The Skin That We Speak

Today is my last day of school before vacation. This afternoon, my students are putting on their Dr. Seuss plays that they’ve been working on all this month, sharing their Dr. Seuss writing, and then we’ll have a culminating Dr. Seuss party. It should be a good way to wrap up the learning from our Dr. Seuss unit and a nice way to head into vacation.

Last week I read The Skin That We Speak, a collection of pieces on language use in the classroom edited by Lisa Delpit. As a literacy person, this book was fascinating and really got me thinking about how I can explicitly encourage language diversity — even in my largely homogenous classroom. Language is such a huge part of classroom life, but despite its huge role in the classroom, it is often unexamined and unscrutinized. Delpit and the other authors explain how essential language is to identity — language, Delpit says, is “the skin that we speak.” This book really resonated with me and my constant reflection this year on how “everything is curriculum.”

Besides being incredibly interesting, the book is also very well written and accessible. The chapters do not read like scholarly articles and I found myself relishing the time that I set aside to read this work and excitedly jotting things down in the margins. In short, I highly recommend that you check it out if you are a teacher who is even remotely interested in the role of language and identity in the classroom.



2 thoughts on “The Skin That We Speak

  1. Norah April 19, 2014 / 3:01 am

    “the skin that we speak” is such an interesting analogy. I’ve love to know more about what she means by it. Enjoy your vacation! The Dr Seuss work and celebration sounds like fun learning.

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