Bears Make the Best Reading Buddies by Carmen Oliver is a book about a girl and her unusual friend that helps her to enjoy her reading time. The pictures depict this reading buddy as a bear, and Adelaide describes how her bear is such a good buddy. Yet the book as a whole seems to be about much more. It’s about how to find a comfortable way to sit and read. It’s about how to get the most out of reading time. And although it seems to be a story about a girl and a bear, it is really a great introduction for kids in how a “buddy” can help you enjoy reading practice. Continue Reading
Thirty Million Words by Dana Suskind is about the literacy project of the same name that focuses on improving children’s access to language from day one. In the first three years of life, children should hear 30 million words to improve their chances for learning and growth for their entire life!
I enjoyed reading the research and hearing the personal stories from the authors about ways in which a broad exposure to vocabulary helps children for many years. It was fascinating to learn how exposure to language in the first years makes such a difference in all the years that follow. It is not preschool or early intervention programs that make a difference: rather, the change come when kids were exposed before the age of three!
After sharing the studies and research that has proven their point, the authors then provide ideas on how parents can help their children be exposed to even more language from the start. Their three-fold mission emphasizes the need to “tune in” (that is, pay attention), “talk more” (that is, narrate regular daily life), and “take turns” (that is, listen and respond to the noises and words the child makes). I loved this reminder. Since I have a new baby right now, I’ve delighted in seeking extra ways to interact with her.
The sweet smiles she gives me in return are a fine reward for the time I take to try and expose her to 30,000,000 words before her third birthday!
Thirty Million Words is highly recommended!
Note: I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.
So We Read On by Maureen Corrigan (Little, Brown and Company, September 2014) is a tribute and examination of the often-named Great American Novel, The Great Gatsby. Ms Corrigan is a true fan of the Fitzgerald’s slim novel, and in her tribute to the work, she reviews not just the content of the book and the context in which it was written, but she goes beyond to ask the question: why did this novel become so popular today, when it was so unimpressive to the first reviewers and readers?
It’s obvious that Ms Corrigan enjoys reading and rereading the work. As an avid reader myself, I too have found myself drawn back to Gatsby many times since my first read of it in my Junior year in high school, during which time I spent an extended amount of time researching and writing about Nick Carraway’s relationship to the text. I had to revisit it in college at least once, and I’ve reread it a few times in adulthood as well. I can’t say that I love Gatsby, though, and I cannot imagine spending the time in a theater listening to an actor recite the entire book from memory. What is about Gatsby that draws me in, even though I can’t say that I even like it?
The emphasis is on letting children choose their books while providing guidance as experts in children’s literature. Our goal is to help our students (or children) recognize what they would enjoy most. Continue Reading