Friday, May 25, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
I have 2 books on hold right now at the library which I am picking up tonight and I hope to be doing a lot of reading this summer!
Let the summer begin!!!
Friday, May 18, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Speare
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Holes by Louis Sachar
and the books for 8th grade are:
The Giver by Lowry
Tuesday’s With Morrie by Mitch Albom
The Outsiders by SE Hinton
While I like many of the books on the list, I can see that for many of our students they would rather have their fingernails torn off one by one than read these books. Liz over at A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy has a post about Required Summer Reading, where she compares required reading to her having to play baseball all summer and report back at the beginning of the school year, what a GREAT analogy!
One of the media specialists at the Catholic High School in this area came up with a program a few years ago that she calls Aspire (she has spoken at AASL and other conferences about the program). Basically in addition to their other required summer reading, the students can choose a book from the Aspire list. A teacher (or coach, the principal, etc..) sponsors the book and at the beginning of the school year they have discussion groups with the teacher who is sponsoring the book. There are a HUGE representation of genres on the list, and many of the books are popular best sellers. I know in past years many of the students would choose a book not for the book itself but for who the sponsor was (their favorite teacher/coach etc..) and I noticed this year that they do not list the sponsors name next to the book, but I don't know why. I think a program like this might even work in lower grades (certainly for middle school) and I know it has been a very successful alternative to the boring summer reading that is usually given in Catholic high schools (see my post from yesterday on my reading TRAUMA in a Catholic high school).
I don't think there are any answers to this debate, but I do think that reading in the summer should be FUN for kids. My oldest son has never liked to read. Not for lack of books in our house, or for lack of seeing his parents constantly reading, or for lack of his parents and grandparents reading to him from the time he was a baby, at the age of 11, he just doesn't like to read. It breaks my heart! But yesterday, we were going to his brothers baseball game and he took the book Johnny Tremain with him in the car and was reading it. When asked, he told me he picked it up and it was really good and he wanted to finish it before school got out - WOW - I almost cried. This is what summer reading is all about, just getting kids to read something they LIKE, even if it is Sports Illustrated, the newspaper or a favorite book from long ago.
Monday, May 14, 2007
The Family Education website has some great reading lists and activities to do this summer. The quiz section is a challenge for adults (I didn't do so well on the fiction into movies quiz!)
Reading Rockets has some great articles and reading lists on fun things to do this summer that involve reading. My favorite article is the Day trips for book lovers.
Many public libraries have announced their summer reading programs. My local library system, Gwinnett County, GA has announced theirs. Check out your local library website to see what they are doing this summer.
NEA had teamed up with Major League Soccer for Get A Kick Out of Reading a site full of reading lists and fun stuff. Click on the resources page for reading lists of soccer related books.
Franki Sibberson of the blog A Year of Reading has a great article up at Choice Literacy about things to get kids jump started on their summer reading. I love her idea of having the kids write down books they want to read throughout the year. I do this on my libraries website, where you can create a book list and then when summer comes and the time is right for devouring lots of books, I have a list right there to choose from.
Monica at Educating Alice has a great poem on the subject of required summer reading (something my Catholic school has and the public school I am moving to does not). But while on the subject of required summer reading, the only time in my life I can honestly say I HATED to read, was reading those required summer reading books during my years at a Catholic high school. I still have nightmares about reading Watership Down (HATED that book!)
Not so much a reading activity, but something fun for your kids that are into video, check out the Postcards From Buster website. This is a PBS series that is looking for one minute video postcards that kids film and edit themselves.
As for what I am planning to do with my own kids (ages 6,9 and 11), I am planning on making some trips to the public library. I am planning on attending a Harry Potter party (but not sure where, since I might be in Georgia or I might be in Massachusetts), I am still planning on getting a few kids together in the neighborhood to read Hoot and then screen the movie some hot summer night and I am going to try and have tv/computer free zones this summer. Times (maybe in the late afternoon before dinner but after spending the day at the neighborhood pool) when there will be no tv/computer and they have to spend some time reading whatever they want, could be the newspaper or Sports Illustrated, but reading something.
I would love to hear if you have anymore reading ideas or know of any activities going on this summer!
This weekend the NYT Book review had a "review" of Kevin Henkes new book "A Good Day". The funny part about the review was, the author, Bruce Handy, doesn't even mention the book until the last 2 paragraphs of the review. While I think his other works outside of his "mouse" books are ok, nothing will ever top for me the mouse books, with their interesting characters and the great dialogue between the characters. I think that Mr,. Handy agrees with me on that one, which might be why his review is more praise for all Mr. Henkes has done rather than a great review of his new book (but he DOES give the book a good review eventually.)
The online version of the article has a link to an audio clip from one of his books (the clip SAYS it is from the book Lilly's Big Day, but it is actually from Weekend with Wendell) and there is also a slide show of drawings from his latest book.
Check out Kevin's website, he has lots of coloring pages and games to use if you are using his books in the media center or classroom. Now if only he would do a blog!!!
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
1. Read your RSS feeder (like bloglines). Limit yourself to 10 blogs in the beginning so you can keep your 15 minute time-limit. This will help you prioritize. If you don't know whose blogs to read, choose one and look at who they are reading.
2. Read your favorite journal's top articles. If you truly read something everyday, you could actually read far more journals than you anticipated.
3. Read new picture books as they arrive. Sit beside a child and ask them to look with you while you think to whom to match the title.
4. Make a short list of new titles or 3-5 books that thematically go together. Then type these in a pre-formatted bookmark template and print off a few copies. Simple bookmarks like these disappear and quickly become checklists for your methodical readers. I find that I can jot down the ideas while someone else volunteers to type these and add artwork.
5. Jot a thank you note or email to a teacher and ask them to stop by to plan with you. If you could write one thank you a day, could you sincerely reach your entire faculty several times that year?
6. Send out an e-mail a few times a week to the faculty or to certain teachers alerting them to an interesting blog or article you have found.
7. Write a newsletter to the faculty once a month introducing new books/materials in the media center, highlighting websites they can use with the students or professionally and maybe add an article about a web 2.0 tool (blogs, podcasting etc..)
8. Read a book review everyday and keep a list of the books you might consider for purchase (paste the book review into the list or at least paste the URL if it is an online review)
9. ASK some of the students at least once a week what they are reading and write it down.
10. Have fun!! Ok, this might not change your whole program, but I think that when I am having fun doing something in the media center (dressing up as a pirate, for example) I think the kids have fun and think the media center is a pretty cool place, and *hopefully* it makes them want to come in and check out books or it helps them to not feel intimidated in asking us for help when they are doing some research.
I have lots of goals that I am working on for next year. Since I am entering this new job as a "seasoned" media specialist and not a brand spanking new one I do know that everything I want to do won't get done, but at least it gives me a place to start. I'll write about some of those goals this summer.
Friday, May 4, 2007
The new Bon Jovi video - now if Jon Bon Jovi would only write a children's book - ah, one can dream!
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
On another note, as I picked up Night of the Moonjellies I noticed the author's last name - Shasha. At my first internship in college, I worked for a woman named Danuta Shasha, always thought that her last name was quite unusual. When I read the author's note, I noticed he lived in Boston, which is where I did my internship with Mrs. Shasha. Thanks to the wonders of the web, I found out that my old internship boss is the authors wife. Kind of that six degrees of separation thing, but I thought it was pretty cool!