writing life. The students then write back to her, using her letter as a template. Beth says the kids often confess the struggles they have, the ups and downs of reading.
"The magic begins," she says, "when I write individual letters back to each student." Beth handwrites each letter, making them personal and specific to each reader. "Some letters focus on interests," she says, "while other letters simply acknowledge how hard it is for that student to find a reading spark."
Every letter ends with book recommendations and the promise of a longer list of titles as soon as she learns "more about the student as a reader." She keeps a digital list of book suggestions for each child.