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professornana
02 August 2015 @ 05:08 pm
JULY 2015 BOOKS READ

408. LISTEN SLOWLY
409. WELCOME HOME, BEAR
410. A GUIDE TO SISTERS
411. THE ALPHABET BOOK
412. APES-A-GO-GO
413. DRAGONS BEWARE
414. THE TROUBLE IN ME
415. MY SENECA VILLAGE
416. LAST NIGHT AT THE CIRCLE CINEMA
417. ANOTHER DAY
418. YARD WAR
419. FINDING THE WORM
420. NIGHTBIRD
421. MINNA’S PATCHWORK COAT
422. THE TRAGIC AGE
423. REVENGE OF THE ANGELS
424. EDEN WEST
425. LUMBERJANES
426. THE SECRETS OF BLUEBERRIES, BROTHERS, MOOSE & ME
427. THE NUMBER 7
428. BOTH OF ME
429. THE SUMMER OF CHASING MERMAIDS
430. BEE DANCE
431. GOOD NIGHT, FIREFLY
432. DILLY DALLY DAISY
433. YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORDWILL BE DADA
434. SEEN AND NOT HEARD
435. BERNICE GETS CARRIED AWAY
436. NONI THE PONY GOES TO THE BEACH
437. PEANUT BUTTER AND BRAINS
438. NIGHT ANIMALS
439. MY DOG IS THE BEST
440. THE FLINKWATER FACTOR
441. THE ODDITORIUM
442. WONDER AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
443. THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY
444. RUTHLESS
445. FLESH AND BONE
446. THE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE
447. WE DIG WORMS
448. A TOWER OF GIRAFFES
449. THESEUS AND THE MINOTAUR
450. THE THING ABOUT JELLYFISH
451. BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME
452. THE SCORPION RULES
453. VIOLENT ENDS
454. FROSTFIRE
455. WONDER AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD
456. WATCHING THE SKY
457. NOOKS AND CRANNIES
458. BACKLASH
459. FIREFLY HOLLOW
460. FULL CICADA MOON
461. SKYSCRPAING
462. NIMONA
463. COURAGE AND DEFIANCE
464. BECOMING MARIA
465. CONFESSIONS OF AN IMAGINARY FRIEND
466. LITTLE PEACH
 
 
professornana
01 August 2015 @ 05:19 pm
Go out in the midday sun. Welcome to August in Texas. Heat. Does not matter if it is "dry" or not. It simply saps energy. Even Scout is curled up and quiet, storing up energy to get food and water. Me, too.

Just home from a week on the road. Knowing I have two days before I head out again. Today's tally: Naps 2 Books 1.

But here is some work I did when the weather was cooler and, thus, more productive:

http://www.randomhousekids.com/media/activities/GraphicNovels_EducatorGd_15_WEB.pdf
 
 
professornana
31 July 2015 @ 03:50 pm
How could I possibly skip over a headline that ays, "Not Everyone's Sold on Seuss"? I am thrilled that there is a new Seuss book, and I plan to buy ti and read it and share it. You can read the article here, but be forewarned: make sure you have taken your blood pressure medication first:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/dr-suess-made-words-bad-kids/.

Oh. Em. Gee. Or to put it in Shakespearean terms: much ado about nothing. The first three paragraphs discuss how some folks are worried that nonsense words are counterproductive to reading. They share concerns that kids will then make up their own words. Um, SELFIES? We do make up words. New words are added to the dictionary annually: adorbs, binge-watch, cray, humblebrag, listicle, neckbeard, SMH, side boob, vape, and YOLO.

I learned to read because of THE CAT IN THE HAT. I have a video of one of the former residents of the back bedroom "reading" GREEN EGGS AND HAM to her baby sister almost 27 years ago. This scrutiny of Seuss compels me to write:

I do not like them, Bartelby Rumor
I do not like folks with no sense of humor.
How I wish we would see the day
When grups would just let children play.
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Current Location: heading home
Current Mood: amazeballs
 
 
professornana
30 July 2015 @ 03:24 pm
There is a kerfuffle about required summer reading in a school district. You can read about it here: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20150728/PC16/150729296?fb_action_ids=10152913790071356&fb_action_types=og.likes. Basically a parent is up in arms bout 1 of the books incoming freshmen were to read over the summer. I want to stop here and make it perfectly clear that giving kids a choice of TWO WHILE BOOKS is not choice. It is too narrow and is, in effect, its own form of censorship by narrowing what kids might elect to read over the summer. But, that point aside, the book in question has now been branded as "trash."

The books are intended for Honors English to prepare them for LORD OF THE FLIES and ROMEO AND JULIET. Kids have to take a test over the book they selected when they return to school. SO, so, so much is wrong here. First, if the idea behind summer reading is to prepare kids for other books they will tackle in class, why not offer some books that reflect the themes of R&J or LOTF? I can list quite a few. How about IF YOU COME SOFTLY or ROMIETTE AND JULIO? What about BEAUTY QUEENS or NOTHING or even HUNGER GAMES? I could go on, but then I read a lot. Apparently, some other folks simply don't or have not read widely.

Also, why is there a test over the books? What manner of questions will be asked? How will it be scored?

After the complaint was filed, a third book was added as another choice, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. Most recently, they also added SPEAK. ALL OF THIS WAS DONE WITHOUT FOLLOWING POLICY. Perhaps this is the greatest sin of all?

SpeakLoudly when you see these pieces, folks. We need to decry the censorship. We need to also decry the narrowing of book choices.
 
 
Current Location: College Station
Current Mood: hacked off
 
 
professornana
29 July 2015 @ 03:22 pm
I followed a link on Facebook to this post from Ed Week from 5 years ago: http://mobile.edweek.org/c.jsp?cid=25919951&bcid=25919951&rssid=25919941&item=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.edweek.org%2Fv1%2Few%2F%3Fuuid%3D0882B75E-F93A-11DE-A69F-03F4BAC0C963. The headline screams that reading aloud is gaining favor with those who work with teens. Really? This is (was) news? Articles on reading aloud dates backs more than 100 years but somehow Ed Week finds this newsworthy? I read aloud to all my classes back in the 70s and 80s and 90s. I still do when I am in FTF situations. And I know I am not and have not been alone. For Ed Week to claim it as something new and revolutionary is just plain wrong. But the headline is not the worst.

Let's begin with the photo of a teacher roaming the rows of desks ostensibly reading a picture book and showing kids the pictures as she walks. Um, really?

But, wait, there's more. Ed Week claims most research on reading aloud has been conducted with elementary students. Perhaps there is a kernel of truth there, but the fact is that the research on reading aloud spans K-adult learners. And in study after study, the research metaanalysis showed gains for participants in reading comprehension, vocabulary, sentence structure, and (most importantly) in positive attitude toward reading. The one piece of research cited made me cringe. Not from the research, but from the way Ed Week referred to the investigator, an associate professor, as Ms. and not Dr.

Move on. Voices of dissent arise. A teacher states that no one should read everything to kids or they will come to depend on read aloud and it will become a crutch. Are (were) there classrooms where teachers read everything> Doubtful. Then someone from ourside of education weighs in:

"Robert Pondiscio, the communications director for the Core Knowledge Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Charlottesville, Va., that promotes a curriculum based on core academic content, said he has reservations about teachers’ reading aloud to adolescents. “The need to do this at all seems to be a way of glossing over poor reading skills and poor content knowledge that should have been addressed in elementary school,” he said."

Even though this article is 5 years old, I can hear the echo of the architects of CCSS and NCLB.

Ignoring the research on reading aloud is ridiculous. Misrepresenting it is just as harmful. I was pleased to see Paul Hankins quoted at the end as he talks about dramatic readings of OF MICE AND MEN. I know Paul reads aloud for more than dramatic effect, too. As I was working on this blog post today, Karin Perry and I are sitting in a room working on lots of projects. She and I both stop periodically to read items from Facebook or Twitter or something else we are reading. I think neither of us are using this as a "crutch." I do not think this interferes with close reading either.

Reading aloud is a time for sharing. It is not a time for Q and A (even if you call it interactive read aloud, this is inappropriate). It is a time when we demonstrate, we immerse, we model, we provide. Let's keep our eyes and ears on the prize. Reading (and reading aloud) is its own reward.
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Current Location: College Station
Current Mood: angryangry
 
 
professornana
28 July 2015 @ 08:57 am
Go here for a terrific post on how to kill a love of reading: http://www.brilliant-insane.com/2014/08/6-ways-teachers-kill-the-joy-of-reading.html?utm_content=bufferabe0f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Now, consider making these five items positives.

1. Provide choice. Provide choice in reading materials and in how students will talk to you about their reading.

2. Build a community of readers within the classroom and in the school at large. Make everyone welcome. Keep giving invitations until you have them all in the community.

3. Model. Model. Model.
 
 
Current Location: Austin
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
 
 
professornana
27 July 2015 @ 05:28 pm
I love this post by Austin Kleon: http://austinkleon.com/2015/07/22/the-noun-and-the-verb/.

It applies as well to Reader and Reading. If I want to be the noun, first I need to do the verb. In other words, if I want to be a reader, I must read. Well, of course. That makes total sense. But you know there are more than a handful of educators out there who are not readers, right? Or if they are readers, they are quite dormant, perhaps even expired never to bloom again.


I am not talking about those busy times we all have when we just cannot seem to find a minute to read. I am talking about not finding time over and over and over again. My colleague Karin Perry and I have been surveying educators for over a year. Sadly, what we have seen is that there are many educators who read maybe 1-2 books a month. With 7500 or so books published annually for K-12 audiences, this total of say 25 or so represents .003 reading of the books published each year. I manage to get to about 10% myself, so I am not holding myself up as a shining example. But I do read more than .003. How could I expect to help kids find books if I read only a couple dozen each year? How can I recommend books at all if I am not reading from the K-12 books?

So, I plan to do the verb again this year. I hope all of you will join me.
 
 
Current Location: Austin-home
Current Mood: thinking
 
 
professornana
26 July 2015 @ 05:09 pm
The sermon this morning was about the story of the loaves and fishes as well as the first reading story about another such multiplication from the Old Testament. The homilist spoke about archetypes and motifs though he did not use those terms exactly. He talked about how different gospels reported the same event in slightly different terms. Per usual, in addition to thinking about the readings, my thoughts also turned to books and reading. I guess I have a one-track mind.

Sometimes when I read a book, I notice something different than another reader. And that is as it should be. I bring myself and my experiences to the text (see Rosenblatt and not CCSS for this). Another reader does not have the same experiences and background I do and might pick up on other elements of the story. Who is right? If you were to believe some critics, there is a correct answer. If you listen to the authors, though, there is not one correct reading.

Now this does not mean that reading is a free-for-all. I need to be able to discuss my reading, pointing to the text and to other texts that might have colored my reading. I cannot just make up a theme or motif. I need to be able to support my reading and interpretation.This also means that someone else's take is just as valid if he or she is able to do the same.

That leads to one of my pet peeves (I have a million of them). Often, I see the question posed, "What is the theme of the story?"

That question should be, "What is one possible theme from this story?"

Consider WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. Here is a 32 page picture book that demonstrates that the second question is better. When I met FTF with my classes, we spent a long time with this book. We discussed themes, illustrations, and the physical characteristics of the book itself.

If I view a text through the eyes of another reader, often I will encounter more meaning, more thematic clues, more things to examine more fully. As this new school year approaches, I hope we will try to view books through the eyes of a child, to be open to their take on the reading. To say, I see," in response to their own responses.
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Current Location: home
Current Mood: considering
 
 
professornana
25 July 2015 @ 05:51 pm
Had a message from a friend who said that, despite the labels on ARCs and the publishers' messages about not selling them, technically it is not illegal. I stand corrected. So let me state it this way for those who would parse the requests:

IT IS UNETHICAL TO BUY AND SELL ARCs. IT SHOULD BE ILLEGAL. No one should have to tell you that, those of you who have no qualms about buying and selling. Those who elect to ignore the wishes of the publisher (who was magnanimous enough to give out the books) are not being professional. And now, I will turn back to my next ARC of the day so that I can float it on next week.
 
 
Current Location: home
Current Mood: chastened
 
 
professornana
25 July 2015 @ 03:35 pm
The post from yesterday created some interesting discussion on Facebook. Mr. Schu sent me a link to another interesting eBay offer for a Kate DiCamillo illegal sale:


eBay has been notified; the sellers have been scolded (thanks to the folks who did that), but eBay still does nothing to keep this from occurring. The logical question is, "WHY?" The answer is simple: money is made here. There is not only a seller (and a company willing to allow a listing despite its illegality), there are buyers. So, let me be perfectly clear.

IT IS ILLEGAL TO PURCHASE ARCs. Let me say that again so that everyone understands: BUYING AN ARC IS ILLEGAL. If there is not a market, perhaps some of this illegal activity will cease. Supply and demand and all that.

Some folks talked about being collectors and wanting to have the ARC. I get that. Find a way to obtain an ARC legally, please. I donate ARCs to schools and pass them on to colleagues and friends. My pals know to speak up when they see me post about a book in ARC format. They raise their hands, and I am happy to mail them one of my friends when I can. I am taking a couple of dozen ARCs and even more F&Gs (picture books in prepublication are called this for "folded and gathered") to the Literacy Palooza this coming week. We are using these for some activities about books and reading over the course of the two days. The ones we do not use, we will leave with the participants who are free to use them with students. But we will also tell them that they may not see ARCs.

A final word (for now) about ARCs. Many people ask why I receive them. Here are some answers to that question.

1. I review for Booklist, VOYA, SIGNAL, and some other publications. Often, I am sent ARCs for this as the reviews take a while to get into print. This way the books are still relatively new.

2. I do some projects for publishers who will send me ARCs for the project. I just completed a series of 12 book mark book talks on forthcoming books from HarperCollins. So, I read 12 books well in advance of publication.

3. I present workshops across Texas and across the country and at conferences and I. TALK. ABOUT. BOOKS. I am what is known as a Big Mouth (or a Loud Mouth). When I talk about a book, some folks might actually order it. It is publicity, and publishers appreciate word getting out past the few who receive the ARC.

I know I am lucky. I truly appreciate receiving these ARCs. To show my appreciation, I tweet about them, blog about them, put them on Facebook, include them in presentations. At the ILA conference in St. Louis, I stood at a table and encouraged folks to pick up some ARCs they were examining. I did booktalks (totally unsolicited) to help teachers make the decision to take the ARC (and, I hope, read them). I read the ARCs. I talk about them. I pass them along. It took me some years to get to this point. I have been doing this for a quarter of a century. I think I am starting to get good at it.

I will continue to receive books and ARCs and pass them along, FREE. I urge all of you to do the same.
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Current Location: home
Current Mood: irritatedirritated