Tag Archives: kids

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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Filed under General thoughts, Proficient Readers, Reluctant Reader

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

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.

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?

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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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Filed under Community building, Early & Emergent Readers, General thoughts, Pre-Readers (Snuggle Books), Proficient Readers, Reluctant Reader

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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Filed under Early & Emergent Readers, General thoughts, Pre-Readers (Snuggle Books), Proficient Readers, Reading Programs, Reluctant Reader