Making Failure My Fuel

One of the challenges about provide access to literacy is access needs to be provided everyday over the course of years. I guess this would be the definition of building a habit. This habit needs to be built for adults and students because in most cases students can't learn to read alone (in all honesty, there isn't much we can do alone). Maybe this is why 60% of US 4th graders aren't proficient in reading.


During the first year of The Indy Learning Team, Chadwick Gillenwater (aka Professor Watermelon) and I walked out of a community center after a session that did not meet our goals, in other words #fail. As we stood under the street light he said, "We are going to figure out a way. Think of how many programs come in and give up when things get hard. We aren't going to give up." This was 4 years ago and we haven't given up.


Failure is not something to be ashamed of, it's something to be powered by. Failure is the highest octane fuel your life can run on. You gotta learn to make failure your fuel. - Abby Wambach

The idea of 'making failure your fuel' builds on Chadwick's commitment of never giving up. So in the moments when I feel like what we are doing isn't enough, I try to remember that building habits is hard.


This year we are on pace to give scholarships for over 500 hours of 1-1 Orton-Gillingham tutoring, give away over 1,000 books, over 100 hours of creative writing, regular explicit skills instruction and story times!


Not all things we have tried have worked or reached every student. For the students we have reached, for the student who has a book to read at home to ease the stress of these times, it is enough. AND we will take the failures and make them our fuel.