My Favorite Pastime becomes a Career Possibility: Making a Contribution to Children Learning to Read

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


With a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and an interest in children’s literature, I entered the Critical and Creative Thinking Program searching for a career direction. As the mother of five grown children, my employment background consisted of a sampling of mixed business experiences. Unsure of where my future career would lead, I explored my interest in helping children learn to read and I discovered that my favorite past time was important to me. I took time to reflect and appreciate having read stories to my children. I found my desire to illustrate stories I once wrote is a realistic and reachable goal in my life. My Synthesis is an account of the journey that brought me to the place where I recognize that I have a career possibility. I have included research from class assignments and work experiences inspired from CCT. While I have never earned an Early Childhood Educator’s degree or a Reading Specialist’s Certification, I am educating others about how to teach children to read. Working as a substitute teacher, I found students in all grades who did not know how to read, and became concerned about who would teach them to read. Inspiration and motivation behind my class work is explained philosophically and through my understanding that ethics in children’s literature is important to me. My instinct to participate in promoting ways to help children learn to read by reading to children is supported with research from professionals in the field. Innovative ideas include the things that are being done technologically to help children learning to read. My journey out of the classroom and into a professional storytelling experience for a children’s production company is highlighted. I give a glimpse of the increased interest in literacy through science, medicine, and politics to establish the significance of learning to read. The idea that learning to read and reading promotes healthy brain development is introduced. Then my synthesis goes on to explain in detail how parents and educators can help children learning to read from the “No Child Left Behind Act” and its Reading First initiative. My Synthesis wraps up with my concept of the art of storytelling and reflection upon how to establish myself as a writer and illustrator. I give an example of how focused storytelling stimulates thinking for writing, revising, illustrating, language, and reading. Then, I show how I have developed a balanced lifestyle for myself through organizing my time and managing a structured pattern of writing, reading, research, revision, photography, drawing and editing. Finally, an explanation of the importance of giving story perspective and revision is described in the sections of my step by step work on a story I wrote and revised, “Adrian’s Mayflower Adventure.” Three completed children’s stories are in the appendix of this Synthesis. My future career path is left open as I have found I am leading my way, taking steps, and focusing on an interest that others may share as we look to the future hopefully.


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