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February 22, 2009

The Magic of Letters

Change your life with letters. Did you ever think about the alphabet? The Chinese language has several thousand characters.The English language has only twenty-six characters. Most languages have about thirty to fifty letters or characters.

These letters or characters can change your life. They can make your life more complicated and they can open up options and allow you to express yourself and read the ....

...thoughts of others; those you know and those you will never know.

Knowing how to use and interpret these little marks or squiggly scratches can open doors you never knew existed.

Chameli Waiba of Nepal, learned to read at the age of twenty-one. You can read (or hear) her essay titled "The Magic of Letters" at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100677646.

Among other things she writes "I saw that the number of people learning to read and write was growing — and their lives were improving. I then realized it was neither wealth nor beauty that I lacked, but letters."

Look at how she ends her essay, "Letters have immense power. They have magic. The greatest thing in the world is the alphabet."

Those of us who teach language have something like a sacred trust. We deal with the most powerful human creation on the face of the earth. I encourage you to be both careful and joyful as you share your language with others.

I also encourage you to have your students read (or send their own essay to) This I Believe. You can see the writing guidelines at http://thisibelieve.org/essaywritingtips.html.

I look forward to hearing about your writing and teaching strategies.

About the author of this entry:

Morf has a B.A.from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington and an MAT (Master's in Teaching English) from the University of Washington (Seattle). Morf spent about six years working for a Native American Tribal College, a few years teaching various humanities, English, writing and ESL courses with the community college system in Washington State (including one year as part of a faculty exchange program with The Beijing Foreign Language University). While in China, Morf was briefly a radio host for CRI (China Radio International) and did recordings for the "English can be enjoyable" book and tape series. Morf currently teaches English and writing for a local technical/vocational college with many international students. Morf prefers international and independent films, foods he can't pronounce, music no one else likes and riding his bicycle in unlikely and ridiculous situations.

Morf is also quietly anticipating that unexpected, but lucrative job offer.

Listen, read and speak. Make your new language your own.

Posted by mmorf at February 22, 2009 07:50 PM

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