In Patrick Finn’s Literacy with an Attitude, Finn describes what he terms
“Roadville”- your quintessential small town. Actually Shirley Heath describes it and Finn
simply recycles it, but hey who’s keeping track. In “Roadville”, which is clearly named
after some sort of road, the children are taught to ‘sit still and listen’, as Finn says.
Let me just get this off my chest now. “Roadville”, as an ideal, seems completely
stereotypical, overly simplistic, and blatant. Finn sees relevance in describe menial details
like fresh blueberry muffins in the oven, patches in overalls, and yee haw bible humping,
but sees no importance in offering any sort of alternative. Yes, we get it: conformity is
big in rural areas. But an exception must exist. And yet Finn deals almost exclusively in
Anyways, my education couldn’t be farther from “Roadville.” Despite growing up
in what I would describe as a working class suburb, I did not receive the same education
as the vast majority of kids in my neighborhood or school district. I was exposed to an
entirely different world of literacy, and it has made all the difference in my life.
When I was six, I was accepted into what was called “Enrichment”- my school’s
version of the gifted education program. There were four of us pulled aside twice a week,
usually for an hour or so, to participate in specialized activities that taught us in a manner
much different than the rest of the children our age. At first, it was mainly word games,
logic puzzles, history lessons and discussions, strategy games, field trips, etc.
It was fun for us; I loved it, at least. It formed a bond between those of us in the