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Recipe for Readers? Relax- and share

This weekend is all about remembering and caring- Memorial Day in the States, and a beautiful regular Spring weekend here in Toronto.

Through Social Media, there is the wonderful opportunity to connect with others and to share the good work in an even broader perspective.

An excellent post: http://www.shapingyouth.org/invisible-boy-kids-storybook-taps-universal-nerve/ 

          details the insides of a story book that one hopes to find in school libraries and private homes- More on the above website to highlight how to encourage empathy, and a reminder that “children’s books” contain information for the adults amongst us too.

If your child is familiar with Pixar and the movies this company has produced, he or she may wish to try the “formula” that is suggested for writing a story board: http://www.whattodowhenbored.ca/2014/05/22-rules-of-storytelling-from-pixar.html

Not really a believer that girls are more likely to be readers, as have found readers across the gender divide, and writers too! However, it seems many parents do worry about encouraging their younger boys to take time to read.  Please do remember that reading, and Literacy in general, refers to the ability to decipher the written squiggles on a page ( or a kindle etc.) and to read drawings too- plus to connect ideas.  Reading for pleasure is a type of “sport”, a mental gymnastics exercise, and like all exercises, improves with practice.  Reading to understand, or reading because it is expected, is an entirely different activity.  When they combine, one becomes a “reader”, other wise, reading is purely a function related to academics at best, at worst – a chore.  If an adult notes that very real sense of struggle that some students early on exhibit, please speak with your student’s teacher, and question if the struggle appears to be with deciphering the sounds or the result of a limited vocabulary.  Vocabulary can be extended in a natural fashion through gradually increasing word usage, and specific books chosen; when the issue is phonemic awareness, there might be other reasons for a disjunction between the student’s awareness and communication and his/her ability to process this information in a formal sense.  Schooling involves a great deal of visual and auditory perception; we both see and hear words as we read.  For our brains to make sense of the words on the page we have to give them an audio component, actually sounding out the writing, slowly or more quickly, in context of the story.  Many a good reader will be absorbing vocabulary in a text without pausing to question the meaning of an individual word- slower readers often get “stumped” as soon as they encounter a new word or phrase and believe they must look it up or discard the reading.  Fluency however requires a reader to push on, moving through and beyond the new term, until the meaning in context appears.  Note your child’s learning techniques; the child who quickly absorbs games is connecting ideas, what was known before, what is expected now …and “reading” in another fashion.  Also try to sense if there is a great effort made at memorizing words, over sounding them out. While early readers will love to memorize a favorite book and “read” an adult a story, by grade three (3) it will become clearer if the student is actually reading the word, or slurring sounds and guessing at pronunciation. 

For younger boys PBS suggests the following readers:


many children, boys in particular also go through a stage where they are curious how things work: this is a great time to introduce all the picture encyclopedias, found in libraries, and leave a stack around the home reading area- let the young reader reach for the “facts” and become more curious.

And for the sports enthusiast: there are as many readers as there are sports- a trip to a Bookstore can become a surprisingly pleasant morning or afternoon, with options to browse as well as buy.

A modern tendency is to separate books by gender- here is a thought, do encourage biographical readings that allow for heroes and heroines, and note “stars” from a variety of backgrounds.  Girls are as likely to enjoy the Percy series as boys, though boys may not get enthusiastic about The Dork Diaries, preferring Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but when it comes to say Olympic champions, or political leaders, the grades five  (5) through eight (8)  middle school crowd will respond as quickly to a female as a male protagonist, be it in an action adventure involving a variety of characters or a story of courage and diligence. 

 SEE:  http://www.pinterest.com/alibayer/academic-and-practical-readings-musings-and-links/ 

Here are posted a number of lists, suggesting readers for all ages/grades and interests including the “Great girl’s your daughter should know” list that tends to list classics and modern classics- the L.M. Montgomery series featuring Anne, and the Little house on the Prairie Series- but the wonderful explosion of excitement for Katniss and the Hunger Games knew no gender boundaries- the story appeals to boys and girls, and when initially published, the Anne series were not relegated to young adult, but were popular adult fiction.  Bottom line, browse, online, in a Bookstore, in the library, at magazine stands, wherever reading material is to be found and don’t discount the reading of a recipe, or a “how to” book- or the hands on activity of creating with blocks, puzzles, art materials, paper, and clay.  Learning, the real kind, allows for personal development; growth is rarely as linear as traditional schooling might suggest.