Diegueño Book Club Redux: “How Lincoln Learned to Read”

lincolnVigorous discussion about teaching and learning is an important part of a vibrant learning community. Teachers often talk about education, and we see the positive impact on student learning as a result. Educators like me join in the conversation, sometimes online (on our district’s SDUHSDchat on Twitter, for example) and face to face (in department meetings, out on supervision at lunch, and over coffee). I love it when I can talk with parents and students too about what and how we learn.

Just before Winter Break a group of teachers and parents and I gathered for our first Diegueño Book Club. It was a lot of fun, and l left with an huge appreciation for the thoughtful and engaged parent and teaching community we have at our school. I also left knowing that a book club was something I wanted to do again.

This time with snacks.

After bouncing a few ideas for books off colleagues and friends, I’m really excited to say that the main course at our next Diegueño Book Club will be How Lincoln Learned to Read by Daniel Wolff.

I blogged about the book before, “Maverick Education,” a lifetime ago when I was at another school, and knew then that it was a volume rich with ideas to discuss.

Wolff begins with Henry Adams’ question: “What part of education has … turned out to be useful and what not?” It’s a question whose answer might surprise some of us, if we mulled it over for a bit.

Wolff then looks at the education, formal and informal, of a dozen Americans including Abigail Adams, Andrew Jackson, Sojourner Truth, and Elvis Presley. This diverse bunch provide much fodder for thought, both about what we teach and how we teach it.

I’m looking forward to hearing from the folks who join me at our Diegueño Book Club, and finding out what they think the commonalities are between these wildly different American educations. I know there will be some great stories from our own experiences, and I’m excited to see how those complement our understanding of the historical figures in the book.

739580_proof_proportional_redraw (1)I’m interested too in talking about the implications Wolff’s ideas might have on how we educate our kids today. Education, at the classroom level,  is a dynamic field (don’t let the critics tell you otherwise), and as Wolff says late in the book: “Whatever the particular circumstances, an American education is going to bear the marks of rebellion.” I see innovative and inspired teaching at Diegueño, and I’m proud to work in an atmosphere that encourages creativity and connections, and even the occasional rebel.

How Lincoln Learned to Read strikes me as a perfect second volume on the shelf of our Diegueño Book Club, one worthy of inspiring that passionate discussion of how we learn.



The next Diegueño Book Club, discussing How Lincoln Learned to Read by Daniel Wolff, will be on March 10th from 5:00-6:30 in the Diegueño Media Center. This gives us time to read the book, mull over the ideas a bit, and think about some things we’d like to talk about together.


2 thoughts on “Diegueño Book Club Redux: “How Lincoln Learned to Read”

  1. I have added the e-book to my tablet, and added the date to my calendar. I look forward to joining the conversation!

    How could we incorporate this into the #SDUHSDchat happening that same evening? Could we do the chat live at the book club meeting? Have follow-up questions based on the discussion earlier? Or is that too ambitious? Just brainstorming….

    • I love the idea of integrating the two, perhaps with a question or two about what books related to teaching and learning have influenced teachers and how. I’m excited to have you join our group. It’s fun, interesting, and a pretty special experience to see parents sitting shoulder to shoulder with teachers and talking about these ideas.

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