Blogs about Reading
Sound It Out
Dr. Joanne Meier
Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.
Neat stuff from my Inbox
My Inbox and RSS reader are always loaded with ideas, book suggestions, resources, and more. I leave them there thinking I'd like to write about each one, or go back to flesh out an idea, or share an idea with a friend. I thought I'd share things I've saved over the past few days.
Coloring pages from digital photos: From one of the blogs I love, Here in the Bonny Glen, a link to Crayola's Play Zone Coloring Page Maker. After registering, you can turn your digital photos into coloring pages. How fun is that?! Imagine what great writing prompts those pictures/coloring pages would make!
Comprehension Constructor guide: From Choice Literacy, a helpful article and free PDF of "comprehension constructors," developed by teachers to support thoughtful reading. It's recommended for adolescent readers, but I think elementary teachers could use them with slight modifications.
Catalogs in the classroom: From the Book Chook, ideas for using catalogs as teaching tools in the classroom. My daughter's 3rd grade teacher is doing just that as part of her economics unit on needs and wants. Some of the Book Chook's recommendations include questions that, when asked, seem as though might also develop kids' media literacy, an important thing these days. For example, what is the overall layout of the catalog? How is it organized? Is it easy to find the price of items? Are the pictures of some items bigger than others? Why might that be?
New and Improved ReadWriteThink: A consistent resource for lesson plans and teaching ideas, ReadWriteThink has been expanded to include new resources and communities. A partnership of the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the Verizon Foundation, this site is one to bookmark.
What's in your Inbox or RSS reader? Share with us!
Kids and media use, and keeping a media diary
A just released national survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation studied the media usage of kids ages 8-18. In Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year Olds, more than 2,000 3rd-12th grade students responded to a survey that asked them about their daily habits. Over 700 kids completed seven-day media use diaries.
Some of the findings:
"Today, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes (7:38) to using entertainment media across a typical day (more than 53 hours a week). And because they spend so much of that time 'media multitasking' (using more than one medium at a time), they actually manage to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes (10:45) worth of media content into those 7-1/2 hours."
(To see what the authors counted and didn't count as entertainment media, view the methodology section of the report).
I find these results really depressing. Worse, they've caused me to reflect and realize how my own girls' media usage has crept up over the past few months! What used to be contained to the occasional DVR show has morphed into listening to an iPod, to new games for the Wii and the DS, to using my Kindle as soon as I put it down!
I don't really know how much overall screen time my kids have, but I'm going to find out! The appendix of the Kaiser report includes a sample of a media diary, but I think it's too sophisticated for my needs. I'm going to simply jot down the screen time that's happening this week, without making any major changes to our schedule. I know we're not anywhere near the 7:38 logged by older kids, but I'm interested to see where we are. Care to join me?
If kids and media is a topic of interest to you, be sure to check out our latest webcast, Screen time and literacy. In addition to video of three experts on the topic, we've gathered resources for parents and teachers as well as discussion questions to follow webcast viewing.
Curl up with... a Kindle?
I got a Kindle for Christmas, and before too long it found its way into the hands of Molly (9) and Anna (7).
If you're unfamiliar with Amazon's eReader, the Kindle, or eReaders in general, they're portable electronic devices that allow you to download, store and read books wirelessly. Different from a laptop, most eReaders are not backlit, which means you can't view the screen in the dark but you can read in bright sunlight, something you can't do with a laptop. Most eReaders rely on something called eInk, which uses a low-power, high contrast "electronic paper."
Curious to see what the Kindle could offer for my young readers, we browsed the Kindle store for Children's Chapter Books. Currently, there are 9 books for Baby-3 (among them Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes by Annie Kubler,) 903 ebooks for Ages 4-8 (including Nubs and Curious George), and over 2,400 books for ages 9-12, including The Lightning Thief and The Magician's Elephant.
Sadly, Harry Potter isn't available (although several books about Harry Potter are). We also couldn't find Judy Moody, another series my 7 year old likes. One nice feature of the Kindle store is that we could download samples of books before buying. We downloaded several samples, and they really helped us make our buying decision.
After all our browsing, we couldn't really find a Kindle title that my 7 year old was dying to read, but we did end up downloading The Name of this Book is Secret . As a digital native, Anna caught on to the device immediately, and didn't seem to bring all the "reader issues" to the table that I do — I'm also reading a Kindle book, and am still trying to get past the concept that I'm not physically holding a book and not able to see the cover the way it was designed.
Will the Kindle change the world? I don't know. It's changed the look of my nightstand, for the time being. And it's changed the look of our lunch table too. Beyond that, we'll see!
You had a lot to say about...
Happy New Year! January is a great time to look ahead, but I also like to revisit the past to remember some highlights. Several blog topics seemed to resonate with readers (using comments as a barometer), and for me that provides guidance about other topics I should write about in the coming year.
The topic of kindergarten readiness produced many comments. Lots of parents struggle with the same decision we faced when it came time to decide whether we should send our summer birthday child to kindergarten. Social/emotional development, literacy skills, and school climate all seem to play a role for parents, and we'll continue to discuss those topics this year.
Word searches, as a waste of instructional time, Accelerated Reader, and my feelings about particular reading logs also sparked many comments. I love that your comments span such diverse opinions, and that several audiences (parents, teachers, professors, even students!) weighed in. I'll continue to blog about specific instructional issues here, and I hope you'll continue to let me know your thoughts.
Last, we love to talk about books to share with kids. My favorite classroom read alouds and my appeal for books to read to my daughter's third-grade class yielded great suggestions. I hope you'll keep on sharing your book finds with us. I promise to do the same!
What do you want to talk about this year? I know several topics I'd like to broach: year-round schooling, ways to practice spelling words during the week, writing and language development, and parenting a struggling reader. Again, happy new year, stay warm, and keep reading and commenting! I love hearing from you.