How one teacher changed her teaching practice for the better: "The thing that changed was I started reading more than I ever had before. I started to read professional books about literacy instruction. And I stepped up my reading of young adult books in an effort to overhaul my classroom library. And once I started reading all of those books and talking about the books I was reading with my students, I started to realize that I needed to change the way I was doing things."
Here, we outline six elements of instruction that every child should experience every day. Each of these elements can be implemented in any district and any school, with any curriculum or set of materials, and without additional funds. All that's necessary is for adults to make the decision to do it.
"Expert advice on how to change the minds of kids who hate to read."
These are all worth considering but my favourite is:
Reason 9: They Have No Interest in the Material They Are Required to Read
Do this: Struggling readers will blossom if you give them material that is so interesting they can’t resist reading it. That’s the trick: finding something so compelling that students forget they are reading.
"Cybils judges are trying for books with kid appeal. They do want books with literary merit, but they must also believe that the books will appeal to kids. But the big reason you can turn to the Cybils for Readers Advisory is because of the nature of the Finalists... The panelists... are looking to build a list of outstanding books in that particular genre for the past year...they work for variety in terms of appeal, theme, protagonists, gender, and so on."
By Jen Robinson: "Although they may not be reading as much as girls are, boys ARE reading. They just aren't necessarily reading the books that their mothers and aunts and (primarily female) teachers want them to read. They're reading comic books, box scores, user manuals, joke books and various other forms of nonfiction. I think that there's truth to this, but I also think that it's not good enough to broaden one's definition of reading and conclude that there isn't a problem. Boys' reading scores are still lagging - we need to make some extra effort to get them to spend more time reading. But I do think that accepting the different formats that boys choose as valid types of reading is part of the solution. Here are a few specific tips for encouraging boys to read this summer." Re-scooped from Heather Stapleton http://www.scoop.it/t/boys-and-reading
Her character is, you know, “the woman.” Because males get to have various flavors of character: the nerd, the jock, the genius, the bad boy, the opportunist. But females only get to have one flavor: “the woman!”
Via The Digital Rocking Chair
"Insideadog has always primarily been a website for young people to share their love of books and reading. From the earliest days, however, it has found a place in school libraries and classrooms as well. These teacher notes are designed to help you integrate insideadog into your classroom and your school."
"Kids today are not the same as when we were young. They are a generation of true writers and readers, and they’re using books to save the world. The good news is that they are better read, more socially aware, more computer literate and more literate in general, than any other generation of young people preceding them." Australian author, Lili Wilkinson, with a well argued and very positive look at teen reading and writing habits.
Plot To Punctuation, LLC: editing services by Jason Black | Another editor's blog, this post on what makes Bloody Jack such a terrific book puts into specific terms what is often hard to convey to a prospective reader. Good reading for RA staff.
Chafie Creative Group, based in Dallas, has introduced a new iPad app called Immersedition, the first in what it believes is a new form of interactive book app. The app features as its first title The Survivors, a young adult fiction from new author Amanda Havard, who designed the story to ultimately be an enhanced media experience. The 283-page book, which went on sale earlier this year in print and tells the stories of descendants from participants in the Salem Witch Trial, includes 300 touch points that reveal 500 interactive frames of content embedded in the pages of the book through watermarks.
"With authors such as Anthony Horowitz and P.D. James picking up the threads of past masters, it is a good time to think about creating RA trilogies for readers. By daisy-chaining new, classic, and backlist titles, you can link through your collection and start patrons on threefold reading paths." Neal Wyatt gives a starter pack of 4 x 3. What about starting with Eoin Colfer's And Another Thing, Sebastian Faulks's Devil May Care, Patrick Ness's A Monster Calls, Jean Rhys's The Wide Sargasso Sea or Jill Paton Walsh's Thrones, Dominations? An excellent crossover project.
If you are unconvinced of the real reading value of graphic novels take a look here at some of the evidence. GNs (and magazines for that matter) are often spurned as bad habits taking the place of "real reading". This is a mistaken notion and a lost opportunity. Quite apart from this, it is disrespecting the reading preferences of many young people. Respecting personal choice is a vital attitude for anyone who wants to successfully advise teens on reading.
"An explanation of the Rooted in Reading project, featuring teachers and pupils from Lincolnshire secondary schools, Morris Gleitzman, the project patron, and Michael Rosen, the ex-children's laureate."
A lot of people—teachers included—like the idea of independent reading, or as it is sometimes called, sustained silent reading (SSR). But when they see it in practice— well, it just doesn’t look like learning is supposed to look. Here’s the secret not everyone knows: independent reading is a key component of good teaching. Sure, the classroom may seem quiet, the students relaxed, but important work is going on inside the children’s heads. They are learning how to become good readers.
What is SYNC? • SYNC is the audiobook publishers’ and AudioFile Magazine’s commitment to introducing the listening experience to the young adult audience. • SYNC will give away 2 FREE audiobook downloads each week for 10 weeks between June and August this year. • The weekly SYNC audiobook pairings will offer a popular Young Adult title and a related Classic. Sign up for email or SMS notifications of new downloads as they are each available for just one week.
Some alternatives to that classic classroom assignment, the book report, all inspired by an article, essay, blog post, illustration, interview or work of multimedia in The New York Times. (My favourite is Judging a Book by its Cover.)
"Even when I hated to read, I was hungry for stories. I found them in places that weren't teacher-approved, but I found them just the same. Video games and television shows were filled with plot and conflict, character and emotion. I read Choose-Your-Own Adventures and X-Men comics and Nintendo Power Magazine and Zoobooks and I made up my own stories about the villains and the heroes, the far-flung places and wild animals. I never thought of anything I did as reading, and I never thought I was training myself for a life as a writer. But I was."
Via Heather Stapleton
"Once known for its problem novels and teen melodrama, young adult fiction has developed into one of the most complex and extensive genres in literature. 2011 brought us a wealth of new reads that continue to twist traditional formulas and take risks that are, by and large, paying off with wholly unique reading experiences. A love story at the heart of a horror novel — why not? Mythical water horses in the modern world — sounds exciting. A theatrical fantasy populated with Shakespearean and fairy tale characters alike — oh, the possibilities! But no matter how varied the young adult genre becomes, today's best teen reads have one thing in common: their emotional depth, believable characters and suspense-filled storylines will keep readers of any age tearing through the pages, as proven by these five exemplary novels."
This blog authored by two editors is useful for RA professionals because it highlights what works in writing. For example, the most recent post (17 Dec 2011) is about how to do Call to Action well. This part of a story is vital to hooking the reader, particularly the reluctant reader. It is something I will be more explicit about in RA in future.
Jennifer LaGarde, who blogs as Library Girl, has shared a collection of Prezis on various genres. Each has a little on the conventions and then a growing number of appropriate book trailers. Jennifer is using Prezi as a curation tool for her genre lessons, and is offering them for others to us as they see fit. She is also using Prezi as a collaboration tool with students, asking them to add trailers, reviews, fan fiction - what they will. A terrific way to extend those booktalk opportunities and to get feedback from readers. Also a pointer to using Prezi in collaboration mode.
Operation Ajax is the first true-to-life spy thriller in a new genre of interactive comics experiences.
Designed specifically for the iPad, Operation Ajax is an original story inspired by the investigative journalism of best-selling author, Stephen Kinzer, and his work All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror.