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Reading together

Celebrate Children's Book Week May 2-8, 2011

There are celebrations for virtually everything these days but few have the staying power of Children's Book Week. It was established in 1919 and is still going strong!

Over 100 but still young

This 1984 Pulitzer Prize winner authored more than 40 books. Three of these books were Caldecott Honors. His work has been made into award-winning movies and videos, inspired memorable music, and has become synonymous with childhood.

And because of his lasting contribution — creating books that engage and delight readers of all ages (and especially for what he did for emerging and newly independent readers) — this author/illustrator now has an award named in his honor.

Adult book club inspires the young

What can an adult book discussion do for young children? More than I'd imagined.

A friend of mine copied me on an email she'd sent out for her first grade son with, of course, a note to the recipients' parents. This 7-year old wanted to share books with his friends much as his mother did with hers.

What books do

As in all families, ours occasionally has a disagreement. Though we may not be able to touch on hot-button topics, we can still talk about books and other things we are reading.

When I recently saw some young children I know, whose family is going through a tough time, we talked about Halloween — and books. In a school where I'm working with teenaged parents of young children, we connect over books we share.

Books. They open doors to experiences that can be shared between people of different backgrounds, of diverse ages, and even between readers and nonreaders.

Picture books on the decline?

A recent New York Times article reveals that picture books are no longer as popular as they once were; that sales are down, that parents are often looking to chapter books to propel their children forward educationally, perhaps for what is considered more sophisticated literary or educational experiences.

Stuff and nonsense.

Remembering books

I found a recent article in the The New York Times entitled "The Plot Escapes Me" was particularly intriguing. Its author, James Collins, laments the fact that he can't remember the specifics of the books he reads; however, he continues to associate with the books "an atmosphere and a stray image or two, like memories of trips I took as a child."

My guess is that he's not alone in this. I know I remember the ride of reading but sometimes no more than the book's title.

Got to or get to?

Do children feel that they've got to read or that they get to read? There is a difference.

Last week I wrote about what Peter Dickinson called "rubbish" and letting kids read a fair amount of it. Adults often feel strongly about what children read. They may love or loathe certain children's books — and adults are generally the ones who put books into children's hands. But their response can vastly differ from children's responses to the same material.

Love 'em or hate 'em, some books are here to stay

A recent article in the New York Times magazine was sent to me by my fellow blogger, Joanne Meier.

The title grabbed me immediately "Children's Books You (Might) Hate." Aren't there books we've come across that we just love to hate? I have a few.… well, maybe more than a few.

The value of mixed practice in teaching reading

Forget What You Know About Good Study Habits is a timely reminder about a few techniques that can reliably improve how much a student learns from studying. Techniques include alternating study environments, spacing study sessions, self testing, and mixing content.

The summer song of cicadas

There's a special sound to late summer. The air almost seems to vibrate with the songs of insects.

I was walking down the sidewalk earlier today and came across a shell of a really ugly (at least in my opinion) critter. But I recognized it as that of a totally harmless cicada, one of the likely music makers.

Pages

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library." — Jorge Luis Borges