I am of the typewriter generation. I have vivid memories of mentally commanding my eyes to focus ahead while trying to accurately comply with the teacher’s sleepy, monotone, rhythmic commands to type individual letters and punctuation marks. Progress was made in increments, and I can still type accurately without looking at my fingers as a result of the hours of practice.
A wrench was thrown into my accuracy and speed when I discovered that putting two spaces after a period is no longer considered correct. The person who shared this with me went so far as to say, “It’s an old-fashioned typewriter thing to do and completely unnecessary in our electronic, word-processing age.” Thanks, younger generation.
It was amazing how hard it was to make this tiny shift. Putting two spaces after a period was so deeply ingrained in my muscle memory that it was quite daunting to form a new habit. I finally did it, but it was a hard-won victory.
The point? We are working in our classrooms to build stamina and behaviors of independence. We must support, guide, model, and build in the increments that allow students to be successful. If we are unwavering in our commitment, our students will build strong muscle memory for reading to self that will be with them for life. And that is a habit and skill that will never be out of date.