Readers Front and Center

libchelle:

A great synopsis of a valuable book which seems to give us tools to help our children not only to read but to understand their comprehension when reading. Whether they understood or misunderstood when reading. I am about to start reading this as I need to assist my 10 year old rather than tell her. Great blog to follow! Michelle

Originally posted on Catching Readers Before They Fall:

readers-front-and-center I just finished reading a new book and now I’m feeling the need to shout about it. You might remember my posts from 2012 about my excitement after reading Barnhouse and Vinton’s What Readers Really Do from Heinemann (click on the 3 highlights and you will go to my past posts.) Dorothy Barnhouse has continued to share her work with her latest book, Readers Front and Center , from Stenhouse. Her premise is that “instead of listening for answers, we should be trying to listen to our students.” And she does exactly that as she takes us with her to each student she confers with.   She believes that if we really listen to our students we will be able to figure out not only what they are comprehending but also how they are understanding or misunderstanding what they are reading. But the biggest thing I’ve learned from her is what…

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This is not another teen, fluffy, love story.


Don’t Call Me Baby by Gwendolyn Heasley

Don't_call_me_Baby

Before you pass over this book because of its title please read on…

This teen novel will be released tomorrow but I was fortunate to read the first 6 chapters and it not only has me hooked due to the great writing but is challenging some of our thoughts on what we as adults share online and how it may affect others …. Yes, I did say this is a teen novel but I think all parents could read this.

Imogene, the central character, is a 15 year old in her last year before high school (it is based in America) and her best friend, Sage, have mothers who blog with very little consideration to the effect they have on their daughters’ lives. Many parents tweet, post on Facebook pictures, comments and other moments of their children’s lives, I know I have! Some people are unaware of the repercussions of this act.

“Nobody should share their life with the World Wide Web.” – Imogene (page 43)

This novel may make kids aware that some information that seems okay at the time to share may, at a later date be one that they regret.  It highlights that in this world of the Internet, privacy and personal space can be violated and how even the people closest to us can be the perpetrator.

The Internet and the tools we use allow easy access to post and share information. We consistently hear how we need to be more vigilant with our teens and their access and use of technology but as this story highlights that, many adults may not have the necessary knowledge in this area or skills to ensure their information is private. How many have Facebook accounts and not checked their privacy settings are in place? I know my husband’s had nothing and so I had to rectify this on the weekend.

The Australian government have a website for kids, teens and parents to get answers and help if needed in regards to digital footprint, digital shadow, cyber safety, cyber bullying etc. This novel, to me is a great way to introduce and discuss the issues that are now part of today’s world.

Looking forward to buying it and hoping once my teenage girl reads it she may realise I am not that bad after all.

Lastly, here is the book trailer. It is great to watch too! In the near future this will be the way books will be promoted and children can get into the fun of doing this too. I will post about how in the near future!

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Connections and Relationships

Solitary Confinement?
Many people consider books to be a solitary hobby but they are most mistaken, books bring people together in so many ways.
• The local play group have a story time, usually amongst lots of noise and crying.
• The public libraries also have baby and toddler story times so as to encourage new or new to the local area mums to meet.
• There are book cafes, book clubs, and books about book clubs (Jane Austen Book Club) which become so popular they become movies.
•There are online book clubs, such as goodreads and LibraryThing.

History to today
The earliest surviving papyrus scrolls are c2400 BC to where books today are virtual (eBooks). Many occupations rely on books, from the writer to the publisher, the book seller and the librarian, the printer and the archivist. Books are anything but solitary.

 

Babies and Toddlers

Children are introduced usually to a book that they soothe their gums with or push under the water in the bathtub. Before they are able to speak most children are read to each night until they are able to read to themselves and don’t want a good meaning parent snuggling up reading to them. Although, one father chose to read every night to his daughter until it was no longer possible, The Reading Promise: 3218 nights of reading with my father, was written by Alice Ozma, the daughter and she reveals a beautiful bond that was treasured through reading. This inspires most parents to attempt this feat but sadly, life gets in the way.

Youth

When children stop, to read a book, they are carried to various places, times, and events. They are only limited by their imagination and this allows them to recharge from the craziness of today’s busyness and demands. They are able to switch off from their real lives and any problems or issues are put to one side so that they are able to immerse themselves into the character in the book. University of Sussex, 2009 study, found that reading for 6 minutes can reduce stress levels up to 68%. Books help children overcome situations, teaching them how to deal with things like bullying or even just how to care for their new pet.

Books are not the answer to all life’s issues but they can take you to a place where no one else has been nor can enter.

Except for this one time…..

Further Reading

.A study of 17,000 people from birth indicates that reading for pleasure improves not just literacy, but maths ability too. And we will soon know whether the effects continue into adult life

New research shows works by writers such as Charles Dickens and Téa Obreht sharpen our ability to understand others’ emotions – more than thrillers or romance novels.
12 Scientific ways reading can actually improve your life.

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Heart-Warming Hannah otherwise known as the time a knock on the door gave me hope for humanity.

Last Saturday morning it was cold and wet. I suppose it is to be expected when you live in the Southern Highlands in NSW, Australia. I was drinking my umpteenth mug of coffee, doing some university essay writing in my pj’s. Everyone else were either lazing about in bed or making their breakfast of toast and hot chocolates.
The house was a mess and the floors were in desperate need of a clean but I was not expecting any visitors and so I was relaxed about the way our home looked. Then to my terror, there was a knock at our door! I was hoping, actually praying, my hubby would answer the door, so I could at least put on some clothes to greet the early morning visitors but NO he stayed in bed, snoring!
With great trepidation, I opened the door slowly, to find a man and a young girl waiting patiently. My stomach sank, I assumed they were going to complain about the kids, dogs or hubby (no one would ever complain about me!) or worse, ask for a donation, as I had only a $50 note in my purse (sometimes I wish ATMs would dispense smaller currencies).
The man spoke first, he asked if I was the owner of the “little book share thingy” on my front verge, I looked over to it whilst nodding the affirmative. The dad introduced himself and his daughter, Hannah, a year 4 student, from a nearby public primary school, and that they live in a neighbouring street. Hannah, he said is a bookworm and loves the book swap. She hoped that I would not be upset as she had created a flyer/information sheet and hoped to do a letter drop, on my behalf. She had a laminated page, her prototype, to show me. It invited, kids, mums and dads, grandparents, in fact everyone to be part of this book swap. The dad expressed that they were worried my reaction could be nasty and angry that Hannah could be this presumptuous.
With tears in my eyes, I thanked her and explained that soon after my hubby put the little library onto our front verge, he had to have an emergency brain operation. Then due to the craziness of life I never got around to doing a flyer. I took solace that books were being exchanged and that several neighbours had left notes thanking me for this community building initiative. This venture act by her was what I dreamed of. This concept was no longer mine, it was taking its own life form. But I never expected a young girl of ten would do something so wonderful.

This is my dream, connecting, encouraging and enriching children’s love of books and highlighting all that is possible through books. Hannah showed me that what I believe and want is a reality, that Children DO Love Books. This has encouraged me to start a kids’ book club in our neighbourhood.

My Library Swap

My Library Swap

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Are classics that important?

My mum had my brothers and I reading classics from an early age.  I was reading Austen, Bronte, Dickens whilst in primary school. I was not an amazing English student but I loved reading and reading classics was all I knew.  I was not allowed to read other novels. So when I was told in my first English class, in high school, we were going to read and analyse a John Steinbeck novel I was thrilled. I had already read Of Mice and Men (written 1937) and I believed that soon we would be reading Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Kafka.  My excitement and enthusiasm were soon deflated when I was given, The Red Pony, a very depressing book, especially for animal lovers.

I now know why I love reading classics. They contain beautifully constructed prose, are filled with information of a world long gone and gives an insight into books and novels that were really a cherished form of art and quite exclusive.

FAST FORWARD 17+ years

I still LOVE reading and as I have stated previously, I have four gorgeous children. I wanted to instill this love of reading, especially classics, but sadly they love every other genre but not classics. They have read one or two but I have found unless I read to them (even my soon to be 15 year old still loves me to read to him) they find it unenjoyable. My children find the prose to wordy, filled with too much description, old colloquialisms and are just “BORING!”.  Modern novels grab the readers attention from the first paragraph, have less adjectives and descriptive paragraphs and are less “wordy”, so I am told by Miss R.

Is this a result of today’s society? The hustle, bustle and fast paced world that we live in? We don’t have time to waste even when reading?

Is it because the other types of media,TV, Computers, DVDs etc, are so engaging and give instantaneous gratification? Classics take a few chapters for one to be engrossed into the story.

Have we, as a society, moved on from these types of books? Has language changed that much?

Are kids today lazier or not as intelligent (if so what has caused this?) and find these types of books too much effort?

My mother thinks it is today’s parents’ fault, and that I am failing as a parent, as we don’t force our children to read the classics. I personally don’t want to force my children to read a book of my choosing.  I do, suggest books I think they may enjoy. I know that they are not dumb so one may skip, flick through a book pretending to read. Even worse they could begin to detest reading if forced to read something that is of no interest to them. So I will never force them to read a classic hoping in time they may choose to read one.

I know my children love reading as much as I do but they enjoy different genres to my favourites.  Which, has led to many interesting and enjoyable dinner table conversations. Which I think is what reading is all about, connecting with others by sharing ideas and thoughts.

 

 

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March into spring with National Poetry Month by Angela Verges – A “novel idea!” or should it be a “poetry idea!”

libchelle:

This morning I came across this blog.  I really love that others are doing and thinking outside of the square.  There are people encouraging  children to read different styles of writing, by creating environments that involve children to participate in the culture of writing. A quote I read yesterday, “to be a good reader you must write and likewise to be a good writer one must read”.  Sadly, I can not remember or find this original post so am unable to acknowledge the author.  These school holidays rather than hearing the “I’m bored”  or spending time doing the same holiday activities, that do get a bit tiresome. We are going to set up a smokey, jazz, poetry type cafe. Where we will all take turns in reciting poetry, even our own attempts in writing, whilst enjoying the special style of food and drinks that is in keeping with the theme. The kids will think I have gone crazy (as my two teens may be too cool for this) but I am sure we will have fun and lots of laughter and memories.

Originally posted on the family that reads together:

Spring is in the air (almost) and it’s National Poetry Month. What will you do to celebrate April as National Poetry Month?

Blog Photo

When my son was in the seventh grade his Language Arts teacher transformed their classroom into a poetry café. Parents were invited to the gala. As I entered the room I was immediately immersed in the atmosphere.

The classroom was illuminated with a small table lamp at the front of the room and faux candles on the tables. Thump thump… thump thump, was the sound of the bongos as one student read his poetry. At the end of each spoken word fingers snapped as a form of applause.

After visiting the makeshift poetry café, I realized how much fun poetry can be for all ages. Celebrate poetry month by creating your very own family café. Each family member can create an original poem or recite a favorite one…

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Literature review commisioned by the Australia Council for the Arts.

The ACA commissioned a review to summarise what is known about Australian children’s leisure reading and to identify a) their habits b) if there are opportunities or barriers to their reading c) who are the key influences d) how does technology affect them e) what is the future trends or issues emerging in research.
The good news Australian kids are similar to the US and UK where there is an increase in children being introduced to other cultural activities and arts but there is a decline in children reading for leisure.
Having books in the family home, young children need to discover the world of libraries from a very early age and they definitely need to have “parents who enjoy reading and encourage their children to read.”
A factor that is disheartening but a reality is that socio-demographics and nationality of parents also influence children and their reading habits.
There was no research on how e-books have influenced if at all the reading of Australian children.
I know with my children, they all have kindles, they love getting a book immediately if they can from Amazon but many new release children’s books are unavailable and so after some nagging I drive them to the local bookstore to procure this must have novel. If they had a choice I believe they would prefer to have the physical book over an e-book.
This study and others highlight that we need to overcome any hurdles to ensure all children have the opportunity to love reading.
Permanent URL to literature review http://apo.org.au/node/38507

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All children are different!

Being a mother of four children, one would expect that I would know by the third child that learning to read for them would be easy and it would not cause so much angst but each child is different. They all have different personalities, likes, dislikes and thus why not different learning styles.

My first child was hard work and I mean hard work! He was a typical boy did not want to sit and learn how to read sight words.  This meant I had to spend so much time and loss of hair getting him to sit down and learn to read. I also was fortunate to have a mum who only had one child and was very eager to do posters with the sight words laminated with sticky dots so we can add them to the poster or play games with. I had a new born baby and learning sight words was like Chinese torture for both he and I.

Miss R taught herself to read and before she started school she was reading basic books and was able to spell all 200 sight words.  She even found sentence construction easy. She was like the character Matilda, in the book Matilda, by Roald Dahl but we were not like that family!

Miss S started school in a different state and missed the crucial year of schooling where sight words and sounding out starts. She is now in year 5 and I still believe she struggles, even though the teachers say she is fine.

Miss M is similar to Miss R and reads with fluency and expression, she is only 8 and my husband and I believe she is the better reader of all four. She also enjoys reading and will be found most times when not playing with her nose in a book.

Now, all four can read but all learnt to read in different ways and now Mr L is the bookworm and is very precious about the care of his books.

So, what is the best way to teach a child to read? Should we be teaching them sight words before they start school, so as they have the advantage over other little ones? Is reading early a sign of intelligence? When is the best time to start reading to your children? Do you need to read yourself to model reading behaviours? What are the better books that children should read? Are some books better than others? Should we encourage or discourage our children to have access to these; classics, modern literature, e-books, audio books, comics and graphic novels?

I hope this can stimulate discussion and ideas to ensure a passion of mine will be a passion of many in the future generations.

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