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Enabling the CCSS version of exemplary adolescent literacy.
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Shanahan on Literacy: Close Reading: A Video Replay

Shanahan on Literacy: Close Reading: A Video Replay | AdLit | Scoop.it

Last week I dinged that video for claiming that close reading is a teaching technique (it's an approach to reading). I was critical of the idea that close reading helps students “conquer complex text,” if that includes language complexity as measured by Lexiles. I didn’t like the idea of reading the book to the kids; I’m a fan of reading texts to kids (see recent NewYork Times article on this), but not the texts the kids are supposed to be reading. Finally, I didn’t like how rereading was being approached.  Here is the rest of my thinking about this lesson. Hope it’s useful to you.


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Why Are We Embarrassed To Have Guilty Pleasure Reads?

Why Are We Embarrassed To Have Guilty Pleasure Reads? | AdLit | Scoop.it
Why are we so precious about what we read? Admitting to a guilty pleasure TV shows is the stuff of Cool Girl celebrity profiles. Plenty of brilliant women are open about the "Real Housewives" backlog on their DVRs, but loving un-literary bo...

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 27, 2014 2:11 PM

26 November 2014

 

PREFACE: When I began writing this blog, I had no idea that it would wind up being a Thanksgiving appreciation for the efforts of so many teachers with whom I have been blessed to know and work with for what is now the last 46 years.

_____

 

Now about that article...

 

Yes! Why do we feel this way? The answer is that somewhere along the line, we've come in contact with "junk lit" scorn. Okay, I just made up that term. Can it be "Lit" and "Junk" simultaneously? My mom had a more direct term when I expressed early interest in Mad Magazine. She called it "garbage" which I came to believe was the polite synonym for my father's term, "crap."

 

This is not to say that they did not encourage me to read. I was a pretty dedicated reader early on. Regular trips to the library that involved a 20 mile round trip journey; permission to check out any book I wanted without question granted, perhaps on the assumption that libraries wouldn't have "garbage" or "crap" available for kids to check out. 

 

(no segue/transition intended)

 

I've often downplayed my enthusiasm for Chanukah's eight days of gifts; citing new socks as a bad day for Chanukah. But, the one Chanukah tradition I cherished was the sure fire gift that I knew was  coming every year was the World Almanac. To me it represented hours and hours of interesting "trivia" ahead. I couldn't wait to dig into this goldmine of fascinating information. Though I knew my first stop would be the sports section where I'd explore all sorts of sports records, I also knew that "one thing would lead to another" and before long, I'd be exploring all sorts of areas for which I had not previously found reasons to find interesting. But I did NOT read the almanac so voraciously to learn. I read it because it was so interesting. Learning was a by-product.

 

I loved my parents. I loved their encouragement for me to be a reader. But, when I discovered Mad Magazine I could not help but become deceitful and ashamed of myself every time I went to my friend's home and devoured his collection of Mad Magazines that his parents, also wonderful parents; apparently did not have such objection to as my parents had.

 

I believed that my mom and dad were good and caring parents. I didn't really question their beliefs on the matter. I just figured that Mad Magazine's uniquely edgy brand of comic book must be at the heart of their concern. So, I felt embarrassed and ashamed that I had begun to resort to a kind of deception that in my heart I could find no way to justify.

 

For the most part, I willing read the stories my teachers asked us to read. They ranged in my perception from "interesting" to "okay I guess" to let's just say "not so interesting." I generally liked my teachers and felt that they, like my parents, had my best interests in mind. But, there were sprinkled throughout my school years, "experiences" where I was led to believe that some of my personal reading favorites were not considered by some of my teachers as being worthwhile. Some books I read were not accepted as being "challenging enough" for credit in an outside reading project; even at times when others were considered much "too challenging" for a person of my age. 

 

I even had an experience where my honesty was questioned by a teacher who suspected that I couldn't possibly have read a book that I wanted recorded on my "outside reading" chart. My teacher with a kind, yet sort of suspicious tone wanted to know why in the world I would have chosen to read a book on Jewish participation in the Civil War, pointing out it's clear lack of fitting the pattern of other books I'd already taken credit for in my outside reading. 

 

No. It wasn't the obvious to those who know me. Though raised as a Jew by parents whose own connection to their faith had thinned to the point where they thought it right to give us "some" degree of religious experience. But, that was limited to the high holidays and Sunday School. We rarely went to Sabbath services. I was not destined to be required to have a Bar Mitzvah. Truthfully, I perceived my Judaism as a reason to feel like a "liked outcast" among my friends and classmates. My being Jewish wasn't why I read the book. 

 

But at the same time I didn't want to admit to my teacher that I had not actually CHOSEN to read the book, but rather chose it as the least potentially boring book for my Sunday School teacher's assigned reading. In my naive mind, I thought I'd get in trouble for claiming the book because it didn't really meet my understanding of "a book of my choice." 

 

I was being surreptitious and deceitful. I was in that space where being embarrassed and being ashamed were not distinguishable in my mind. And, I was a good kid. I wanted to be a good kid and I still believed that both my "regular teachers and my "Sunday School" teachers as well as my parents and others like them knew better than I. So the combination of my inherent respect for them and my limited comprehension of pretty much everything, added up to a facet of my love of reading that I believed I really ought to be ashamed of. And this was amplified by my inability to be mature enough to "do the right thing." I found myself borrowing Mad Magazines from my friend, hiding them under my shirt and then between my mattresses so that I could indulge in the the guilty pleasure of reading materials that I knew would greatly disappoint my parents should my deceitful behavior be discovered. I was guilt-ridden but could not stop... and sometimes could not sleep.

 

In middle school (it was called Junior High School in those days), my love of reading served me well. This was not because I was eager to learn. I actually wasn't. I was just a well-behaved kid who was a good reader. 

 

It was then that another factor became "clear" to me. Many of my classmates had not developed a love of reading. Many were obviously struggling readers at best. And, they seemed to be being treated as "bad students" because they were so far behind where "they should be." And, some of those kids, happened to be friends of mine because we'd played a local version of little league together or had been in cub scouts together. And many of those kids had been raised in Mexican or Filipino families with limited incomes and in multi-generational homes where the family's English skills  ranged from fairly competent second language skills to parents with very limited English skills and grandparents without English skills at all. Many even had worked in the nearby fields picking cucumbers or roses to add to the family income while both of their parents worked one or more jobs in the fields or nearby canneries. Reading may have actually been a luxury given either money or English proficiency or their own or their parents' time availability. 

 

Regardless of whatever reasons had existed for those kids who had "fallen behind" in their reading skills, I knew many of them as friends and buddies. And, I knew that like the "good readers, most of them were really nice people and a few of them were not so nice at times.

 

By Junior High School, friendships as well as the fear of bullies, takes on a very influential role in a young boy's "moral compass." 

_____

NOTE: Having neither sisters nor female cousins, I was completely ignorant about how my female classmates most of whom were good readers were influenced by their female classmates who were struggling readers; few of whom were girls. 

_____

 

Those friendships and fears of bullies led me to be quite receptive to peer pressures. Reading books was a subject of teasing from some classmates; friends or foes; struggling or proficient readers. And, I found myself keeping my reading habits to myself and translating my interest into an ever present potential for public humiliation should it be discovered.

_____

 

NOTE: see "OK, Johnny Can Read. So Why Doesn't He?" by Adrian McCoy (http://www.post-gazette.com/ae/2007/08/27/OK-Johnny-can-read-So-why-doesn-t-he/stories/200708270224)

_____

 

Much of my embarrassment/shame/guilt is easy to understand if one considers what the world looks like through the eyes of many typical pre- and pubescent boys. And therein lies what I suppose is the source of my contemplations about this scooped article.

 

Ironically much of the embarrassment, guilt and shame in guilty pleasure reading has roots in the well-intended efforts of those who care most about us; our parents, teachers, and friends. 

 

Those of us who are today parents, teachers, and friends might do well to keep in mind that kids are in the midst of transitioning from the innocence and its inherent naiveté regarding academic interest and receptiveness. And, this transition occurs at very different rates for very many reasons. 

 

Though we who teach literature have in general gotten past such naive understandings of the value of being a reader, we might glance backwards to see whether we, ourselves were struggling students in some "other" area as I had been in math and grammar (as in passing grammar rule tests at least).  I've had multiple experiences with colleagues in the Language Arts department who still harbor beliefs that they just aren't any good at math or science. Or, has quite often been the case while wearing my technology support hat, teachers who express serious discomfort about their ability to "learn about computers." 

 

Perhaps some of my childhood teachers considered me a to be a struggling student even in my English classes. Unlike reading and probably because I had read so much, I figured I could speak English "good enough" and therefore really couldn't find much of reason to find interest in learning the difference between an adverb, adjective, direct object, or dangling modifier. So, those exercises in sentence diagramming were summarily pre-judged as being nothing more than "bafflingly stupid" to me.  It wasn't really the fault of my well-intended English teachers. I never gave grammar a chance. Unlike my love of reading, I never discovered  "perceivable reasons" to find enjoyment in grammar. 

 

I was one of those students who was quick to judge some subjects as interesting and others as boring. And, my report cards generally reflected that youthful lack of maturity. And, too often my lack of interest manifested itself in defense mechanisms that included sarcasm, scorn, and even condemnation and teasing of my fellow students who happened to do well in those subjects.

 

Was I struggling or lazy as a few teachers and counselors suggested? Or was I truly just not very smart? 

 

In retrospect, I wasn't struggling. One has to try to struggle. I just didn't care. I knew I was smart and not without capability. As to being lazy...OK I bought that appraisal. But, try as I might, my interest in being popular by being the friendly class clown seemed to bring me more rewards than being more diligent about my studies in the areas where "just passing" was good enough.

 

I came around eventually.

 

Though I lost my father when I was twelve, there were little league coaches, parents of some good friends who cared enough to fill a bit of the void left by my father's death and my mother's deep grief. And, there were a few great teachers who not just the content they were tasked with bringing to our attention, but who also had mastered art of bringing kids like me through that crazy cocoon of obliviousness that is a boy's life.

 

There were those who thought of me as struggling or lazy, or just not that good at math or grammar or other areas of study. But, there were also those who saw a late bloomer and invested caring in a goofball kid who didn't quite understand his own potential. 

 

And, it is to those teachers in particular that I dedicated my own teaching career where I wanted to be for my own students what Mr. Kay and Ms Fitzgerald, and Mr. Tinling, and Ms Conley, and Mr. Green, and Miss Sai, and other compassionate and caring teachers had been for me.

 

These are among the many reasons why I am thankful on this Thanksgiving day.

 

I hope your Thanksgiving is joyful and that you know that you may well be being remembered fondly today by former students in whose lives you played such an important role. 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.

 

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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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17 Writers On The Importance Of Reading

17 Writers On The Importance Of Reading | AdLit | Scoop.it
"Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them." —Lemony Snicket

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, November 7, 2014 6:07 PM

7 November 2014

 

Oh what a delicious collection of quotes delivered to the mind's table with exquisite presentation.

 

These quotes are large enough to download and share with students. 

 

OR... to have students peruse in search of the single quote that most appeals to them.

 

A tip... tell the kids they can only pick ONE to call their favorite. Why? because it's easy to toss those without appeal. But extremely difficult to toss those with tremendous appeal. 

 

Just tell them the rules are they can ONLY pick one. Why? Because when forced to choose between two quotes (or maybe even three) they are forced into a sort of contemplative mode where they really have to weigh the reasons why both (or each) has such a strong appeal. 

 

And, in doing so, they will leave with an enhanced appreciation for all of the best ones. Rather than merely crossing out all but one and then not really exploring the source of any of the quote's attraction for them.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.org ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit.

"We appreciate your tax-deductible donations!"

Chéri Vausé's curator insight, November 10, 2014 6:08 PM

Reading is essential to writers, and not just for doing research. You can become hackneyed, in a rut, write in directionless formulas if you don't keep up and read someone else's style of prose. Authors, therefore, should read more than readers. Yes, that is exactly what I said. You will never grow as a writer if you don't read. As for reading junk, keep it to a minimum, for that could also keep you from reaching higher with your prose, from challenging you to writer better and better.

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Can we read with our ears? - Innovate My School

Can we read with our ears? - Innovate My School | AdLit | Scoop.it
Different students have different ways of learning, and this is absolutely true for literacy. Jules Daulby, whose wheelhouse includes SEN and English teaching, discusses how a certain amount of pupils are best learning with their ears...

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Beth Dichter's curator insight, July 3, 2014 10:08 AM

This post begins:

"In order to be an effective reader, two skills are required:

  • the ability to decode or make sense of letter / sound correspondences 
  • the ability to comprehend or understand the meaning of the text"

The post also provides access to an interview with Dr. Keith Stanovich who "argues that reading improves ‘crystallized intelligence’ and compares children who do not learn to read with those who do, by using ‘the Matthew Effect’ analogy."

The question remains, how do we help students whom do not read well, who have difficulty decoding text? We need to seriously consider the options, which include aural text (as in text that is read to students).

This issue is close to my heart. We want our students to be successful, yet we do not provide tools that are readily available to all who would benefit from them. This post looks at resources that are available in England for struggling readers. I will add a number of resources that are available in the US, and others may add resources for their countries in the comment section.

The question that each of us must answer is should we advocate for our students who are struggling with their reading skills to be able to use TTS (text-to-speech) programs that provide them with the ability to listen to the text and understand the text, without necessarily relying on their decoding skills? Do we give them the opportunity to level the playing field? By providing students with access to text that meets their learning style, we have given them the opportunity to be successful.

Today there are many free (or low cost) tools available that allow students to have text read to them. In the US two key players that help provide text to students (think books) with diagnosed reading disabilities are Bookshare, which provides free access to many books as well as TTS software and Learning Ally, which has many resources for students with dyslexia but may also require a membership fee. Additional sites to check out are Natural Voice Reader, which will read digitized text directly from a website and Rewordify, which will simplify the text.

Do you know free (or low cost) tools that help struggling readers? Please share them in the comment section.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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13 Poetry Collections For People Who Think They Don't Like Poetry

13 Poetry Collections For People Who Think They Don't Like Poetry | AdLit | Scoop.it
When I was first asked to make a list of poetry collections for people who think they don't like poetry, my first thought was, "Well, isn't that just about everyone?" Not quite--I do have nearly 2,000 friends on Facebook, of whom the majori...

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, April 2, 2014 2:47 PM

2 April 2014

It's no secret that poetry's audience is,... well,...you know, um, let's just say small. There were few teachers in my own education who managed to crack my own resistant wall to poetry; at least the poetry that they felt had to be read in the obstacle course of crossing the diploma line.

 

I'm not saying that I welcomed the opportunity to become enlightened by the, whatever it was that poetry brought to one's quality of life. Truthfully, my personal appraisal of poetry as a way to expend one's remaining minutes of existence wasn't worth listening to.

 

But immaturity and adamant ignorance, high volume buffoonery absolute confidence that popularity gained via a sort of daring, yet charming class clownishness are real variables affecting one's young judgment in many cases.

 

Poetry may have been ready for me to wake up. But, I just wasn't ready to wake up for poetry.

 

That is until  in the meanderings of my day to day obliviousness I was found myself occasionally  in the right place at the right time with a good reason to let my guard down. 

 

Do I regret my Metrophobic resistance? I don't know. There are so many roads taken and not taken; perhaps as many missed opportunities as those that were serendipitous.

 

__________

OKAY, my relationship with poetry aside, I must admit that I'm a big fan of digression ala Holden Caufield chapter 24. While writing that last paragraph, the original phrasing in the first sentence was "Do I regret my poetry-phobic resistance?" And, then I thought, "Geez, probably most people reading this are English teachers, maybe I shouldn't embarrass myself anymore than I do anyway and check to see if there actually is a fear of poetry phobia." So, off on a serendipitous digression I went. Not only is there a word, "metro phobia," but the first website I went to (http://phobias.about.com/od/phobiaslist/a/metrophobia.htm) had this to say about it in it's opening paragraph.

 

"Metrophobia, or the fear of poetry, is surprisingly common. Many people first develop this phobia in school, when overzealous teachers encourage them to rank poems according to artificial scales, break them down and search for esoteric meanings. Others simply feel that poetry is somehow “beyond” them, belonging only to the realm of the pretentious and highly educated."

 

Something to think about as we do our best to promote  Poetry month.

__________

 

And with that digression the intended trajectory of these comments shifted....

 

What if I revisited my own perceptions of my early lack of interest in poetry based upon that first paragraph about Metrophobia quoted above.Maybe, I had actually liked poetry given my fairly early enjoyment of Dr. Seuss (except for the inevitable scary pages). Maybe I found those early and risqué encounters with limericks quite interesting. Maybe it was that Pelican poem my father taught me....You know the one that goes...

 

A wonderful bird is the pelican,

His bill will hold more than his belican

He can take in his beak

Enough food for a week

But I'm damned if I see how the helican!

 

Oh it was my dad telling me a funny poem that actually used references to the words "damn" and "hell." And, it was so clever in rhyming "pelican" with "belly can" and "hell it can." 

 

Long before the phrase even existed, this brand of "out of the box thinking" captivated my imagination.

 

And maybe it was the assumption of accepted practice in teaching literary analysis, like frog dissection, was the obvious way to get kids to appreciate poetry rather than one very effective way to take the inherent wonderfulness out of poetry and kill it as dead as that frog we were dissecting in biology class.

 

But, as I look back on my own oscillating interest in poetry, there are recollections (some perhaps embarrassing others not) of key experiences that brought me out of the fog where instant rejection reigned supreme. And, the list made it very clear to me that everyone's journey to literary appreciation varies. What "did it" for me was a unique experience. The specific literary pieces that worked for me worked because of a complex interaction between the works themselves, the readiness I  had for being receptive, the influences of my own personal experiences' and perceptions of those experiences on my zone of proximal development and the artistry of those educators, friends, and real or imagined girl friends.

 

For what it's worth... among the most paradigm-altering experiences with poetry in my own journey were the following:

The Beatles' Eleanor Rigby

John Denver

Bob Dylan

Woody Guthrie

e.e.cummings

Shel Silverstein

Dr. Seuss

Joe Cocker's You are so Beautiful

"Stories and Prose Poems" by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Langston Hughes' "Harlem" (A Dream Deferred)

LeRoi Jones (I don't even remember the specific poem, but I do remember that it slammed up against the wall and made me think about things)

Gordon Parks

Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken

and even Rod McKuen

 

And, now, curiously, I find myself remembering more and more as I look for a spot to stop adding to the list. But, you can probably see what I'm seeing.

 

It was the 60's  And, I'm convinced that it was because the bridge between where I was and the poetry I"m remembering was a short bridge. I found that bridge "crossable." And, I found that in crossing that bridge, that nearby slightly longer bridges were more interesting than I'd previously thought they might be. 

 

e.e. cummings, Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, limericks, and that Pelican poem my dad used to ask me if I'd ever heard every time we saw a pelican and I asked my own children every time we saw a pelican.all intrigued me in their "at the edge" of word play and out of the box thinking.

 

Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie led me to Woody Guthrie, Alan Lomax, and T.S.Eliot. Mark Twain's War Prayer.

 

But, the question is, "Is my particular journey from poetry-resistant to poetry-interest a prescription as in here-are-the-poems-that-got-me-so-they're-the-poems-I-should-teach?"

 

Of course not. But, they do suggest that for many, the journey to appreciation for the unappreciative might have some remarkable similarities to my journey if we find a way to begin with lyrics, and poetry, and word play, and childhood memories and experiences to which they already have a welcoming receptiveness.

 

And, what I can say is that although I am not a believer in the infallibility of data-driven decision making, I can't help but suggest that IF POETRY is worth teaching, then the data seems to be indicating that we are having a disturbingly low success rate for our efforts in promoting poetry as a welcome addition to our students' life-long reading practice.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

Olivia Sica's curator insight, October 31, 2014 11:47 AM

If you think you don't like poetry... 

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The Pedagogies of Reading and Not Reading

The Pedagogies of Reading and Not Reading | AdLit | Scoop.it

 

I never assume students aren’t reading because of laziness. I never work to fill the gaps of their not reading with shame. Like teaching and learning, reading cannot be compulsory.

 

 

 


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Miloš Bajčetić's curator insight, March 16, 2014 6:22 AM

"Not reading is serious scholarly business. It is a crucial part of the work of critics, students, teachers, and reviewers. Pierre Bayard writes that not reading constitutes “our primary way of relating to books. We must not forget that even a prodigious reader never has access to more than an infinitesimal fraction of the books that exist.” Stephen Ramsay writes similarly in “The Hermeneutics of Screwing Around; or What You Do with a Million Books,” “The world is vast. Art is long. What else can we do but survey the field, introduce a topic, plant a seed.”

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from Google Lit Trips: Reading About Reading
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How To Read Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible

How To Read Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible | AdLit | Scoop.it
Soon you could read all 309 pages of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in under 77 minutes. Yes, you.

To get through it that quickly (a pace of 1,000 words a minute) you'll have to use an about-to-be released app and forgo the ide...

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, February 28, 2014 12:49 PM

28 February 2014

I took an Evelyn Woods speed reading course some 40 years ago. I don't know if it was a result of my having inherited Strabismus (the fancy word for being cross-eyed) or not. but it sort of worked, for awhile anyway.

 

Though it could have been what I've come to know as symptoms associated with ADHD. I've always had a "wandering mind" which  in those days was generally wrapped in the indefensible "Jerome has trouble paying attention."

 

Ironically, I've come to the realization that although I always accepted the "wrongness" of my alternate attentiveness, it was and continues to be more of a "hyper attentiveness." A teacher might say something in passing that caught my attention in such a way that I'd lock onto the comment and automatically start thinking about it and rolling the idea around in my mind sort of like a little kid intrigued by a rolly polly bug. Time would "stop" as I simply tinkered with whatever it was that I had found intriguing and then where ever it was that that intrigue took me. 

 

And then, usually, moments or minutes later in the back of my consciousness a sort of "distant echoey sound" snapped me out of that pleasant mental meandering.

 

"Jerome! are you paying attention!" and I'd shake my head In a fashion very similar to the way kids try to shake the sleepy bugs out of their minds upon first awakening from a pleasant dream and realize that for however long the contemplation had been, it had been wrapped in a body that appeared to be sitting in some sort of glazed posture appearing to be staring out of the window.instead of "sitting up straight and concentrating on what the teacher was saying as I should have been."

 

I was a reader early on. My parents attempted to be diligent about what I wasn't allowed to read (aka comic books). it wasn't confrontational. I accepted their judgment, but did enjoy reading my friends' comic books when the chance arose. 

 

I was a "good"  reader, but a slow reader. The family had driven the 20 mile round trip to the library  once or twice a week  for as long as I could remember. I'd come home with as many as six or seven chapter books and be eager to decide which one I'd start first. Yet I was a slow reader, not hesitant; not reluctant, not struggling. Just slow as in eating a delicious meal slowly to postpone the inevitability of sooner or later reaching the last bite of a good meal or a delicious story.

 

The only pacing guide in my personal reading was the "DUE DATE" card the library placed in checked out books. But even that did not force me to read fast as I was perfectly aware of the fact that any book I'd checked out but not gotten around to reading could simply be re-checked out on our next trip to the library. 

 

Eventually the pressure at school to "get through" the reading assignment, engaging or not, led me to the discovery of skimming, and in history, now a favorite subject but not so much then, to discovering that reading the bold text and first sentence following the bold text was generally sufficient to be able to appear as though I'd read the assignment during the next day's class discussion.

 

And, though I never shared it with friends, I knew this was "cheating" so I would often make the attempt to "really do the reading." And, I kept it a secret that I would often find myself in the middle of a paragraph realizing that though I had actually read every page to that point, that I would "wake up" in much the same fashion as I had when a teacher snapped me out of my "staring out the window" days in earlier grades, and I'd realize that I had read, but in some bizarre way also not paid any attention to what I was reading. I'd re-read the paragraph and wonder what it was about and find myself flipping backwards in pages looking for the last thing I remembered having read. Sometimes it was several pages. 

 

It wasn't until much later that I discovered that this is not an uncommon phenomenon among my students.

 

You may have suspected for awhile, that this blog itself seems to only have a distant connection to the scooped article. But, that's sort of how it has always been. Reading "A" does not always lead to reading "B" then "C" and so on. Reading "A" often leads to discovering some sort of connection in an interest in thinking about "B" and "infinity" and "$%$#^"  and a "vacation memory." 

 

So, back to the article. we've all contemplated the distinctions between paper-based reading and digital reading. My position has been to suggest that this is a false issue in many ways and the tug-o-war between the opposing proponents can be much more harmful than helpful. 

 

As I read this article, being fairly-pro technology, my mind began meandering around the "other" reading issues.

 

Would this be good for getting through important reading when time is short and important reading is much and a must?

 

Would this be good for keeping up with pacing guides accepted as being by default a good thing whether or not they also have a down side?

 

Would this be good when broad attentiveness to important and trivial issues and trends of the day "require" that we live faster even if that causes us to read less deeply? 

 

Would this allow us to attend to more (as in quantity) important issues than we might have been able to attend to in the past?

 

And, what about the "slow movement" ( see this TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/carl_honore_praises_slowness.html: and this website: http://www.slowmovement.com that has become a counter movement to today's faster and faster "self=imposed pacing guide requirements that we often feel necessary for a successful life?

 

There is without a (current) doubt,  a need to get more done and to clear one's obligation plate more efficiently. We can not expect to live successfully in the 21st century without getting more accomplished more often on more fronts.

 

Yet there is also a need to allow more time to discover, to appreciate, to marinate in contemplation and consideration. 

 

So I'm neither condemning nor endorsing the technological "advance" offered by this article.

 

But, I'd like to turn this comment into a rhetorical or real request.

 

I have to assume that the length of this comment probably triggered at least a few immediate "Interesting maybe, but I don't have time to read this comment" abandonments; some immediate; others somewhere into the comments.

 

So I'm placing this request at the end of the article as a data/opinion collection effort.

 

If you choose to accept the requests, please leave a comment regarding...

 

REQUEST ONE: What benefits and drawbacks might there be in using this technology in education, particularly in the area of effective efforts to meet "the standards"?

 

REQUEST TWO: Try to go out of your way, now or very soon to watch the TED Talk linked to above.It is nineteen minutes long, but well worth watching.

 

By the way, if you haven't discovered this yet. TED Talks not only can show the transcript (think Informational Reading!) but while reading the transcript, clicking on any phrase automatically jumps to that point in the video above.

 

Now, I'll probably get back to the ton of work I was supposed to get done today because I didn't get it done yesterday, knowing full well that I'll probably be checking the Facebook, Scoop-it, Twitter, and LinkedIn sites where links to this post have been published  every 5 minutes or so just to see if there are any comments!

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

Jonathan Jarc's comment, March 3, 2014 9:01 PM
I think, or maybe I hope, that technology like this helps the struggling readers in a way that supports what we like to believe about technology in education, but sometimes don't always have more than a feeling to go on.
Loretta VU's curator insight, October 12, 2014 12:41 AM

Ok so you can read faster but what about comprehension? 

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The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens

The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens | AdLit | Scoop.it
E-readers and tablets are becoming more popular as such technologies improve, but research suggests that reading on paper still boasts unique advantages

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How to Teach Expository Text Structure to Facilitate Reading Comprehension

How to Teach Expository Text Structure to Facilitate Reading Comprehension | AdLit | Scoop.it
Over the past 60 years, reading comprehension has changed its emphasis from the mastery of skills and subskills that are learned by rote and automatized to a focus on learning strategies, which are adaptable, flexible, and, most important, in the control of the reader (Dole, Duffy, Roehler, & Pearson, 1991). One of the most efficient strategies for which there is an influx of research and practice is training students on text structure knowledge to facilitate their comprehension of the expository texts.

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Are E-Books Killing Reading For Fun?

Are E-Books Killing Reading For Fun? | AdLit | Scoop.it
Americans are reading differently than they used to.

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 25, 2014 9:57 AM

25 January 2014

 

Generally speaking NPR is one of my "GO TO" resources for reliable  information about "anything." So when I saw this headline in my daily search for scoopable online content, I was intrigued. 

 

Though the PEW Research Center report referenced is a pretty serious and deep and somewhat encouraging report  (see: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2014/E-Reading-Update/Overview.aspx) this six-minute audio seemed to cover the surface, but "failed to support the headline." It did not focus upon the implication of the headline that E-Books ARE killing reading for fun.

 

Actually, I'm trying to be a bit snarky here. The audio is worth listening to. It's the headline that bothers me. We all know that we often scan headlines looking for intriguing articles to read. Some do not create enough traction for us to consider reading, others get us to start but not finish reading, and still others get us to the article that is so intriguing that we read with attentive interest to the end.

 

This morning in my scan for articles, my eye was caught by several headlines and I began to wonder about headlines themselves.

 

A few examples, you can Google them all if any of the tiltes intrigue you...

 

BUT BEFORE you start Googling the titles, Try this.

1. Read the entire list of titles FIRST

2. Being mindful of your own initial reaction to the titles, review the titles and decide which you believe

 - will be articles promoting reading and which will be critical of reading.

 - which will support opinions you already hold and which will challenge your existing opinions

- which you will actually consider Googling so you can read them and which don't even create sufficient curiousity to read

- and finally (rhetorically) which will implant some sense that there really is evidence to support your opinions that you won't read but sub-consciously incorporate as proof that your opinion is justified by some authoritative expertise.

 

THEN read as you wish and when finished, which headlines planted biased opinions that might be dangerous if the article is not read at all or not read attentively. (Was the article WHETHER YOU AGREED WITH IT OR NOT reliant upon cherry-picking the evidence it relied upon for its conclusions? Did the article adequately address any counter-evidence WHETHER YOU AGREED WITH IT OR NOT?)

 

Well, as are all of my "commentary assignments" you may consider them only rhetorical. But, here's the list...

 

 

"Most American adults read a print book in the past year, even as e-reading continues to grow"

"Kids Aren't reading On Tablets"

"The Top 10 Books on Apple's iBooks"

 

"Book-crazy boy, 5, a budding literary critic"

 

"A brief guide to faking your way through literary classics when you haven't actually read them"

"Getting Rid of Books, Making Space for Life"

"Reading Books Is Fundamental"

 

"9 Video Games Based On Classic Literature"

 

"BEHIND TWO GOOD MOVIES, TWO GREAT BOOKS"

 

"CODE IS NOT LITERATURE"

 

"Why It's Important to Keep Reading Books By People Even If They're Monsters"

 

"Is American literature 'massively overrated"?

 

"Fla. Board of Ed weighs changes to Common Core"

 

"5 Questions To Evaluate Curriculum For Rigor"

 

"Holding Teachers Accountable For Decisions They Aren't Allowed to Make"

 

"The Peculiar Underworld of Rare-Book Thieves"

 

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

by GLT GLobal ED (dba Google Lit Trips) a 501c3 tax-exempt educational non profit encouraging learners to "READ THE WOR(L)D"

 

 

 

 

 

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Sweet Integrations

Sweet Integrations | AdLit | Scoop.it

"I used the Lit Trip Big Anthony: His Story so the students could visit the different places in Italy as Big Anthony struggled to find his Strega Nona. The students loved this activity. The students developed a more personal connection with the book."


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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 14, 2014 8:08 PM

14 January 2014

 

It's always so nice to see blog posts that endorse the Google Lit Trips project, particularly when they include references  to the student engagement.

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

Google Lit Trips is a legal business name for GLT Global ED, a 501c3 tax-exempt educational nonprofit

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The Complete Über-Geek's Guide to Reading Online

The Complete Über-Geek's Guide to Reading Online | AdLit | Scoop.it

"Healthy online reading habits require constant gardening. Every Internet company provides us a little plot to tend for, and that’s how they keep our attention where they want it. But the soil is pretty gross in most of them, and the seeds are tightly regulated. If we want to read healthily, we have to build our own info gardens.

The most important gardening task is deciding what to plant — that is, what sources to read — and that’s a personal choice. The topics, tone, and perspective of your information sources are for you to determine. But the bulk of the work is in building and tending the garden, and this guide will suggest some tools and methods to help. And with the gardening work out of the way, you’ll spend most of your time cooking, eating, and sharing. That’s the delicious part, and this guide will offer my best recipes."


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Howard Rheingold's curator insight, December 2, 2013 8:22 PM

Succinct, relevant, practical tips on online literacy skills from a skilled infotention practitioner.

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WATCH: What All Great Leaders Have In Common

WATCH: What All Great Leaders Have In Common | AdLit | Scoop.it
In one of the most popular TEDTalks of all time, Simon Sinek vividly illustrates the communication style that history's most influential people and organizations share.

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, December 7, 2013 9:13 AM

7 December 2013

A TRICKY QUESTION

Of the following, what might be the most important life lesson to teach and learn?

A. Knowing WHAT we do with our lives?

B. Knowing HOW we do what we do with our lives?

C. Knowing WHY we do what we do with our lives?

 

(PAUSE)

 

This TED Talk from 2009 may give us some insight about educational reform  from a quite different point of view than we are currently viewing educational reform.

 

And, I'm just wondering, given the premise of this speech, WHY in the world would we ever want to increase attention to literary reading in our schools?

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

Google Lit Trips is the legal fictitious business name for GLT Global ED, a 501c3 educational nonprofit

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How To Read: Step by Step Instructions to Pleasure Reading

How To Read: Step by Step Instructions to Pleasure Reading | AdLit | Scoop.it
Reading for your own enjoyment takes practice. I know it sounds a little crazy– but folks practice their hobbies all the time and why should recreational reading be any different? It can be hard today to turn off distractions and just read. So here is a practical guide; follow it and you will soon find yourself enjoying reading.

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Fifteen great audiobooks for helping kids read better ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Fifteen great audiobooks for helping kids read better ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning | AdLit | Scoop.it

"The puzzling question that is often posed when talking about audiobooks' integration in the teaching and learning of literacy is whether they have the same cognitive benefits as the actual reading. In other words , can listening to audiobooks be considered reading? ..."

©

 

 


Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc, Leona Ungerer
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Xuan Phan's curator insight, November 25, 2014 11:36 PM

Audiobooks is an amazing  learning tool for people of all ages, who enjoys reading or would like to improve their reading skills.

Craudio's curator insight, December 22, 2014 6:02 AM

Audiobooks in class room:

Introduce students to books above their reading levelModel good interpretive readingTeach critical listeningHighlight the humor in booksIntroduce new genres that students might not otherwise considerIntroduce new vocabulary or difficult proper names or localesSidestep unfamiliar dialects or accents, Old English, and old-fashioned literary stylesProvide a read-aloud modelProvide a bridge to important topics of discussion for parents and children who can listen together while commuting to sporting events, music lessons, or on vacationsRecapture "the essence and the delights of hearing stories beautifully told by extraordinarily talented storytellers" (Baskin & Harris, 1995, p. 376)

Audiobooks increase:

Reading comprehensionMotivationSelf-confidence
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Should we tailor difficulty of a school text to child’s comfort level or make them sweat?

Should we tailor difficulty of a school text to child’s comfort level or make them sweat? | AdLit | Scoop.it

This example of leveling—adjusting the difficulty of text to suit the ability of the reader—comes courtesy of Newsela, an online reading program for students in grade three through high school that offers stories about current events “written to multiple levels of complexity.” Although Newsela went live less than 18 months ago, the notion of leveling students’ reading material goes back more than six decades. Today, technology is changing the nature of this long-established pedagogical practice. At the same time, proponents of the Common Core are raising new questions about the educational value of leveling, seconding the standards’ emphasis on having all students grapple with the same “complex texts.”


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Dr. Dea Conrad-Curry's curator insight, October 16, 2014 12:19 PM

My thoughts: the Common Core does not promote having students read frustrating text all of the time. Indeed, the standards are about stretching our students' capacities but not at the risk of losing all motivation and curiosity to overbearing challenge. Balance is key to growing background knowledge, deepening reading comprehension (which depends on background knowledge), and strengthening reading persistence. Balance, please.

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Recommended History Reading for Students

Recommended History Reading for Students | AdLit | Scoop.it

ActiveHistory.co.uk just added 45 Graphic Novels to their "Wider Reading for History Students" list.

 


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In Search of Beowulf

In Search of Beowulf | AdLit | Scoop.it

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, March 21, 2014 9:12 PM

21 March 2014

 

Though true that Beowulf is undoubtedly not a true story, there is reason to believe that elements of the story are based upon historical places and events common to the legends of many of our oldest stories.

This Google Lit Trip is based upon the archeological work of Tom Christensen published under the title “Lejere: Beyond the Legend- the archeaological evidence.” Christensen’s work led to what may have been the model for the descriptions of The Long Hall” in Beowulf.

As you explore this Lit Trip, you can virtually travel to the archaeological site, view the locations mentioned, and read about the evidence upon which Christensen builds a rather convincing case.


 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

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How To Read Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible

How To Read Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible | AdLit | Scoop.it
Soon you could read all 309 pages of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" in under 77 minutes. Yes, you.

To get through it that quickly (a pace of 1,000 words a minute) you'll have to use an about-to-be released app and forgo the ide...

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, February 28, 2014 12:49 PM

28 February 2014

I took an Evelyn Woods speed reading course some 40 years ago. I don't know if it was a result of my having inherited Strabismus (the fancy word for being cross-eyed) or not. but it sort of worked, for awhile anyway.

 

Though it could have been what I've come to know as symptoms associated with ADHD. I've always had a "wandering mind" which  in those days was generally wrapped in the indefensible "Jerome has trouble paying attention."

 

Ironically, I've come to the realization that although I always accepted the "wrongness" of my alternate attentiveness, it was and continues to be more of a "hyper attentiveness." A teacher might say something in passing that caught my attention in such a way that I'd lock onto the comment and automatically start thinking about it and rolling the idea around in my mind sort of like a little kid intrigued by a rolly polly bug. Time would "stop" as I simply tinkered with whatever it was that I had found intriguing and then where ever it was that that intrigue took me. 

 

And then, usually, moments or minutes later in the back of my consciousness a sort of "distant echoey sound" snapped me out of that pleasant mental meandering.

 

"Jerome! are you paying attention!" and I'd shake my head In a fashion very similar to the way kids try to shake the sleepy bugs out of their minds upon first awakening from a pleasant dream and realize that for however long the contemplation had been, it had been wrapped in a body that appeared to be sitting in some sort of glazed posture appearing to be staring out of the window.instead of "sitting up straight and concentrating on what the teacher was saying as I should have been."

 

I was a reader early on. My parents attempted to be diligent about what I wasn't allowed to read (aka comic books). it wasn't confrontational. I accepted their judgment, but did enjoy reading my friends' comic books when the chance arose. 

 

I was a "good"  reader, but a slow reader. The family had driven the 20 mile round trip to the library  once or twice a week  for as long as I could remember. I'd come home with as many as six or seven chapter books and be eager to decide which one I'd start first. Yet I was a slow reader, not hesitant; not reluctant, not struggling. Just slow as in eating a delicious meal slowly to postpone the inevitability of sooner or later reaching the last bite of a good meal or a delicious story.

 

The only pacing guide in my personal reading was the "DUE DATE" card the library placed in checked out books. But even that did not force me to read fast as I was perfectly aware of the fact that any book I'd checked out but not gotten around to reading could simply be re-checked out on our next trip to the library. 

 

Eventually the pressure at school to "get through" the reading assignment, engaging or not, led me to the discovery of skimming, and in history, now a favorite subject but not so much then, to discovering that reading the bold text and first sentence following the bold text was generally sufficient to be able to appear as though I'd read the assignment during the next day's class discussion.

 

And, though I never shared it with friends, I knew this was "cheating" so I would often make the attempt to "really do the reading." And, I kept it a secret that I would often find myself in the middle of a paragraph realizing that though I had actually read every page to that point, that I would "wake up" in much the same fashion as I had when a teacher snapped me out of my "staring out the window" days in earlier grades, and I'd realize that I had read, but in some bizarre way also not paid any attention to what I was reading. I'd re-read the paragraph and wonder what it was about and find myself flipping backwards in pages looking for the last thing I remembered having read. Sometimes it was several pages. 

 

It wasn't until much later that I discovered that this is not an uncommon phenomenon among my students.

 

You may have suspected for awhile, that this blog itself seems to only have a distant connection to the scooped article. But, that's sort of how it has always been. Reading "A" does not always lead to reading "B" then "C" and so on. Reading "A" often leads to discovering some sort of connection in an interest in thinking about "B" and "infinity" and "$%$#^"  and a "vacation memory." 

 

So, back to the article. we've all contemplated the distinctions between paper-based reading and digital reading. My position has been to suggest that this is a false issue in many ways and the tug-o-war between the opposing proponents can be much more harmful than helpful. 

 

As I read this article, being fairly-pro technology, my mind began meandering around the "other" reading issues.

 

Would this be good for getting through important reading when time is short and important reading is much and a must?

 

Would this be good for keeping up with pacing guides accepted as being by default a good thing whether or not they also have a down side?

 

Would this be good when broad attentiveness to important and trivial issues and trends of the day "require" that we live faster even if that causes us to read less deeply? 

 

Would this allow us to attend to more (as in quantity) important issues than we might have been able to attend to in the past?

 

And, what about the "slow movement" ( see this TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/carl_honore_praises_slowness.html: and this website: http://www.slowmovement.com that has become a counter movement to today's faster and faster "self=imposed pacing guide requirements that we often feel necessary for a successful life?

 

There is without a (current) doubt,  a need to get more done and to clear one's obligation plate more efficiently. We can not expect to live successfully in the 21st century without getting more accomplished more often on more fronts.

 

Yet there is also a need to allow more time to discover, to appreciate, to marinate in contemplation and consideration. 

 

So I'm neither condemning nor endorsing the technological "advance" offered by this article.

 

But, I'd like to turn this comment into a rhetorical or real request.

 

I have to assume that the length of this comment probably triggered at least a few immediate "Interesting maybe, but I don't have time to read this comment" abandonments; some immediate; others somewhere into the comments.

 

So I'm placing this request at the end of the article as a data/opinion collection effort.

 

If you choose to accept the requests, please leave a comment regarding...

 

REQUEST ONE: What benefits and drawbacks might there be in using this technology in education, particularly in the area of effective efforts to meet "the standards"?

 

REQUEST TWO: Try to go out of your way, now or very soon to watch the TED Talk linked to above.It is nineteen minutes long, but well worth watching.

 

By the way, if you haven't discovered this yet. TED Talks not only can show the transcript (think Informational Reading!) but while reading the transcript, clicking on any phrase automatically jumps to that point in the video above.

 

Now, I'll probably get back to the ton of work I was supposed to get done today because I didn't get it done yesterday, knowing full well that I'll probably be checking the Facebook, Scoop-it, Twitter, and LinkedIn sites where links to this post have been published  every 5 minutes or so just to see if there are any comments!

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED an educational nonprofit

Jonathan Jarc's comment, March 3, 2014 9:01 PM
I think, or maybe I hope, that technology like this helps the struggling readers in a way that supports what we like to believe about technology in education, but sometimes don't always have more than a feeling to go on.
Loretta VU's curator insight, October 12, 2014 12:41 AM

Ok so you can read faster but what about comprehension? 

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Learning Literary Terms With Taylor Swift

Learning Literary Terms With Taylor Swift | AdLit | Scoop.it
This article was written by teen reporters from The Mash, a weekly publication distributed to Chicagoland high schools.

By Kiley Roache, Nazareth High School

Whether you’re prepping for the AP Literature exam, or trying to crank out that ...

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, February 17, 2014 12:53 PM

17 February 2014

 

I can't say that I'm an expert on Taylor Swift lyrics. But, I have taken some teasing because I've found the lyrics to the few songs I've listened to, to be quite touching and poetic. 

 

In that limited experience, I was attracted to the storytelling aspect of her lyrics. They struck me as being as personal as quite thoughtful journal entries taken seriously by someone who cared and paid the price for doing so. Very touching.

 

And, now, thanks to Kiley Roache, of Nazareth High School, we have this article sharing several examples of the way Taylor Swift has used several literary devices in her lyrics.

 

If literary devices are intended to enhance the relationship between a writer's intent and the receptiveness of that writer's audience, then perhaps it might be significantly more effective to introduce  those literary devices via examples that really exist in the world of our students rather than only in the world of literary scholarship. That is, the power of literary devices may be more effectively "learned" when the focus is upon bringing the story to the reader rather than focusing upon bringing the reader to the device. 

 

Would I use this article in class. "Absolutely except..."

 

One lesson I learned long ago, is that too many students' have extremely rigid pre-established opinions about music types, genres, and performers to assume that sharing any musician's lyrics will be a welcome endeavor by all.

 

Seems obvious doesn't it? Different students have different tastes in music and more typically than not, for the most part they have yet to develop a breadth of musical appreciation that allows them to be receptive to music beyond the breadth of "their favorite" kinds of music. 

 

As an aside, it might be worth considering how far beyond their established interest in storytelling and beyond their Vygotskian Zone of Proximal Development we ask them to be receptive to when we assign all of them to study the same work of literature. 

 

Perhaps if we took every opportunity to wrap literary reading learning experiences around the question every students asks, "What does this have to do with anything I care about?" we might find more of them receptive to the lessons we design in our attempt to address the question every professional educator asks, "How can I use literature to encourage students to contemplate  not only what they care about but what they ought to consider caring more about?"

 

Bait the hook! 

 

Fans of Taylor Swift will "bite" a lesson on literary devices built around this article because it begins with  an established appetite. They'll feel a closer and deeper attachment via their "fandomness" to her work and probably rush out to other fans to clue them into the depths of Swift's lyrics that they've discovered.

 

If this is true for Taylor Swift fans then a parallel experience is probably true for students who happen be fans of other musicians.

 

Building upon this premise, I might ask students to email me a phrase from a lyric that they are particularly fond of.

 

I would print each one on a single sheet of 8.5x11 white paper using Helvetica font in the largest point size that I could so that the phrase would still fit on the single sheet of paper. 

 

I wouldn't identify the source. (student or musician).

 

Before class the next day, I would hang them around the room with as much space between them as possible on walls where there was ample space to walk.

 

I would immediately invite students to walk around and read the phrases with one intent. What do you suppose it was about each phrase that "someone" in this class thought was particularly meaningful? 


I would emphasize that it isn't important whether or not they find the phrase particularly meaningful. The focus being simply what did the writer of the lyric do with words that caused at least one of his or her fans to really connect with the phrase.

 

Then, I'd introduce this article assuring students who do not "care for Taylor Swift" that they don't have to watch the videos if they can't bring themselves to do so. They need only concentrate upon the term and the example.

 

The subsequent task being, "Did you see examples of 'any' of these terms in the phrases the class brought in?

 

It wouldn't surprise me if the students discovered that the use of literary devices is fairly common and that regardless of musical taste, many of these devices find themselves being used across many musical genres.

 

If there is merit in this thesis, then perhaps letting non-Swift fans  start with their favorite lines from their favorite musicians regardless of the teacher's opinions (informed or otherwise) about those musicians and then letting them discover what it was about those lines that they found particularly interesting would serve as an equally engaging and more successful approach than say, teaching cliché, oops, I mean simile by telling them  about someone being "as hungry as a bear;" or, explaining the allusion being made in one story they are not enjoying to another story they never heard of.

 

And, I would also suspect that once they've had some experience noticing the use of literary devices in stories they already have a personal engagement with, that they would have enough "lock on the concept" to begin noticing them in the works on the official course reading list.

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

brought to you by GLT Global ED, an educational nonprofit

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We are all Reading Teachers, Now

We are all Reading Teachers, Now | AdLit | Scoop.it

Often, there is a reaction of “what about the fiction” from the English teachers because reading is considered an English classroom task.  So, doesn’t this mean that English class will now be full of informational text?  But, what is often missed is the paragraph and footnote of the ELA CCSS page 5 that states: “The percentages on the table reflect the sum of student reading, not just reading in ELA settings.”  In a 66 page document, who can blame us for gravitating towards the charts to make sense of it all?  Let’s face it; we, as a society, love a good visual…consider the Infographic’s meteoric rise to fame.


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Powerful Pairings: Read-Alouds for the Common Core

Powerful Pairings: Read-Alouds for the Common Core | AdLit | Scoop.it
Find a sampler of powerful pairs of books for read-alouds in elementary classrooms implementing the Common Core State Standards.

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Google Lit Trips: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Google Lit Trips: Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day | AdLit | Scoop.it
“But, how do you know if an ending is truly good for the characters unless you traveled
with them through every page?

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GoogleLitTrips Reading List's curator insight, January 22, 2014 2:34 PM

22 January 2014

Imagine my surprise when Kristen Pavese, author of this article begins by responding to the quote  above from Shannon Hale's Midnight in Austenland with...

 

__________

"If only the character in Shannon Hale's novel had heard about Google Lit Trips, she would have known that this is in fact, possible!. Google Lit Trips is a free resource that allows readers to virtually follow the journey of literary characters via Google Earth...These pre-created trips place readers inside the story so they can see for themselves the path that characters have followed and experience the sights they have seen. Pop-up windows at each location provide the reader with different resources that stimulate higher level reading skills - discussion starters, links for further information, videos, etc. These resources bring about a fuller understanding of the text while establishing real world connections the reader can learn about for himself."

__________

 

Pavese,  then points to the Google Lit Trip for Elizabeth Partridge's "Marching for Freedom" as an example that might be quite appropriate in light of our remembrance of the life of Martin Luther King jr. 

 

__________

"The site offers a pre-created trip for "Marching for Freedom" by Elizabeth Partridge. Partridge tells the true story of the children who chose to join Dr. King on the march from Selma to Washington during the Civil Rights Movement in 1965. The trip outlines the 5 day march, giving students a visualization of the path the participants took, where they stopped, and what happened on each day. The pop-ups provide videos that make students feel as if they went on the march themselves – including speeches by MLK and LBJ, as well as a video of the actual marching. Among other things, the pop-ups also include links to documents that will give the readers background information (like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and MLK’s principles of non-violence), discussion questions, and notes from the author."

__________

 

I must say that when Elizabeth Partridge contacted me to suggest that perhaps the book she was about to publish might make a good Lit Trip, I was stunned to say the least. An actual author contacting me?? Wow! The Google Lit Trips project had reached beyond any expectations I'd ever had for the project.

 

And, in collaborating with Elizabeth in the months before the publication of her book, the entire title being, Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children, and Don't You Grow Weary," I found myself up close and personal with a portion of the Civil Rights story that I had not been deeply aware of although I had been convinced that I had known quite a bit about Civil Rights Movement. 

 

When we stumbled across actual video clips of the march posted on YouTube, I was more than intrigued by the mysterious description of the footage reading...

 

__________

"A powerful and recently rediscovered film made during the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march for voting rights. Stefan Sharff's intimate documentary reflects his youthful work in the montage style under the great Russian filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein. The film features moving spirituals. Marchers include Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King."

__________

 

It was nearly impossible for me to believe that in 2009 there was film to be "rediscovered." And then I noticed that the footage had been posted by "YouTube user: BTSharf, the son of the film's director.and one of the film's cameramen. 

 

I contacted  Mr. Sharf: in pursuit of permission to include the footage in the Marching for Freedom Lit Trip. I received this reply...

 

__________

"Re: requesting permission to use videos 09/08/09

You certainly have permission to embed this video. We would appreciate it. This is a document that should be seen, the more traffic the better.

Send me a link.

Billy "

__________

 

As we continued to work on the Marching for Freedom Lit Trip, being able to take the journey of the march and learning more about the "back story" than I had managed to gather even in my own fairly deep following of the actual events in the news, magazines, and television reports at the time of the march, and at the same time learning much more about the Elizabeth Partridge's back story personal journey in researching the "stories behind the story" of the march, it became clearer than ever that creating learning experiences that somehow virtualize the experience of traveling alongside the characters and people in their own life journeys had a way of personalizing the learning  experience that is much more engaging and therefore much more informative than can be acheived when the "story" is reduced to the pages alloted for such historically momentous events in history books, or in newscasts, and magazine articles. 

 

There is a kind of access to the truth of the "character of the characters"  as well as the "character of the people" if we are able to "travel with them" as author Shannon Hale points out in the quote from her book used by Pavese as a starting point for her article.

 

And I realized that whether one is reading fiction, historical fiction or non-fiction, there is a bringing together in the same space of the reader and the events portrayed, that is essentially a virtual travel along. And, this engagement makes it possible to not only "know" the events, but to actually "feel" the events, to empathize with the conditions and motivations and dilemmas of choice faced by the characters and people as if we were there walking right along side them.

 

When Elizabeth and I reached the end of the development of the Marching for Freedom Lit Trip, where we took the reader to "virtually witness" the incredible speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. at the Alabama State Capitol,  only one block beyond Martin Luther King's Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, we found a video clip from that lesser known, speech, but perhaps at least as eloquent, as the "I Have a Dream" speech.

 

Martin Luther King Jr, did not actually name his speeches, but this one is sometimes known as the "How Long? Not Long!" speech. As we brought readers through Elizabeth's retelling of the story while taking them on the long march both in text and in the virtual reality of Google Earth, the video clip is viewed within the context of having "virtually marched alongside" the marchers after multiple failed attempts to begin, having "virtually been there with the marchers" as they were beaten on one attempt to cross the imfamous Pettus Bridge, having marched in peace as helicopters buzzed above and various "law enforecement troops "protected and intimidated" the marchers, having faced the possible dangers ahead as they passed through some of the most notoriously violent and racist areas along the way,  having walked past the actual church where Martin Luther King jr was and had been the pastor for 20 years, in a sense having reached the end of the march "virtually exhausted" yet proud of surviving the intimidation and fears, and challenges of the march as though we had been there, it became clear that we were experiencing that speech from within a very different context than when we only read the speech from within the context of the very few pages devoted to the entire Civil Rights Movement in history books or the few days devoted to the entire Civil Rights Movement  in history classroom lectures and discussions where hundreds of years of history must be taught and learned in the matter of one or two semesters,, or from within the context of our livingrooms watching three-minute annual newscasts including only the briefest of video excerpts of original coverage of the entire Civil Rights Movement on Martin Luther King Day or from within the context of the recognition that preparing for the all important "test  on Chapter ____" in the history text is too often perceived as being the primary value of the brief encounter with importance of information about the Civil Rights Movement.

 

I can't help but also mention that building a Lit Trip is a journey in itself. As Elizabeth and I worked on the "Marching for Freedom" Lit Trip, she shared her behind the scenes stories that she discovered on her research journey that took her to places between and beyond Selma and Montgomery as she interviewed many of the actual participants to discover their individual and shared back stories. In sharing those with me and with her readers, I was not only reminded of my clear recollection of the events as I knew them, but I also learned how little I really knew about a subject I thought I'd paid particularly close attention to at the time. 

 

Ironically, though President Johnson's greatest legacy may have been his signing of the Civil Rights Bill Act of 1964, I had not seen anything beyond the sound bites of his incredible speech at the time. I realized after seeing that entire speech, that my opinion of President Johnson had been based too heavily upon my concerns that he "was no Jack Kennedy, that he was a hardball politician who appeared to be quite at ease employing tactics I perceived as having questionable ethics as well as questionable motives in order to get what he wanted, and that he was unable or perhaps less interested in resolving the Vietnam war conflict that he had inherited from multiple previous presidents;  an earily familiar sounding predicament today.

 

And while working with Elizabeth and discovering President Johnson's speech in its entirety, I came to realize that in my youth I had not allowed these very negative perceptions of President Johnson to be tempered at least a bit by the side he showed in the Civil Rights work he helped bring to fruition.

 

In discovering the entire version of his speech online, I came to realize that as a president from the south where remnants of the influence of pro-segregationist Dixicrat party still held signficant sway in the Democratic party, Johnson's speech represented not just a expression of Democratic support for the Civil Rights Movement, but also an act of extreme political and personal courage.

 

In conclusion, Shannon Hale, speaking no doubt of other matters, nailed a truth about "knowing." We can not know the truth about characters and the universal truths they represent about humanity in the "real world" until we travel with them through their journeys, at least as much as we can in the course of becoming aware of what it is to become not merely human beings but also humane beings. And, in the case of the Civil Rights Movement as well as perhaps all human activity, it is equaly important walk in the shoes of others through both fictionand nonfiction in order to discover what the forces are behind those who become inhumane beings.

 

 

 ~ www.GoogleLitTrips.com ~

Google Lit Trips is the fictitious business name for GLT Global ED, now an official 501c3 tax-exempt educational nonprofit

 

 

 

Sunflower Foundation's curator insight, January 22, 2014 8:07 PM

How great it this. I think being able to follow characters on their journey would be awesome. But I love fantasy, so unless the author provides maps I guess I am still stuck.

Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from iGeneration - 21st Century Education
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Mystery Novel Studies

Mystery Novel Studies | AdLit | Scoop.it
If you teach middle or high school English but struggle with getting students excited about literature, you should try a mystery novel study, especially if you enjoy mysteries or puzzles yourself.

Via Tom D'Amico (@TDOttawa)
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Rescooped by Lynnette Van Dyke from CCSS News Curated by Core2Class
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Common Core and Reading: Which one of these things is not like the other? | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

Common Core and Reading: Which one of these things is not like the other? | The Thomas B. Fordham Institute | AdLit | Scoop.it
Long before the Common Core State Standards were on anyone’s radar, the “reading wars” raged furiously.

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Deb Gardner's curator insight, December 12, 2013 5:16 AM

Kathleen Porter-Magee compares discussions and research on close reading, core knowledge and reading skills/strategies. Which one contributes most to a students' success in reading?