One key piece of my own learning this term while blogging for my Web 2.0 course involved my continual search to locate that lost inner blog 'voice'. Did I discover the remedy? If 2 page views on my blog today and the 1 view yesterday are any indication, let's just be kind and say I am "beginning to meet". But I have been thinking, experimenting and reflecting. And thankfully, with blog views this low, I can only go up from here!
So feeling a little guilty this week after reading Will Richardson's chapter on blogs in his book, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms (2008), along with the fact that my last blog post here was some time ago, I have decided to write about this very important topic in such a 'voice'ful way that maybe, just maybe, I'll get my Literacy Lady blog noticed. Okay, realistically, at the very least, maybe it'll help me sort out what I need to do to get my blog read. And I think I am beginning to discover that voice is the one trait that will set your blog apart from all the rest.
Voice brings personality, energy, and perhaps most importantly individuality to your writing. Just ponder this: how many books are there on teaching reading? Personally, I have read quite a few. Why is it then that despite often equally great content some of these books put me to sleep instantly while others keep me awake at night with grand inspirations of becoming a better teacher? This summer I fell in love with Donalyn Miller's book, The Book Whisperer (and even blogged about it one day here so it must have been inspiring). I thought hard about what separated Miller's book from all the other books about teaching reading: Why did I love this book? Why did I recommend it to colleagues and write about it in my blog? Voice. Miller's voice was real and authentic. I felt like I knew her, who she was and what she believed in. I loved the way in which she honoured her readers and their backgrounds; she acknowledged that many of her readers were still covering the 'whole class novel' but she didn't judge; instead she gently nudged. Like many of you who may have also read and loved her book, I wanted to teach next door to Mrs. Miller.
Bottom line, Miller understood the importance of establishing her voice through her writing.
According to Culham's scoring guide (2006) for the trait of voice, a strong use of voice can be identified when:
D. Expository or persuasive writing reflects a strong commitment to the topic by showing why the reader needs to know this and why he or she should care.