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Literacy and Love Last: Darcie, One of The Benson Kids

Literacy and Love Last: Darcie, One of The Benson Kids

March 30, 2015


March 30, 2015


Dear WinkWorld Readership,

Much of what I know about teaching and learning, I learned from The Benson Kids in the 1970s and 1980s.  When I think of these kids, I am reminded of Paulo Freire’s comment: “Education is radically about love” (Wink, 2011, p. 2).

Read one of the stories about The Benson Kids.

However, tonight’s story about Darcie, one of the Benson Kids, is inspired by the story I heard this afternoon regarding a precious little neighbor girl, who sobs after a story of a little puppy. However, as you know, she immediately wants to hear it again.

Literacy and love last, as we see in this short story of Darcie, which is dedicated to the memory of Roxanna, one of the Benson Kids, who, only today, left us way too soon.

Where The Red Fern Grows

“’Lil Ann’ died peacefully yesterday,” Darcie said to me when I arrived to visit her after an absence of decades. When she greeted me with those words, we both immediately knew the literary reference, although years had passed since I read Where the Red Fern Grows to Darcie and her fellow 8th grade classmates.

Simultaneously and instantaneously, Darcie and I were carried back to the final scene in the book, when ‘Old Dan,’ the trusted hunting dog, died after saving Billy from a mountain lion attack. In the story, ‘Lil Ann,’ the female hunting dog, died within a few days of a broken heart. That fictional scene was so sad for me, that I was not able to continue reading aloud to the class. Fortunately, another 8th grade student jumped up from his desk to read the final pages of the novel to his classmates, Darcie, and me. Tears and silence prevailed, as none of us wanted to re-enter reality.

And, now here I was reconnecting with this former student, the day after her own beloved ‘Lil Ann’ had died.

Literacy and love last, indeed.

To read more about Darcie’s life today, see Changed Horse.

Read a summary of Where the Red Fern Grows.


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