professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Given the recent series of posts based on questions posed by Paul Hankins (and followed up in this post by Paul here: I thought I would follow Paul's example and talk about how I support youth literature. I hope Paul will forgive that I am mirroring many of the ways he stays connected. I think if we were to survey our like-minded colleagues, these ways would show up over and over again. Some of them are items Donalyn Miller writes about in READING IN THE WILD, ways that our students can become wild readers, lifelong readers, members of the reading club.

Staying Connected to Literature for Children, Tweens, and Teens

1. I stay connected by staying current. I read as many new books as I can. I love taking a stack of picture books and diving into them. I often set aside time at the office to have lunch with picture books. During the half hour I take for lunch, I can read several picture books. On days when the weather nixes venturing out, I can read a book or two or sometimes three.

2. I stay connected by being part of several reading communities. I participate in #bookaday regularly. I am part of the Nerdy Book Club and, like Paul, sometimes get the thrill of writing a post for them. I read as part of my committee work. I am reading with my ears currently as part of my work on the Audies. But I am also serving now on the Cybills YA Nonfiction Committee and reading the 5 finalists (THE PRESIDENT HAS BEEN SHOT, BREAKFAST ON MARS, IMPRISONED: THE BETRAYAL OF JAPANESE AMERICANS DURING WORLD WAR II, THE BOY ON THE WOODEN BOX, and THE BRONTE SISTERS).

3. I stay connected by presenting workshops. I have two presentations in January and a couple more in February which will allow me to talk about books and reading to hundreds of teachers and librarians. Some sessions are an hour, some three, some all-day. No matter the topic, books will work their way into the presentation. I have done this for as long as I can remember. I anticipate doing it until I can no longer recall titles and authors.

4. I stay current by putting in the time. I speak about books. I write about books in columns, online, in my blogs, and in the books and chapters I write. But FIRST, I spend the time reading. I have read 25 books so far this year. I keep a running record of what I read (mostly so I will not forget a titles). I make time to read. I never talk about a book I have not read (and found valuable in some way for some reader).

5. I stay current by connecting new books with older titles. I wrote READING LADDERS because I cannot help but make connections between and among books. When I read a new book I am often struck by flashes of connections to older titles. A character will remind me of an old favorite; the themes will connect. Sometimes it is simply an odd reference point or a chance mention that will make me recall an older book. As the Girl Scouts sing, "Make new friends, but keep the old." I do that with books, too.

Thanks again, Paul, for the chance to reflect on reading and be aware of our need to be intention-al.
Tags: connections
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