Good Questions: Do geese know how to read?

dogeeseknowhowtoread.jpgI have been cleaning and culling and going through tonnes of stuff of late – and I every once in a while I come across a little treasure. The other day, in the midst of my organizing effort, I found a well-folded page of a yellow legal pad with this scribbled account of a conversation. It is from my pre-blogging days, sometime around 2009:

H: Mo-omm… Do geese know how to read?

(I must admit there is something I just love about the way H can still make ‘mom’ into a two-syllable word)

Me: Hmmm… I don’t think so… No.

H: Then how do they know how to make a ‘V’ ?

Me: Good question… I think it has something to do with aerodynamics and wind resistance… You see, the front…

(H cuts short my explanation)

H: I saw them make a ‘T’ once… and they can write! The sky is like the paper and they don’t run out of ink…


H: They just run out of geese

So… yes… there ya’ have it! I love H’s questions.

H as Captain Kirk in 2009

H as Captain Kirk in 2009

He still asks really good questions…

Sometimes his questions are explorations of a topic in which he is deeply interested and one that he is seeking to ponder and explore from every angle with a beautifully mathematical attention to minutiae – and variations on a theme.

Sometimes his questions are breathtakingly deep and cut to the core or essence of a thing and reveal that he already has an answer and a wisdom that belies his years, and he is just checking his perception, or wanting to share his perspective.

Sometimes H’s questions have me stretching to understand what he is really asking – because his experience is uniquely his and he processes the world and language differently than I. His words may explicitly state a query – but the question underlying that may be quite different and not align with the language, or it might be profoundly metaphorical. Searching to understand his perspective and intended meaning has me working hard to listen and honour and respond in a useful and sensitive manner to my son.

Sometimes H’s questions are those of a delightfully artful young man who is playing with ideas and perspectives and language and possibility… and figuring out the world his own way.

And all of these… every one of them… are good questions!



30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.

©Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism (2013)   

About Leah Kelley, Ed.D.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed, Ed.D., Writer, Consultant, Activist, Speaker, and Educator, working with Teacher Candidates at UBC. Authors blog: 30 Days of Autism. Projects support social understanding, Neurodiversity paradigm, Disability Justice, and connecting Disability Studies in Education(DSE)to Educational Practice. Twitter: @leah_kelley Facebook: 30 Days of Autism: Leah Kelley
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8 Responses to Good Questions: Do geese know how to read?

  1. Marilyn says:

    Love that you share his world and that you see so deeply


  2. colinb897 says:

    “They just run out of geese”. I love that whole H thought pattern. It works.

    Brought to mind a Johnny Cash song I am fond of. “Talking Leaves”:


  3. Alana says:

    That is a wonderful story. Also, it reminds me of a book I used to read (and still do read) called The Dark Lord or Derkholm because there were geese in there that were secretly wizards and I bet they could read too.



  4. 💛🌟💛They just run out of geese 💛🌟💛

    Love this — and watching my kids figure out the world their own way.


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