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Hugo Cabret, from page to screen

Thanksgiving has come and gone but the fond memories of family, friends, food — and a new movie — linger. Even though the holiday was celebrated at our home, we had time to see a movie that I've been anxious to see.

It's called Hugo, based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (Scholastic). The novel unfolds in a series of words and images which use the conventions of cinema, specifically the drama of old black & white silent films.

Ad-ucation for kids

In today's media saturated environment, kids are confronted with ads all day long. From cereal boxes to pop up ads on the Internet to book club flyers, it's constant product marketing. Media literacy is a legitimate skill to develop in kids.

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.

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."

So long, Mr. Ambassador

This December marks the last month of Jon Scieszka's tenure as the first National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. For two years, Mr. Scieszka (the author of several children's books and founder of Guys Read) has worked to promote a love of reading and books. He's been particularly focused on helping parents and teachers reach the reluctant reader, one he describes as "that's the kid who might be a reader, who could be one, but just isn't that interested in reading."

Our Wired Home

This month's Wired Classroom theme on Reading Rockets got me thinking about our wired home, and how our kids use technology. I know I'm not alone in my conflicted feelings about the role of media in my kids' lives.

Here's a rundown of our Wired Home, what's yours like?

My 8-year-old wants an iPod

My husband loves music; there's always something on in our house. His enthusiasm is contagious, and Molly has announced that "her own iPod" is on the top of her Christmas list. Which she's started. In September.

I'll admit I'm not crazy about the idea. I envision her wearing her ear buds all the time, tuning us out. She's promised she won't do that, and that she'll still talk to us! Even at dinner time!

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"I'm wondering what to read next." — Matilda, Roald Dahl