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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: parenting, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Parent practices: change to develop successful, motivated readers

Oxford University Press is a proud sponsor of the 2014 World Literacy Summit, taking place this April. The Summit will provide a central platform for champions of literacy from around the globe to come together and exchange points of view, knowledge, and ideas. We asked literacy experts Jamie Zibulsky and Anne E. Cunningham to discuss the importance of literacy on this occasion.

By Jamie Zibulsky and Anne E. Cunningham


Being literate involves much more than the ability to sound out the words on a page, but acquiring that skill requires years of development and exposure to the world of words. Once children possess the ability to sound out words, read fluently, and comprehend the words on a page, they have limitless opportunities to learn about new concepts, places, and people. To say that becoming a reader gives one the power to change is an understatement. In fact, attempting to detail the many ways that reading can foster personal growth and development without writing an entire book on the topic is truly challenging!

Children’s capacities to build the many skills required to access text are, to a large degree, determined by their environments. Parents and teachers play a critical role in introducing children to the sounds of words, the print on a page, the ideas and concepts that provide the background for comprehension, and the structure of stories. For these reasons, if we want to ensure that all children have the opportunity to become successful, motivated readers, we need to think about the power the adults in their lives have to change children’s literacy trajectories.

The language and literacy experiences of young children are largely social in nature, and both the environment and the adults that care for them initially guide children’s development. In fact, psychologists point out that language development occurs first as a social act between people and then later as an individual act, as we gradually internalize the directions, strategies, and advice of more skilled others by verbalizing them to ourselves. Similarly, to make sense of the written symbols used to convey any language, children need guidance from the adults in their lives. Talking and reading together with children is a powerful way to help them gain entry to the world of words, and doing so most effectively may require parents to change their current practices.

The kids reading together. photo by Valerie Everett. CC BY-SA 2.0 via valeriebb Flickr.

The kids reading together. Photo by Valerie Everett. CC BY-SA 2.0 via valeriebb Flickr.

Here are some powerful tips that families can use to make shared reading time supportive and effective for young children learning a variety of languages:

  • Let your child take the lead during reading time. We often think of reading together as a time when a parent reads a story to a child straight through, page by page. Instead, let your child take more of an active role by using the pictures to narrate the story, answering your questions about aspects of the book, or sounding out some words independently. This may feel like you and your child are swapping your regular reading roles. And that’s exactly what we want you to do. Even before children are able to read independently, they are ready to be active participants in book reading experiences. Giving them these opportunities helps children build stronger language skills, and provides some insight into their skills and interests.
  • Give your child hints, rather than providing the answer, when he is struggling. This support helps the child solve the problem in a way that allows him to feel competent and to learn from the situation, but also lets the adult to guide the child through the problem-solving process. In addition, it gives him the chance to successfully experience tasks he would not have been able to tackle alone, or that would otherwise make him become frustrated and give up.
  • Identify your child’s strengths, and those reading skills he or she already possesses. Providing experiences that build on the skills your child already possesses will allow her to enhance her learning capacities. If you think about almost any activity you expect your child to complete, you can probably think back to a time when you completed that activity for her. Gradually, over time, she took more responsibility and was able to do more of the task independently. This is not only true for activities like getting dressed and tying shoes, but also for language and literacy tasks, as well as tasks that require memory and concentration.
  • Label the behavior that you want your child to display, and praise it specifically.  Praise and encouragement from parents is a powerful motivational tool. Because shared reading is such a social activity, much of your child’s initial pleasure in reading together may come not primarily from the stories that he hears, but from the joy of sitting in your lap and spending time together. Your child values the time you spend together and will, over time, begin to value the books in front of him and the strategies needed to make sense of them. You can help him build his reading motivation by praising specific skills he displays, like listening carefully, sounding out words, and making great predictions.


Each of these tips helps set the stage for a successful shared reading experience, but may require change on the part of parents to help foster a powerful and engaged reader. These changes, though, help empower children to identify themselves as readers from the time they are young. And this strong foundation prepares them for so many challenges they will face in the future, so doing everything one can to raise a successful, motivated reader is one of the best gifts a parent can give any child.

Anne E. Cunningham, Ph.D. and Jamie Zibulsky, Ph.D. are the authors of Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful, Motivated Readers. Anne Cunningham is Professor of Cognition and Development at University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Education and Jamie Zibulsky is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Learn more at Book Smart Family.

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The post Parent practices: change to develop successful, motivated readers appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. Where were you?

Where were you when you first heard the sound? Good sounds – your husband’s voice, your baby’s giggle, the words “I love you?” Do you remember? Can you picture the scene and surroundings?

I experienced a condensed courtship with my wife because I was briefly called back to service during Desert Storm. I don’t recall the first expression of the four- letter L word in our relationship. I know it came, and stuck. I have said it to her every day for nearly twenty-two years. I say it every night to my girls and sometimes in front of other people, much to their chagrin.

I wish I remembered the first time I said it, though.

I will never forget the first time I heard the word Cancer as it related to my family. I was in the hospital just a week ago when it was introduced to me, while my little girl lay sleeping nearby. The doctor actually used the words “oncological event” before I made him dumb it down for me. Cancer.

I held my wife in my arms as she collapsed into a puddle. Doesn’t cancer affect other families? Why would he be saying this word? I felt an instant dislike for this man, but my mind clouded to nothing. My wife’s head heaved in my chest. I couldn’t think in more than three word bursts. I have no idea how long we stood that way. I was roused only by the sound of a man pushing a cart way down at the end of the hall. The wheel squeaked as he carried out his task and I remember thinking, “How can he be pushing that? Doesn’t he know? It doesn’t matter where that squeaky cart is! Why isn’t he stopping?”

It was then I realized this isn’t everyone’s diagnosis. It is Kylie’s and ours: our family’s, our friends and network of support. But the rest of the world will continue to march on around us.

I will add a link to Kylie’s Caring Bridge at the end of this post because I won’t allow cancer to dominate my writing. It will peak its evil head in from time to time, I have no doubt. But I won’t allow it to take over my life, steal my joy, soil my faith, or crush my little girl.

It took a while to determine the enemy. Until then, we’ve been punching at shadows. Now we start to take it out. We are at the beginning of a long road, but there is hope. Kylie knows what is going on, she is scared. We cried together and prayed. She has decided that this is happening because God must have a really big, great plan for her. I don’t know if I could have gotten to those words so quickly at twelve – she’s just chock-full of amazing.

image

The picture I added is one of Kylie as Annie in her school play a couple of years ago. She is an incredible actress and I can’t wait to see her on stage again.

Because our minds are reeling right now, the verse we’ve been holding onto is Romans 8:26

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Thank you for your prayers and words of encouragement, friends. I have to go now, the bell just sounded for round one…

 

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kyliemyers

 


11 Comments on Where were you?, last added: 4/10/2014
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3. Like Mother, Like Daughter…I See the Thoughtful, Burgeoning Writer in Her

AA033461Dalliance
By Whitney Gould
Reprinted with Permission, Copyright Whitney Gould, 2014, All Rights Reserved

I am Soul; I move like a needle and thread.
I pierce the crisp air with elegance and grace.
You breathe me in as I dance.
You breathe me out as I dance.
The gentle breeze is my partner and I follow his lead.
Your soft whisper interrupts my routine.
I move about the room like a paintbrush
dancing across an endless canvas. There is no paint.
You want my warmth so I blanket you with my dewy kiss -
as I escape the walls you have entrapped me in.
I dance.
I dance until I can dance no more.
You breathe me in.
You breathe me out.
My endurance fades; I leave barely a trace -
only the remnants of my dewy kiss.
You thirst for my Body; you can’t wait until I die.
Handle with caution as I can burn.
Blow me away and I will soon return.
I am Soul; I move like a needle and thread.

My daughter, Whitney Gould, is a Sophomore at Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, California. Whitney emailed me this poem to get my take on it. She said she had to write a poem, due tomorrow, from thee perspective of another person or object. Her poem perspective is from the steam of a coffee mug.


0 Comments on Like Mother, Like Daughter…I See the Thoughtful, Burgeoning Writer in Her as of 4/9/2014 9:13:00 PM
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4. Tonia’s “Upside Down Day” Gluten-Free, Vegan Pancakes

I have to get creative when making meals because I’m allergic to both gluten and egg. It’s important to know that I’m not on some vanity diet–rather this kind of cooking has developed into a creative, culinary exploration in science. SO if you are vegan, gluten-free, or egg-free…these pancakes are for you! Even if you’re not, I’m betting you like my latest invention, “Upside Down Day” Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes.

Tonia's Kale SmoothieFor Lunch:
In your juicer, juice two large handfuls of chilled fresh, organic kale, two stalks of celery, two green apples, two large basil leaves, and two large bunches of grapes picked off the vine. Serve the juice with a refrigerated celery stalk to keep it cold, or drink it down. Preserve Pulp in refrigerator for your pancakes. Run to Whole Foods and buy the Gluten Free Pancake Mix and the Egg Replacer. Pancake mix

For Dinner:
“Upside Down Day” entails serving breakfast for dinner. Hubby is never home when we celebrate “Upside Down Day.” While he is a fairly good sport, I’m pretty sure he would suck all the life out of the occasion and offer to make his fabulous homemade tacos instead. (Plus he’s not invited because it’s imperative he never witness my slothfulness firsthand). If you haven’t figured it out already, “Upside Down Day” translates to “Lazy-Mom-Doesn’t-Feel-Like-Really-Cooking-Tonight.” We used to celebrate the event more frequently when my daughter was little and I’d serve up bacon and eggs for dinner. “Upside Down Day” is a rare, special occasion in the Gould house now that I can no longer eat eggs due to my allergy.

Ok. I digress. Back to making “Dinner”:
Mix the gluten free pancake mix following box instructions, except substitute the egg for the egg replacer (following those box instructions as well) and also substitute the milk with VANILLA Almond Milk or VANILLA Soy Milk. Mix in the leftover pulp from your lunchtime smoothie. Add more vanilla soy or almond milk to play with your desired thickness. Pour onto a HOT, lightly greased griddle. I used canola oil because I was out of rice bran oil, my new “go to oil” because it cooks at high temperature points. You know your griddle is hot enough if a drop of water dances off of the surface. Pour your batter onto the griddle. My pancakes poured thick and imperfect, and I quite liked them that way even though they took longer to cook. If you like yours thick too, avoid burning them by turning them frequently once the batter has set. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the batter if you have OCD and prefer a perfectly round pancake.

Pancake mix eaten pancakes Pancakes

I served ours the conventional way, with Earth Balance (soy butter) from Trader Joe’s with pure Canadian maple syrup.

Enjoy!


0 Comments on Tonia’s “Upside Down Day” Gluten-Free, Vegan Pancakes as of 4/4/2014 1:33:00 AM
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5. Tonia’s “Upside Down Day” Gluten-Free, Vegan Pancakes

Pancakes. I took them for granted when I was a kid. Now that I am all grown-up with adult onset allergies to both egg and gluten, pancakes could have become a product of my past like so many other foods I previously enjoyed.

I’m telling you all this because I want you to know I’m not on some vanity diet. No, I really do have to get creative making meals due to my allergies. So cooking, for me, has developed into a creative, culinary exploration in both sustenance and science. All that said, if you are vegan, gluten-free, or egg-free…these pancakes are for you! Even if you’re not deploying a similar diet, I’m betting you like my latest creation, “Upside Down Day” Gluten-Free Vegan Pancakes. My pancakes involve two meals: lunch and dinner.

Tonia's Kale SmoothieFor Lunch:
In your juicer, juice two large handfuls of chilled, fresh organic kale, two stalks of celery, two green apples, two large basil leaves, and two large bunches of grapes picked off their vine. Serve the juice with a refrigerated celery stalk to keep it cold, or drink it down. Preserve your pulp in the refrigerator for your pancakes you’ll make later. Run to Whole Foods and buy the King Arthur Flour Gluten Free Pancake Mix and Egg ReplacerPancake mix

For Dinner:
“Upside Down Day” entails serving breakfast for dinner. Hubby is never home when we celebrate “Upside Down Day.” While he is a fairly good sport, I’m pretty sure he would suck all the life out of the occasion and dangle his fabulous homemade tacos in front of our kids’ noses instead. (Plus he’s not invited because it’s imperative he never witness my slothfulness firsthand). If you haven’t figured it out already, “Upside Down Day” translates to “Lazy-Mom-Doesn’t-Really-Feel-Like-Cooking-Tonight-Day.” We used to celebrate the event more frequently when my daughter was little and I’d serve up bacon and eggs for dinner. “Upside Down Day” is a rare, special occasion in the Gould house now that I can no longer eat eggs due to my allergy. I can’t even cook eggs without itching…something about airborne allergens and what not. Who knew?

Anyway, I digress. Back to making “Dinner”:
Mix the gluten free pancake mix following box instructions, except substitute the egg for the egg replacer (following those box instructions as well) and also substitute the cow’s milk with VANILLA Almond Milk or VANILLA Soy Milk. Mix in the leftover pulp (where all the fiber is) from your lunchtime smoothie. Add more vanilla soy or almond milk to play with your desired thickness. Pour your batter onto a HOT, lightly greased griddle. I used canola oil because I was out of rice bran oil, my new “go to oil” because it cooks at high temperature points. You know your griddle is hot enough if a drop of water dances off of the surface. Pour your batter onto the griddle. My pancakes poured thick and imperfect, and I quite liked them that way even though they took longer to cook. If you like yours thick too, avoid burning them by turning them frequently once the batter has set. Use a tablespoon to scoop out the batter if you have OCD and prefer a perfectly round pancake. My husband’s banana pancakes are always perfectly round. Again, it’s your night to be a sloth, because you’ve kicked your husband out so you can make my pancakes.

Pancake mix eaten pancakes Pancakes

I served ours the conventional way, with Earth Balance natural spread from Trader Joe’s and a hearty drizzle of Canadian maple syrup. My twelve-year-old son loved them, and he’s fairly hard to please, plus he got servings of both fruits and vegetables. I got to be a sloth and he ate his greens. It was clearly a win/win. If you try them, be sure to check back. Oh, and Happy Upside Down Day!

Enjoy!


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6. Larva is Live on Amazon

 

Larva Kindle Cover

We are pleased to announce the release of our second young adult book in our Alpha Girls series, Larva.  Book two of The Alpha Girls series follows Caitlin and her friends during their freshman year of high school.

Caitlin has been dating Josh most of the summer, but she finds herself torn between Josh and the new man on campus, Trick. Trick shared a passionate kiss with Caitlin over the summer on a Florida beach, but she never thought she’d see him again.

High school is full of choices. Some more difficult than others.

 


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7. Billy and the Monsters Who Ate All the Easter Eggs Giveaway

Today, I’d like to share with you the chance to win a signed copy of the Amazon Best-seller ‘Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs’ by British Author David Chuka who is a friend of mine.Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs

With Easter around the corner, this book will be a welcome addition to your loved ones library.

This is the third book in the Billy and Monster series and it has gotten about 48 glowing reviews on the Amazon website.

Before I reveal how you can enter to win a signed copy, let’s find out what happens with Billy and Monster in this Easter edition.

Billy and Monster love all the holidays as they get to spend quality time together. However, their best holiday is Easter as they get to eat their favorite food…CHOCOLATE!

This year, they’re spending Easter with Grandma Chocalicious who loves Chocolate even more than Billy. She’s an expert at making chocolate cake, chocolate waffles and even chocolate pasta.

This year Grandma Chocalicious has made a pyramid of Easter eggs for her party on Easter Sunday. Billy and Monster want one of the Easter eggs but Grandma says they have to wait till Easter Sunday.

What happens when Billy and Monster tip toe downstairs and the pyramid of Easter eggs comes falling down?

For a chance to find out what happens simply click the link below and you could very well have your signed copy just in time for Easter.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs by David Chuka

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs

by David Chuka

Giveaway ends April 15, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


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8. In Praise of the Mom-Traffic Controller

Yesterday was one of those days. It is beyond my man-sized mind how everything fit together. I had nothing to do with its success or organization. But like a giant fuel-guzzling puzzle, the last piece set in perfectly about nine o’clock. Until then, my family ranged in different directions all across the metro area. The amazing thing is that the MTC (Mom-Traffic Controller) was absent for a good portion of it.

I had business on the other side of the city that kept me away until most of the flights were filed and done. If you know Atlanta traffic, you know that being on the other side of it on a weekday means that, while only thirty miles away, I may as well have been in Guatemala in case of an emergency. Sometimes, there is just no getting home. But the MTC needed me not.

flights

The Grandaddy taxi (my kids’ favorite ride because it often stops for a milkshake) had a few trips, she called in a favor from another middle-school parent, my nephew’s girlfriend made a pick-up, and I think there were two dog sleds and a rickshaw involved. Of course, this day involved multiple after school activities for every child that required extra commutes. Here is where I think the MTC was just showing off – she drove an hour north of the city on a college visit and took the only other driver of the house with her. So she wasn’t even around to oversee her masterpiece!

Through some mystery of mother magic, everything worked out. I counted two children when I got home and the other two trudged through the door soon after. They looked haggard but familiar, so I’m fairly certain they are mine.

Men, lest you think you could handle this task, let me recount for you my experience on Saturday (Car Day). I had one assigned job, ONE: pick up dancer daughter at 12:30. The brakes took a little longer than expected, but I finished and went inside to wipe the grime off of my fingertips so I could handle food. While at the sink, my phone lit up with a missed text. Instantly, I had that “Oh Crap!” moment when I saw the digital readout. You guessed it, 12:40. I forgot my one job, along with my daughter who sat waiting twenty minutes away. The forgotten child’s next text went to the MTC, who was at a play. I had planned to bribe my daughter’s silence with ice cream. But on the frantic trip to get her, I received from the MTC saying, “Nice job, Dad.” Exposed.

 

So, all hail the MTC! I don’t know where you received your degree in family flight management, but the entire (and somehow intact) family is glad you have it!


10 Comments on In Praise of the Mom-Traffic Controller, last added: 3/25/2014
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9. The Bickering Sisters

There once were two lovely young girls, sisters in fact, who lived in a spacious abode that seemed, too often, to close in around them. They were two of four daughters, not the golden-brown edge ones, but the soft, fair-haired, middlest sisters, mixed and squeezed together so much that they couldn’t get along. In fact, they bickered constantly.

Kou-Kou_by_Georgios_Iakovidis

They bickered near, they bickered far

They argued things trivial, humdrum, and bizarre.

“I’m sick of your manners,” one would often yell.

“I don’t like your meddling or dubious smell”

The other undaunted, her resentments would list

And sometimes erupt in a tirade of fists

Finally the lady of the manor (the loveliest, fairest maiden in the land) had had quite enough. She threatened, cajoled, and punished the two sisters. In frustration, she assigned them chores in the hopes of building teamwork. The clever mother’s schemes worked…but only for a season. For the enmity between the two sisters had grown as great and thick as their noble father’s ample chest hair.

He, the master of the house, was wise on his own account and took action to solve the embarrassing bickering once and for all. He tied the legs of the two sisters together with red silky ribbon, telling them to write down ten things each admired in the other. Only then would the ribbon be removed and their freedom attained.

He congratulated himself on his shrewdness and saw to the other important tasks of the manor, little knowing that the two cunning sisters conspired against him. Each composed a flowery list detailing their own most praiseworthy virtues, swapped scrolls, and beckoned their father back to their dungeon. So pleased was he that he released the two fair girls immediately with a tender kiss on each brow.

He boasted to his lovely wife in their bedchamber that night and wondered at how she could possibly resist his dashing charm. While choruses singing praise echoed inside his swollen head, the lady heard the familiar bicker, bicker, bicker from the other side of the door. The master and fine lady gave up! Would the two sisters ever be confidants or were they doomed to dwell in the moat of antipathy ever after?

Alas, one fine day, something came into their hands that brought the two together better than any silk ribbon ever could. It was warm, imaginative, and likable to both parties. They loved this thing, pondered it, and discussed it non-stop. Oft in the evenings, side by side they could be found on a blue, fluffy throne doing nothing but soak up the enjoyment of this thing…together. Yes, together.

An amazing light shone over the humble manor – the light of peace.

What was this wonderful thing of harmony, you ask? What could it possibly be? It was a book, then another, and another. It was literature that bound their squabbling hearts and imaginations together.

The lord of the manor, a brilliant novelist in his own mind, felt it important to pay tribute to one of the tomes that brought reconciliation to his home. To celebrate Divergent’s theatrical debut, I give you Virgil’s take on one of the wonderful works that put hatred asunder.

Not coming to a theater near you….

image

Artwork By Georgios Iakovidis (1853-1932)
Imitation Artwork yet unclaimed

10 Comments on The Bickering Sisters, last added: 3/21/2014
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10. ABC’s of Discipline

20140319-162236.jpg

I picked up something somewhere about parenting that really works. I wish I could credit the concept to whomever created it. If I understand correctly, think of it as something like the ABC’s of Discipline. A-is the Antecedent or the precursor to B- a child’s Behavior (acting out) which leads to a parent doling out the C-Consequence.

Parents become reactionary and often jump straight to C, because they don’t identify the Antecedent, and only see the Behavior. I’m not sure that’s effective. What works for me and my son, Miles, is to nip things in the bud when he starts to misbehave in a consistent way, so he always knows what to expect.

What works for me and Miles is if he starts to misbehave, I recognize it and let him know he’s in “A-mode.” He can then choose if he wants to continue to act on his Behavior which always leads to Consequences, because he understands how the ABC’s works. Rarely does Miles ever get to C-mode since I’ve deployed the strategy. On the rare occasion that Miles gets himself in “B-mode” and continues to act on his behavior; I very clearly look him in the eyes and say, “Would like to go to C-now?” Which backs him right up to A-mode, and the behavior ends.
(He’s no dummy. Consequences are never fun!) I think the whole thing works because a child has real control over what he wants to do next. Miles always wants roll back to A-because don’t we all wish for a “do-over” sometimes?

Thanks for the ear,

Tonia Allen Gould


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11. The Holy Trinity of Boys

Passing over the bridge to the park Saturday, I heard laughter mixed with threats from the creek below. It took a few steps to get a view of the action between the dense limbs forming a canopy above the slow moving water. But what I saw brought an instant smile to my face: a real, knockdown, drag-out mudfight.

image

Four shirtless combatants

No distinct sides or teams

Eight handfuls of muck and sludge, ducking, slinging, flailing away.

Goo and gunk flying in every direction.

Filthy joy pigs would be proud of.

The Holy Trinity of Boys – Filth in all three forms: Dirt, Mud, & Dust

image

One Mom – a lax referee, sat on the bank chuckling along. I wanted to take a picture of the fun, but was afraid to be labelled some sort of park whacko. So I just watched, a little jealous of them, wondering if I could have been as cool a parent to sons. Would I let my boys get that dirty, despite the inconvenience of taking them home? Or if I had boys, would I be more worried about the cleanliness, my car seats, and the waste of time?

(Nah, I’m pretty sure my shirt would have been on the bank with theirs…but who knows.)

I don’t know who you are, lady. All I know is; you are the official Mother of the Weekend. You get no award besides the joy you allowed your boys. But that’s enough.

Artwork credit: Harold W. Olsen (www.haroldolsen.com)

10 Comments on The Holy Trinity of Boys, last added: 3/18/2014
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12. Tom Selleck Owes Me an Apology

Tom Selleck owes me an apology. Anyone my age knows the unobtainable standard he set for a teenage boy just coming into maturity. Why, do you ask, am I seeking contrition from him?

Good looks? No.

Suave disposition? No.

All the ladies? No…well maybe.

I’m talking about the hair…his stinking perfect hair.

Tom_Selleck_Kahala_Hilton

When all of the girls had a picture of the Magnum PI in mind, how could any of us real boys measure up? Curly coiffure, bushy mustache, chest hair, leg hair… There it is! Leg hair. Recently, smooth has become stylish and I would have been perfect for this new generation. But that isn’t my generation. When I was in high school and college, the girls wanted hair and lots of it. Hair I didn’t have.  Well, that’s not absolutely true. Science should study my leg hair because it is translucent like that of a polar bear. It’s there, just not to the naked eye. It only shows up if I have a deep tan, which is near impossible for someone of Swedish/Germanic descent. Undaunted, I went to the pool, laid out, and held my legs just right so that passing females might possibly get the proper angle to spot a few strands.

As a freshman in college, I went so far as to purchase a tanning package. I donned little glasses and laid on top of the plastic surface to bake. And bake I did. Remember the shorts Magnum used to wear? Not long like they are today, 80′s shorts came way up on the thigh. Hoping my tan would expose leg hair from the top of my leg to my toes, I even pulled them up higher. Oh yeah, I got burned in very sensitive areas. It hurt for weeks and didn’t help my hair stand out whatsoever.

We all have physical characteristics we would rather minimize or hide completely. Just the other day, I was talking with a friend who told me her 10 year-old daughter E had been called fat by another girl. My heart sank. Her sweet little girl is now self-conscious about something as irrelevant as my smooth legs. She is active and isn’t overweight in the least, but also isn’t waif-thin like so many women our society seems to put on a pedestal. Such a tragedy.

I want so much for her and other little girls to see what truly matters about themselves instead of what is fleeting.

Your beauty should not consist of outward things … Instead, it should consist of what is inside the heart with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very valuable in God’s eyes.

1 Peter 3:3-4

That’s what is important. I hope my daughters know that. I pray little E learns that too. We have to tell them they are beautiful and keep on telling them until they understand. That’s how God sees them.

So Tom, whenever you are ready, it has taken 25 years, but I am finally over your provocation and prepared to accept your apology. It’s been a long time coming.

Photo credit to Alan Light

8 Comments on Tom Selleck Owes Me an Apology, last added: 3/15/2014
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13. Innocence, Libido & the evil gods of Radio

When our children were younger, I used to love taking them in the truck with me to run errands. With so many kids, the trips were a necessity and provided rare one-on-one time with whichever child agreed to go. I loved it right up until one unfortunate ride with my youngest. Here is text from that fateful trip.

Dad, drivers have all kinds of signs don’t they?

Yes, there are road signs to tell us when to stop and how fast to go.

No, that’s not what I mean. I mean drivers have signs they give…with their hands.

Sure, they wave to each other after one lets the other in front of them. That’s a kind thing to do.

Yes, but what does this mean? (giving me the perfect one finger salute)

Where did you see that? (Spoken calmly so she wouldn’t adopt this as a favorite gesture) 

That man over there did it. Did you let him in front of you?

No, that means I must have done something wrong and he was telling me about it.

What did you do?

I don’t know, maybe I cut him off or he thought I drove too close to him.

Do you use that sign?

No, honey, I don’t use that sign.

Does Mommy?

No, Mommy doesn’t use that sign.

What if Mommy does something wrong, would you do that to show her? (Once again, saluting me in the mirror)

No, we would never use that sign to Mommy. It isn’t a nice sign.

Oh. So we shouldn’t use that sign?

No, we shouldn’t use that sign. (she examines her finger wonderingly)

How about we listen to the radio?

Okay! I like the radio.

Radiomatic_DSC9599WP

(I fumble through the dial and settle on a station where the song quickly yields to a woman’s voice)

Women, do you suffer from low libido… (frantic push of the search button)

Daddy, what’s a libido?

Um, I think it’s an animal found in darkest Peru.

Like Paddington?

Exactly.

I’ve never heard of it in his books.

Maybe we haven’t gotten to that one yet.

Why is it low?

I don’t know, Sweety (how is this kid hearing every stinking thing? New station)

Men, listen to me. erectile disfunction is a serious problem… (FRANTIC PUSH as I fall victim to a conspiracy of the evil gods of radio)

Daddy…

…Er…How would you like to go to McDonalds for a chocolate milkshake?

YAY!!!!  McDonalds!!!! 

But it’s almost lunchtime. Will it be okay with Mommy?

Baby, if all Mommy hears about from this trip is the milkshake, I’m in great shape.

Photo Credit: By JPRoche (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

10 Comments on Innocence, Libido & the evil gods of Radio, last added: 3/11/2014
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14. Innocence, Libido & the evil gods of Radio

When our children were younger, I used to love taking them in the truck with me to run errands. With so many kids, the trips were a necessity and provided rare one-on-one time with whichever child agreed to go. I loved it right up until one unfortunate ride with my youngest. Here is text from that fateful trip.

Dad, drivers have all kinds of signs don’t they?

Yes, there are road signs to tell us when to stop and how fast to go.

No, that’s not what I mean. I mean drivers have signs they give…with their hands.

Sure, they wave to each other after one lets the other in front of them. That’s a kind thing to do.

Yes, but what does this mean? (giving me the perfect one finger salute)

Where did you see that? (Spoken calmly so she wouldn’t adopt this as a favorite gesture) 

That man over there did it. Did you let him in front of you?

No, that means I must have done something wrong and he was telling me about it.

What did you do?

I don’t know, maybe I cut him off or he thought I drove too close to him.

Do you use that sign?

No, honey, I don’t use that sign.

Does Mommy?

No, Mommy doesn’t use that sign.

What if Mommy does something wrong, would you do that to show her? (Once again, saluting me in the mirror)

No, we would never use that sign to Mommy. It isn’t a nice sign.

Oh. So we shouldn’t use that sign?

No, we shouldn’t use that sign. (she examines her finger wonderingly)

How about we listen to the radio?

Okay! I like the radio.

Radiomatic_DSC9599WP

(I fumble through the dial and settle on a station where the song quickly yields to a woman’s voice)

Women, do you suffer from low libido… (frantic push of the search button)

Daddy, what’s a libido?

Um, I think it’s an animal found in darkest Peru.

Like Paddington?

Exactly.

I’ve never heard of it in his books.

Maybe we haven’t gotten to that one yet.

Why is it low?

I don’t know, Sweety (how is this kid hearing every stinking thing? New station)

Men, listen to me. erectile disfunction is a serious problem… (FRANTIC PUSH as I fall victim to a conspiracy of the evil gods of radio)

Daddy…

…Er…How would you like to go to McDonalds for a chocolate milkshake?

YAY!!!!  McDonalds!!!! 

But it’s almost lunchtime. Will it be okay with Mommy?

Baby, if all Mommy hears about from this trip is the milkshake, I’m in great shape.

Photo Credit: By JPRoche (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

0 Comments on Innocence, Libido & the evil gods of Radio as of 3/12/2014 1:22:00 AM
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15. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 14

Cybils2013SmallHappy Valentine's Day, International Book Giving Day, and Cybils Day! You can find the Cybils winners on the Cybils blog, in categories ranging from picture books to young adult fiction and non-fiction. This set of winners is the culmination of tons of work on the part of many bloggers, and is NOT to be missed. You can also find out where to get started for International Book Giving Day at Playing By the Book. Wishing you a wonderful, book-filled day!

TwitterLinksMeanwhile, here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

At Stacked: A new #YAlit Mini-trend: Circuses http://ow.ly/tyZ4R

A Tuesday Ten: Speculative #kidlit with A Dash of Romance | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/tyYVq

SLJ’s Battle of the Books’ Contenders Revealed | @sljournal http://ow.ly/tyZt9 #SLJBOB #kidlit

2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards | @tashrow #kidlit http://ow.ly/twQb8

A roundup of best book lists for different types of readers from @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/3h9AMB

On the #cybils blog: The 2013 Cybils Winners Are Coming... http://bit.ly/LFiXo8

Common Core

Meet the Parents: Critical for Implementing the #CommonCore | @sljournal Editorial http://ow.ly/twPKg

New York teachers get five years to fully enact #CommonCore @NYDailyNews http://ow.ly/twPA5 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Diversity and Gender

2014 New Releases: More LGBTQ YA Fiction collected by @molly_wetta http://ow.ly/tumKV #yalit

Resources to encourage girls to be The Next Generation of Coders @oceanhousemedia via Jeff Berger http://ow.ly/tou7V

Black History Month: Strong Women for Strong Girls (a collection of biographies) | @ReadingTub http://ow.ly/totgb #kidlit

Mitali's Fire Escape: "Casual Diversity" Depends on the Unseen Work of the Author @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/tunDo

Events

For the Love of Reading | The @bookchook on International Book Giving Day and Library Lovers Day http://ow.ly/tBcUE #literacy

Ibgd-blog-badge200pxMake Valentine's Day Sweeter with International Book Giving Day! says @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/twZTD #kidlit

Love our Library Lollapalooza Honors Supporters and Raises Money, reports Cynthia Cheng in Santa Clara Weekly http://ow.ly/tBahd

Using the Olympics to help teach kids geography from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/twZYi

Growing Bookworms

Using poetry to help kids learn to love reading, from @ReadingWithBean | "poetry is like a good fling..." http://ow.ly/tx0bX

Good stuff! The importance of the home/school partnership in raising readers by @carriegelson @KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/twQor

This made me think! | A Little Stone: The Rippling Repercussions of Bookshaming by Priscilla Thomas | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tuo2T

Ideas for using Environmental Print when raising readers @ReadingRockets via @librareanne | http://ow.ly/tqrld #literacy

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

When Adults Read Books For Teens — @lizb | A reminder that "Books for teens are, well, for teens." http://ow.ly/tBrSE

Can Re-Illustration Ever Be Justified? asks @fuseeight (with examples) http://ow.ly/tx01w #kidlit

PercyJacksonPosterCovers for new paperback editions of @camphalfblood the original Percy Jackson series are being announced next week pic.twitter.com/GpM94gu7C5

Pretty neat! Awesome Visual Featuring The Most Popular Books of All Time @medkh9 http://ow.ly/ttJEb via @cmirabile

Parenting

Another good post from @SensibleMoms | Kids Need the Word "No" | http://ow.ly/tumOI

Schools and Libraries

Mid-Continent Public Library Proves Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement | @sljournal http://ow.ly/tBwJY

Good points | The trouble with calls for universal ‘high-quality’ pre-K @alfiekohn @washingtonpost http://ow.ly/tunbc via @FreeRangeKids

Teachers, "I would encourage you to keep in mind that some readers hate reading" by @booktoss @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tumAR

Technology and Social Media

It's complicated | Five Myths About Teens, Technology, and Social Media | Peter Gray at Psychology Today http://ow.ly/tB6Lv

The Revenge of the Printed Book (why people, inc young people like books) @StephenMarche @esquiremag http://ow.ly/ttIGt via @cmirabile

How the 'Netflix of books' won over the publishing industry (Q&A) | Internet & Media @cnet http://ow.ly/ttHZE via @cmirabile

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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16. Literacy Milestone: Reading Aloud Together

This weekend my daughter and I experienced a new literacy milestone. We read our first book aloud together. She had requested Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin by Tad Hills. (We are not hung up on seasonally appropriate literature in our house.) On each page spread of this fun book, reviewed here, Duck or Goose will ask his friend a question ("Is our pumpkin in the log, Goose?", etc.). Then the other will say: "No". It's the illustrations and the deadpan delivery together that make this book funny.

LiteracyMilestoneAMy daughter pointed to the word "No" the first time it appeared, and said: "That says no." It's unclear if she already knew how to spell "no" or was getting it from context, but she was correct either way. So I told her she could read the "No" parts the rest of the way through. And she did. She took pride later in telling Daddy that we had read the book together. As I take pride in telling all of you.

This makes four words that she can spell aloud and recognize by sight: her name, her friend's name, Mom, and No. It's a good start, I think!

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate.

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17. $.99 Ebook Sale

99kindle sale

Get ready to load up those new kindles with some fantastic ebooks that will be specially priced at $.99 from December 26th through December 29th.  Loads of authors in various genres are joining in on this holiday sale.  Click the logo above to check out the main page for this sale and start downloading today.

Our children’s holiday story, The Christmas Owl, will be reduced to $.99 during this sale.  An Amazon best selling children’s story, The Christmas Owl , is sure to become a holiday classic. A Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word. This colorful tale told in verse is vividly illustrated to capture the attention of children aged eight and under.

OwlCover_Kindle_optimized


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18. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 20

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

Road Trip! 10 (Classic) Audio Book Suggestions for the Whole Family | Redeemed Reader http://ow.ly/rTuiJ

Reviews on a Theme: Time Travel #YAlit from @lenoreva http://ow.ly/rTtP3

A list of SFF #kidlit where SNOW is an important part of setting at Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/rTtHV

Plenty of great ideas here (categorized by age + genre) | 100 Magnificent Children’s Books 2013 — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/rTwps #kidlit

RT @90SecondNewbery: @anitasilvey's predictions about the books from 2013 that we are unlikely to forget any time soon. http://ow.ly/rPFIj

Armchair #Cybils Picture Book Round-up 2 | alibrarymama http://ow.ly/rOE3x  #kidlit

Sport-themed Books Not for Sporty Kids only #Kidlit #Cybils from Jennifer @5M4B http://ow.ly/rOD3i

The 2013 Nerdy Award Ballot is up @NerdyBookClub (voting open to end of day 12/21) http://ow.ly/rODNj #kidlit

New Book Read Alike Recommendations by @heisereads NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rVszq #kidlit #yalit

14 Children's Books about Trying New Things from @momandkiddo | Includes my fave THE PINK REFRIGERATOR http://ow.ly/rOBxx #kidlit

Green Light YA Reads: A Flowchart (books ok for 11-12 year olds) | @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/rKzYE #yalit

Book list: African-American Interest Young Readers' Titles 2013–2014 http://ow.ly/rKsNA via @CBCBook #kidlit

Best Books of 2013 from @NPRBooks via @tashrow #kidlit #yalit http://ow.ly/rVr17

Stacked: Looking Ahead to Science Fiction and Fantasy in 2014: Part One http://ow.ly/rVtpX  #yalit

Gender and Diversity

No Girls Allowed — @lizb on a truly dreadful revelation, how superhero cartoon execs seek to portray girls as lesser http://ow.ly/rTvYR

Sigh RT @tashrow Of the 124 Authors Who Made the ‘Times’ Top 10 Bestseller Lists in 2012, Only 3 Were People of Color http://buff.ly/18mAJY1

BooaholicGrowing Bookworms

A good early #literacy activity from @NoVALibraryMom | Santa Letters http://ow.ly/rTv71

RT @FirstBook: Great articles @washingtonpost on inspiring #reluctant #readers! So many books from our dear friend @The_Pigeon! http://wapo.st/Jtd7Wl

Good tips for Encouraging Your Child to Read Over Winter Break from Raising Great Readers with Great Books http://ow.ly/rODHR #literacy

Encouraging kids with the "luxury" of extra reading time over the holidays, by @frankisibberson @ChoiceLiteracy http://ow.ly/rOA5R

Holiday Gift Guides

It's beginning to look a lot like BOOKSHELF - Great pairs of book to give kids 2013 from Paula at Pink Me http://ow.ly/rTyL0

A holiday #kidlit book-giving guide with reccommendations based on emerging #literacy levels from @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/rODp6

Kidlitosphere

Always entertaining | 2013 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/rTxd7 #kidlit

On Reading and Writing

Here's What Your Favorite Children's Book Series Says About You, @HuffPostBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/rRAEU

Lots of great titles: Children's Publishers Choose Their 2013 Favorites in @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/rRAfh #kidlit

What’s New About New Adult? by @catagator @sophiebiblio + @LizB in @HornBook http://ow.ly/rRxAz #yalit

RT @BookPatrol: "the results are clear and consistent" - Readers are not nerds! Studies show adult readers "active and social" http://ow.ly/rQMlv

Lumos! How Harry Potter Switched the Light On My Reading Life by @AnnieWhitlock @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rOCQz

Parenting

Popcorn Surprise is the latest Random Act of Kindness for Kids from @CoffeeandCrayon http://ow.ly/rTyVF

10 Ways to Get Your Children Writing in the Holidays from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/rVsiQ  #literacy

Programs and Research

BookOnBedbanner180Ask Amy makes her annual pitch for the Book on Every Bed movement (with Family Reading Partnership) http://ow.ly/rTsIY [Image credit to Family Reading Partnership]

U.S. Math Education Still in the Doldrums, @Freakonomics blog on PISA results and poverty not being the explanation http://ow.ly/rOAKD

Heartwarming | The Wonderful Joy of Ballou HS & Their New Books! Guys Lit Wire and @chasingray http://ow.ly/rVsUj #yalit

Schools and Libraries

Tweet, Tweet: Using Twitter to Promote A Culture of #Literacy by teacher @thereadingzone @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rRzYQ

What One Resource Would You Refer to for Teaching and Learning? asks @ReadByExample | Replies here: http://ow.ly/rKAnS

How to teach… reading for pleasure | @Guardian Teacher Network via @librareanne http://ow.ly/rVna1

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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19. Monster Sale

MonstersHaveMommies

 

Halloween is just around the corner.  Soon we will be surrounded by ghosts, witches and maybe even some monsters.  Your little monster is sure to enjoy this picture book about family and parents.

Age Level:  0-6

Have you ever wondered if monsters have mommies and daddies? It turns out monsters families are a lot like our families. This monstrous tale about parents and family is perfect for children aged eight and under.

On sale for only $.99 this weekend, September 27th though September 29th (normally $2.99).

 

 


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20. The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition: Jim Trelease

Book: The Read-Aloud Handbook: Seventh Edition
Author: Jim Trelease
Pages: 384
Age Range: Adult nonfiction (for parents and teachers)

The 7th Edition of Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook was published in June. I pre-ordered my copy, and it arrived that day, but various things kept me from reading it until this week. I reviewed the previous edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook in 2010, having also read an earlier version before starting my blog. I was fortunate enough to hear Jim speak to parents at the Santa Clara City Library in January of 2007. My notes from that session are here. I have referenced Jim's work on encouraging reading aloud to children many times over the course of my blogging. So you may consider this more a recommendation and discussion than a formal review. 

Let me first state for the record that I believe that all parents of young children should read The Read-Aloud Handbook, as should all elementary and middle school teachers. The Read-Aloud Handbook started out as a little booklet that the author self-published in 1979 to encourage other parents to read aloud, and talk about books, with their kids. It became a phenomenon, was picked up by Penguin, and was named by Penguin in 2010 as one of the seventy-five most important books published in the company's 75 year history. It certainly had an impact on me, though I first read it long before I had a child of my own.

GBMantraThe Read-Aloud Handbook posits that instead of focusing on test-prep, flashcards, and the like, what parents and schools need to do to improve life-long levels of literacy and critical thinking, is simply read aloud to kids. I obviously agree (and posted the Read-Aloud Mantra to the left several weeks ago on my blog). 

More than 30 years after initial publication, The 7th Edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook retains Trelease's passion for reading to kids, but has a lot more references and research. The 7th Edition is about 40% changed from the 6th Edition, with new research findings, book recommendations, and discussions of the impact of eBooks and tablets. Even as someone who had read earlier editions (and follows published research studied pretty closely), once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. I finished it in about a day (it helps that nearly half of the book consists of a treasury of recommended read-aloud titles, which I only skimmed). 

My reading of this edition was certainly colored by the fact that I have a three-year-old daughter who I very much hope grows up to be an avid reader. I flagged a mix of items throughout the book - interesting things that I might want to share on the blog, as well as action items for myself (like getting around to putting a basket of picture books in the bathroom). I'll share some of the former here, and put the latter into a separate post. 

Here are some of the many quotes that I flagged:

"Why are students failing and dropping out of school? Because they cannot read well enough to do the assigned work--which affects the entire report card. Change the reading scores and you change the graduation rate and then the prison population--which changes the social climate of America." (Page xxvi, Introduction) 

"If we're waiting for government to save our reading souls, we've got a long wait. Ultimately it will come down to the individual student, parent, teacher, and librarian." (Page xxix, Introduction)

"One factor hidden in the decline of students' recreational reading (as they get older) is that it coincides with a decline in the amount of time adults read to them. By middle school, almost no one is reading aloud to students. If each read-aloud is a commercial for the pleasures of reading, then a decline in advertising would naturally be reflected in a decline in students' recreational reading." (Page 6, Chapter 1)

"Students who read the most also read the best, achieve the most, and stay in school the longest. Conversely, those who don't read much cannot get better at it." (Page 7)

"What motivates children and adults to read more is that (1) they like the experience, (2) they like the subject matter, and (3) they like and follow the lead of people who read a lot." (Page 10)

"The message in this kind of research (especially the Hart and Risley study on Meaningful Differences in the Everyday Experience of Young American Children) is unambiguous: It's not the toys in the home that make the difference in children's lives; it's the words in their heads. The least expensive thing we can give a child outside of a hug turns out to be the most valuable: words. You don't need a job, a checking account, or even a high school diploma to talk with a child." (Page 16)

 "Here is a crucial fact to consider in the reading and writing connection. Visual receptors in the brain outnumber auditory receptors 30:1. In other words, the chances of a word (or sentence) being retained in our memory bank are thirty times greater if we see it instead of just hear it." (Page 43, Chapter Two). 

"So how do we educate the heart? There are really only two ways: life experience and stories about life experience, which is called literature. Great preachers and teachers--Aesop, Socrates, Confucius, Moses, and Jesus--have traditionally used stories to get their lesson plans across, educating both the mind and the heart." (Page 45)

 "(Expectation of Reward / Effort Required) = Frequency of Activity... When you maintain strong reward factors and lower the number of difficulties, you will see a higher frequency of reading... If you really want to get more reading done, then take control of the distractions: needless trips to the mall, phone calls, multiple televisions, DVD players, e-mails, computer games--each calling for immediate attention or multi-tasking." (Page 84-86, Chapter 5)

"Make sure you, the adult role model, are seen reading daily. It works even better if you read at the same time as the child." (Page 92, Chapter 5)

(On applying Oprah's example of generating enthusiasm for books) "What can we apply from this to our work with children? Well, let's eliminate not all but much of the writing they're required to do whenever they read. ("The more we read, the more we gotta write, so let's read less and we can work less.") We adults don't labor when we read, so why are we forcing children to? It hasn't created a nation of writers or readers." (Page 103, Chapter 5)

"It's difficult to get good at reading if you're short of print. Government programs like No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top ensure that children who are behind in reading are entitled to after-school tutoring and extra help with phonics. Nice. But giving phonics lessons to kids who don't have any print in their lives is like giving oars to people who don't have a boat -- you don't get very far." (Page 107, Chapter 6)

"By the reckoning of its own Department of Education, California's ratio of school librarian to student ranks fifty-first in the nation, with 1 librarian for every 5,124 students, more than five times the national average of 1 to 916. Even the state's adult prison system does better, with 1 librarian to 4,283 inmates." (Page 109). Sigh!

(On reading blogs, tablets, social networks instead of books) "Reading, when it's done today, doesn't go very deep, and it's so private it's invisible. The trouble is, how do you pass invisible torches? How do you pose as an invisible role model?"

"...the e-book is here to stay, for very legitimate reasons. It's a win-win situation: a moneymaker for the publisher and a money saver for the buyer. It also saves time, space, student spines, and trees, to say nothing of what it does for the visually impaired." (Page 131, Chapter 7)

"The research clearly shows that we read more slowly (6 to 11 percent) from a screen than from paper. As with automobile driving, humans may get better and faster at e-reading over the years--but that could take generations." (Page 133) I did not know this, and found it fascinating.

"So what happens to the creative process when there is no disconnect time, when we and our children are constantly downloading, uploading, texting, YouTubing, Googling, or tweeting our 742 "friends"? Less "deep thinking" takes place, less creativity." (Page 139)

"It is not so much what children are doing while they watch multiple hours of TV; it is the experiences they are not having that make the viewing so dangerous." (Page 142, Chapter 8)

"A California professor, Jo Stanchfield, once told me that girls tend to be extrinsically motivated in their reading (favoring the choices of their peers, mom, and teacher), while boys are intrinsically motivated (favoring what they themselves are interested in). I agree. Call it selfish or pragmatic, but guys are drawn more to what interests them, not what interests the crowd." (Page 169, Chapter 10)

There's lots more to the book, obviously, but those quotes should be more than sufficient to give you a feel, and hopefully inspire you to want to read the rest. I feel that if you have kids, or you work with kids, you should read The Read-Aloud Handbook. If you feel like you don't have time, at least read the introduction, which sums up many of the findings discussed throughout the book. The Kindle edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook is $7.99, and you can read it on your phone. (I prefer the print edition for things like this, that I'm going to refer back to, but if cost or time is an object, e-books have advantages.) 

I'm pulling out a few other ideas from this edition of The Read-Aloud Handbook, and will be sharing them as separate posts in the coming days. I welcome your feedback. 

Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: June 25, 2013
Source of Book: Purchased

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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21. Actions I'm Taking After Reading the New Read-Aloud Handbook

I've included some general responses to my recent reading of the 7th edition of Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook in a separate post. Here, I'm sharing the bits that motivated me to want to take a specific action, and/or change something that I'm doing, in terms of my daughter's reading experience.

Mind you, I'm already reading to my daughter (now 3 1/2) regularly. She visits the library, and chooses her own books. We have books in the car, and we take books with us when we go on trips. We read mostly picture books, but are dabbling in early readers, and even dipping our toes into chapter books. I've read at least two earlier editions of The Read-Aloud Handbook, as well as various other titles on this subject, and I'm confident that we're doing a reasonable job already. 

Still, I found some useful take home messages, places where I think we can do a little bit better. Like these:

Perform Repeat Reads of the Same Book

"Research shows that even when children reach primary grades, repeated picture book reading of the same book (at least three times) increases vocabulary acquisition by 15 to 40 percent, and the learning is relatively permanent." (Page 10, Chapter 1)

The immediate take-home message for me on this is to make sure that we do read new picture books at least three times (unless we dislike them, of course). This isn't much of a problem with books that we own, but sometimes the big stack of library books goes back with books that were only read once or twice. I guess mostly this is a reminder of being patient about re-reads. 

Fill More Book Baskets

Another thing that Trelease advocates is the placement of book baskets in strategic locations throughout the house. I did this when my daughter was younger, but I haven't updated the baskets and locations recently. I need to stock a basket for the bathroom, and figure out a way to keep books closer to the kitchen table. This is going to tie in with another project that we're just starting - putting aside some of the board books (sob!), which currently fill the baskets. 

Get A Bedside Lamp

A related idea, Trelease also suggests buying your child a bed lamp, and letting them stay up 15 minutes later if they are reading in bed. We're not quite ready for this idea in my house yet (we tend to read to her until she falls asleep), but a bed lamp is clearly something that we're going to need soon.  

Read More Poetry

Trelease also talks about the need to read aloud stories that rhyme (Chapter Two). I haven't been as good about reading my daughter poetry as I would like. She's now starting to play with rhyming herself (and has just discovered tongue-twisters), and I think it's time for us to add more poetry to our repertoire. 

Always Say the Title and Name of the Author

In Chapter 4: The Dos and Don'ts of Read-Aloud, Trelease says:

"Before you begin to read, always say the name of the book, the author, and the illustrator--no matter how many times you have read the book." (Page 74)

I used to be very good about this, and had been letting it go a bit lately. This reminder has already gotten me back on track with attribution. I also like to say where the book came from, if it was a gift. 

Read More Slowly

Another reminder from Chapter 4, always good to hear again:

"The most common mistake in reading aloud--whether the reader is a seven-year-old or a forty-year-old--is reading too fast. Read slowly enough for the child to build mental pictures of what he just heard you read. Slow down enough for the children to see the pictures in the book without feeling hurried. Reading quickly allows no time for the reader to use vocal expression." (Page 75)

I think it's always tempting for adults to read quickly, and get through more books. There's a feeling of accomplishment if we read five books tonight before bed. But reading them better, more slowly, with more expression and discussion, is clearly better in the long run. I'm going to work on this.

Chart Reading Progress

My daughter loves to look at her growth chart, and see how much she's grown. Trelease advocates creating a home or school wall chart so that kids can see how much they've read. He says that:

"images of caterpillars, snakes, worms, and trains work well for this purpose, with each section representing a book. Similarly, post a world or U.S. wall map, on which small stickers can be attached to locations where your books have been set." (Page 76)

I especially like the map idea, because we LOVE maps in my house. I'll have to think about the best way to do this. US map? World map? Both? 

Initiate Home Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) Time

Trelease suggests setting aside time each day for the child to read by herself (even if she is just flipping through books that she can't yet read). He adds: "All your read-aloud motivation goes for naught if time is not available to put that motivation into practice." (Page 77)

We've done this informally, especially in the car. But I like the idea of having a designated quiet self-reading time. I'm happy to also use the time to model reading, by reading my own book. I'll have to think about how this could be integrated into our schedule. 

Spend Less Time Pecking Away on My Phone

I don't have one quote for this, but a number of references in The Read-Aloud Handbook have affirmed something that I've been concerned about for a while. I spend too much time looking at things on my phone, in my daughter's presence. I'd rather either be present with her, or have her see me reading books (or newspapers or magazines). If I am going to read electronically, I prefer to do it on the Kindle Paperwhite, which is only for reading books. I always call this my "Kindle Book", to reinforce the idea that when she sees me with it, I am reading.  

Continue Limiting TV Time, and Turn On the Closed Captioning

Trelease has a whole chapter on the impact of television and audio on kids and reading. I've been determined since before she was born that my daughter will not have a television set in her bedroom (and I won't have one in mine, either). We currently only allow her to watch television on weekends (though she does sneak in a bit of extra time on the iPad during the week sometimes). But she's like an addict, constantly asking if it's the weekend, and then binging on movies when it is. 

I'm particularly struck by the results of a study that found looked at children's schooling level by age twenty-six vs. the amount of television watched in childhood. "Children who viewed less than one hour a day were the most likely to achieve a college degree." (Page 147) Another study suggested "no detrimental effects on learning (and some positive effects) from TV viewing up to ten hours per week; however, after that, the scores begin to decline. The average student today watches three times the recommended dosage." (Page 148)

I'm not going to make any changes right now, besides turning on the closed captioning (something that Trelease has recommended for years, so that kids SEE the words). But I'm going to keep an eye on how many hours of TV watching creep in over the weekends. Just as soon as the baseball playoffs are over, anyway. 

Limit iPad Time When Traveling

We don't have a portable DVD player, or a DVD player in the car, and I don't see much need for one. But we have downloaded a few select movies onto the iPad. We've found this useful for long car trips, or other times when we need a break. (Most recently, when we brought our daughter along on a wine tasting trip to Napa.) I'm not prepared to give this up - it's been awfully handy on long flights. But I do take this point by Trelease into account:

"The recent addition of the DVD player to family transportation does nothing but deprive the child of yet another classroom: conversation with parents or the shared intellectual experience of listening to an audiobook communally." (Page 154)

I don't think that  my daughter is quite ready to follow along with an audiobook, but I do plan to use them for car trips when I think that she's ready. In the meantime, I'm going to work on talking more, and resorting to the iPad less, especially in the car (though I won't give it up entirely). 

Conclusion

A pretty fine list of actions to take, considering that this is at least the third edition I've read of The Read-Aloud Handbook (out of 7 published editions). Trelease has said that this will be the last edition that he writes, which makes me sad. But I'm very happy to have this one. 

How about you all? Have you read The Read-Aloud Handbook? Has it affected your efforts to grow bookworms in your own household? I'd love it if you would share. 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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22. The Christmas Owl

OwlCover_Kindle_optimized

We are thrilled to announce the release of our latest children’s book, The Christmas Owl.  This ebook is available at a special discounted price of $.99 through November 14th on Amazon.  We have also released this book on Barnes & Noble.  A Barred owl becomes injured and must ask others for help. He promises to give back to those who have a generous heart and he is true to his word.


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23. The Artist’s Way for Parents

The Artist's Way For Parents
Author: Julia Cameron
Publisher: Tarcher
Genre: Creativity / Parenting
ISBN: 978-0-399-16372-2
Pages: 288
Price: $26.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

The Artist’s Way is one of the best-selling and most helpful books on developing creativity. But a special book was needed to help parents teach their children to honor their own creative gifts. In The Artist’s Way for Parents, Julia Cameron shares some of the secrets she learned in being the parent of a creative daughter.

The basic structure of this volume is similar to other “Artist’s Way” books. Broken down into twelve chapters with headings such as Cultivating Curiosity, Cultivating Limits, and Cultivating Independence, Cameron explores sub-topics within this framework. An exercise for parents and/or children is included after each lesson. Familiar tools are utilized, such as morning pages and creative expeditions (artist’s dates) along with something new – sharing highlights of the day with your child.

Allowing a child to have a safe environment to create in is key to maximizing his highest potential. But this may not come naturally, and guidance from an expert can be helpful. If you want to nurture your child in exploring his creativity, The Artist’s Way for Parents would be a valuable resource. I highly recommend this book and the others in the “Artist’s Way” collection by Julia Cameron.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


0 Comments on The Artist’s Way for Parents as of 11/5/2013 5:46:00 PM
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24. Back to Bed, Ed!: Sebastien Braun

Book: Back to Bed, Ed!
Author: Sebastien Braun
Pages: 32
Age Range: 2-5

I must confess that when I first received Back to Bed, Ed! by Sebastien Braun, I didn't fully appreciate it (and didn't review it). This was back in early 2010, when I was pregnant with my daughter (my first and only child). A picture book about a boy (well, a mouse) who keeps getting into his parents' bed, and the solution that his family finds for the problem, well, it seemed a bit ... slight to that pre-parent me. But NOW, 3 1/2 years later, I have come to consider Back to Bed, Ed! necessary and relevant. Now that I have a child who climbs into my bed multiple times a night, I can appreciate how spot-on Braun's work is. (Or at least I would be able to appreciate it if I wasn't so tired all the time.)

ClosedSignIn fact, my plan for tonight is to copy Ed's parents' solution. Since this is a picture book, I'm not going to worry too much about spoilers, so I'll tell you. After many nights of being woken up (and kept awake) by Ed, his parents hang a "Closed" sign on the door. When he gets out of bed, he is stopped by the sign from entering their room. His dad walks him back to his room, where he gathers up all his stuffed animals into his bed and tells them "There's no need to be scared. I'm here now." (Image created by me, though similar to the one in the book.)

My daughter loves Back to Bed, Ed!, and she was actually the one to suggest the "Closed" sign (she's much braver by daylight than she is at night). We're going to bring all of her stuffed animals up from the playroom, and put them nearby, so that she can gather them into her bed, just like Ed does. I can only hope that life will imitate art. 

For those of you facing a similar problem (or anticipating the possibility of facing a similar problem), Back to Bed, Ed! is an essential book for any preschooler's home library. The reactions of Ed's (tired) parents are spot-on. Braun's illustrations are a mix of realistic (groggy parents spilling cereal on the table) and fanciful (the monsters that Ed imagines following him into the bedroom).

Nothing in Back to Bed, Ed! is actually scary. The monsters look like friendly dinosaurs, and the night-time background colors are blues and purples, rather than the inky blacks of Lemony Snicket & Jon Klassen's The Dark. Jammie-clad Ed, clutching his stuffed bunny, is determined, then sad, and then, ultimately, pleased with himself. 

I kept Back to Bed, Ed! around, even when I didn't really anticipate needing it, because I found Ed a likeable character. Now, he's practically a member of my family, and I highly recommend this book for anyone struggling to keep a preschooler in bed. It is still in print, with a paperback coming out in February, which suggests that I am not alone in my assessment.  

Wish me luck!

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (@PeachtreePub)
Publication Date: February 1, 2010
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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25. The People We Touch…..

 

SUZYCOVER

I’ve done a few readings at a local independent bookstore and I always enjoy the reactions I get to see from children as I read my stories.  As an author I know there are many children whose reactions I never get to see.  Today I received an email from this bookstore detailing a visit from a faith-based school that blew me away.  Lots of first and second graders gathered in the store while one of my books, Suzy Snowflake, was read.  Suzy is a snowflake fairy who prays to God when she feels different than her friends and teaches her good friend, Frost, how to pray.  The children talked about how they can be a witness to their friends who may be in need of God’s grace.

Our books can have an impact on others that we never get to see.  I’m so thankful that the bookstore knew enough to capture this moment for me and tell me about it.  This reading….that I didn’t even attend, has reminded me that we touch other people every day.  I’m so thankful my stories are having a positive impact on children.

This is why I write.

 

Suzy Reading

 


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