I am happy to be joining Ruth Ayres @ ruth ayres writes and others to celebrate and appreciate the goodness of the past week(s
I have just returned from a trip to Stockholm, Sweden so I’m thrilled to share some of the highlights from this amazing trip on my celebration post this week.
Almost 3 years ago, I was contacted by a highly respected Swedish educational researcher named Barbro Westlund. (I actually didn’t know she was such a well-known person when she first contacted me but later learned is like the David Pearson of Sweden!) She was in Vancouver doing some research for her PhD in which she was comparing Canadian reading instruction to Swedish. She had been visiting several schools in Vancouver and had heard about Reading Power through these visits.
We met, I invited her to a workshop and later she interviewed me for her thesis. My work was cited in her published PhD, eventually leading to my book, Nonfiction Reading Power, being translated into Swedish. I was honored to have Barbro Westlund write the forward. I was then invited by the Swedish publishing company Natur & Kultur to travel Stockholm for a short of a “book tour”, ending with a presentation at the Stockholm teacher’s conference.
Amazing to think how all this unfolded but there it is! The trip was amazing – short and VERY busy but I met some amazing people. (and best of all, my book sold out at the conference!)
Here are some of the highlights from my adventure:
On my first morning in Stockholm I took an early morning walk before my first event. It is a stunning city and I loved the earth colors of the buildings – reds, rusts, browns, terra-cottas, sparkling water and blue skies!
My first “lecture” was at the Pedagog Stockholm. The teachers were all so receptive and warm, taking furious notes and lots of photos of my power point slides.
That night I enjoyed a lovely dinner at Barbro’s beautiful house, where I met some of her closest friends and colleagues. We had a delicious dinner, beginning with a special Swedish appetizer! Dinner conversation about education and teacher training was rich and lively and we laughed a lot! I will remember this dinner for the rest of my life.
My host for during my visit was Nina Danielsson, former teacher who now works for Natur & Kultur Publishing company. She met me every morning and brought me to where I needed to be. I enjoyed every minute I spent with her and feel I left Sweden with a new friend.
On Thursday morning I had a tour of the publishing company and met many people, including Lena Forssen, the executive editor.
I was interviewed for a Swedish educational magazine called Skolporten. I had been told that someone would “take a photograph” for the article after the interview. What they did not tell me was that it was an hour and the photographer must have taken 200 photos! This article will be published in November.
My second “lecture” was at Stockholm University, where Barbro Westlund works. The audience was mostly her colleagues, professors from the education department. The group was small but very interactive and I was able to answer questions about Canadian schools and curriculum. Afterwards, I got to visit their offices, where I met my kindred spirit Eva Söderberg. She teaches children’s literature and her office was filled with picture books! How wonderful to meet someone who loves pictures books as much as I do! She gave me a special English Pippi Longstocking picture book!
Friday was the Läskonferensen (Teacher’s conference) sponsored by Natur & Kultur with a sell-out crowd of over 350 teachers! The building was stunning – a former dance studio in the 1950’s. The conference began with Amanda Hartman, Associate Director of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project in New York, who shared her ideas on best practice in reading and writing instruction. I was very nervous before speaking – so many teachers and I only had one hour (a VERY challenging task for me!) I did my best to share the key concepts of Reading Power by showing very practical and concrete examples, model lessons, share books and a few student samples – all in an hour! Phew! I did the best I could in the time I had and everyone seemed very pleased.
After the conference, I took a late afternoon walk and visited the Old Town – the oldest part of Sweden. It was so beautiful – lovely narrow, cobblestone streets and little shops. I found a Christmas store with little hand crafted decorations and I was in heaven!
I’m now home (wrote this blog on the plane!) The trip went by so quickly – 3 days of travelling for 3 days in Stockholm. The only negative was that I wasn’t able to share the trip with my three “men” but maybe one day I can go back and take them with me!
I am so grateful for this wonderful experience. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible and for all the kindness you showed me while I was there. I hope to return to your beautiful country in the future!