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Posted by on in Literacy

Reading aloud to kids is an experience that almost everyone who has spent time with children has in common. Whether you're a veteran teacher or a teenage babysitter, you've probably touched the magic that we create when we take the time to read with kids.

I've had some amazing experiences as a parent and a caregiver of reading aloud: the moment when a child recognizes the letters in their name, or a common word, or a rhyming pattern in the text or a repeated phrase or sound that they love to yell out at the top of their lungs.

"Clang Clang Rattle Bing Bang, Gonna make my noise all day!"

~ Robert Munsch, Mortimer ~

Equally amazing are the books that make me cry, the books during which my kids know they can expect mom to get choked up "Mommy, why are you crying... again?!? You know how it ends."

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Posted by on in Literacy

Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss! Read Across America 2019! 

Saturday, March 2nd, on a cold but suddenly sunny day in Eugene, so much fun reading Dr. Seuss!

Having a grand time re-reading a bunch of my Dr. Seuss books. Rather than reposting a couple earlier blogs I'm sitting here camped out with warm blanket, scarf, fuzzy slippers with pom poms, but no Dr Seuss hat. Instead a beanie. Mother Nature calmed down a bit in time for Dr. Seuss' birthday. For that I am so grateful. And ready for fun! 

My #oneword for 2019 is "Celebrate", so today's a perfect reading party. I'm waiting for you. Silly hats! Pjs and cocoa or hot cider, too. And bring your favorite Dr. Seuss stories, maybe a costume or too!

Each year, Dr. Seuss' birthday is celebrated on March 2nd. Or close to it. Due to weather, I am reading at the preschool a couple days late. I'm already planning probably two books and matching mini-lessons. I'll have the children pick their favorites. That in itself is a lesson in decision making. Maybe. Have to see. Thinking a nudge toward 'Hop On Pop', 'Ten Apples On Top'. Toss in a little word family action. I'm really sneaky with skills.

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Posted by on in Literacy

 

THIS. I read that 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills. One in five adults, two thirds of them, women. Not so bad, or staggering, depending on our perspective. Sobering, 60.7 million children are out of school and more drop out. Is this acceptable? As a nation of readers, we believe that the joy of reading is a joy forever. But we know, that reading generally leads to better jobs and ability to cope with an ever changing political and social environment.

There are several kinds of literacy, perhaps we are considering math, science and other disciplines. For my purposes here, let's stay with the notion of literacy as being able to read, write and master basic language needed for daily life.

However, Literacy Day actually casts a wider net, celebrating advances and needs remaining in math, digital competency, technical skills and softer skills needed for success in today's rapidly changing economy and every day world of work.

Today, September 8th is International Literacy Day, or World Literacy Day. In 1966 United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Sept. 8th each year as International Literacy Day, focusing on literacy for all. First celebrated in 1967, the day highlights the need for literacy in many facets of daily life.

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Posted by on in Literacy

Michigan Judge Stephen Murphy III recently ruled children do not have a fundamental right to learn to read and write. This long lasting, far reaching decision responded to a lawsuit filed in 2016 by Public Counsel, for plaintiffs, students in five of Detroit's most poorly performing schools, including public and charter. 

The case was called Gary B v. Synyder. It named, among others, Governor Snyder, Michigan Board of Education etc. The 136 page complaint, highlighted need for literacy and adequate education for all Detroit schoolchildren, as well as remedies for lack of appropriate facilities, class sizes, learning conditions and access to the proverbial level playing field for beleagured students.

I really don't know where to start or what to say. It is so disheartening to read the backstory of the Michigan Judge's decision that children don't have a fundamental right to literacy.

I saw the story on Twitter about a week ago, have been knocking it around in my head until I found a day to cocoon, do significant research and then write what I think. So that is exactly where I am and not really happy about it. It's just stuck in my head and heart.

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Posted by on in Literacy

Young boy reading manga

I've had a couple of parents approach me recently with questions akin to: "How do I get my child to read something else besides graphic novel? I want him to read real chapter books." To which I say: "Why do you need to do this?" If your child is reading graphic novels, then he is reading. Graphic novels are real books. If your child is reading graphic novels avidly, then my suggestion is not to try to push him to chapter books. My suggestion is to find him more graphic novels.

Now, I will concede one issue that I've run into due to my daughter's devotion to graphic novels. There just aren't as many graphic novels as there are chapter books. This means that we can actually run out of books for her to read that are even remotely age appropriate (and believe me, I have stretched this upwards). She doesn't help matters by having only passing interest in fantasy - she wants thick, realistic graphic novels only. And she pretty much has all of the ones I can find that she can understand. She simply reads those over and over again. I'm fairly sure she must know Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham's Real Friends by heart.

Because of this shortage I have tried introducing some notebook novels into the mix. These still have plenty of illustrations, but also have more text. My daughter is having none of it. This means that unless I can find new graphic novels that she likes, she ends up reading less. Which is certainly not the goal. But I personally think it would be worse to push her to read books that she's not interested in. So I don't.

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