Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Picks of the Week - February 19-23

Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss

The boy in a yellow suit and hat is off on an adventure, with brains in his head and feet in his shoes. Even though things get tough for him sometimes, he gets through and keeps on going.

Great for any and all ages, Oh, the Places You'll Go! is fun and typical Dr. Seuss silliness with more than a touch of inspirational life advice.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Ten-year-old Mary is an orphan sent to England after her mother died, and she is none too pleased about it. Living in a manor on the moors with her uncle, Mary soon discovers that some of the rooms are not as empty as she thought, and that there are secrets and refuges in the garden as well.

This, unlike Burnett's book A Little Princess which I only discovered as an adult, is one of my favourite childhood books. I can still remember my mother reading it to me and getting entirely wrapped up in the magic of Mary's garden.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Library Corner - February Column

**I have started a column in the Parrsboro School Newsletter called (oh-so-originally) Library Corner. My aim is to provide parents with information and tools to support their child's literacy development. The first column is replicated below, along with resources and links that may not have been found in the Newsletter.

Library Corner

Did you know that many children experience a decline in reading habits in approximately grade 4 and/or grade 9? These are two major transition periods in literacy development: around grade 4 children progress from picture books and easy readers to novels, and around grade 9 they move from juvenile fiction into more substantial teen or adult fare.

During both transitions it is normal for children to fall back on reading material that is comfortable to them and easy for them to read, perhaps favourite picture books from their young childhood. This need not (and should not) be discouraged as it boosts their confidence to tackle newer, tougher books and materials.

You can help your child progress through these transitions by modeling and encouraging positive reading behaviours that include:

  • Letting them see you read anything from magazines to novels, from the newspaper to cereal boxes.

  • Reading aloud to your child should, in fact, continue until they are into their teens as it enforces the value of reading. You may want to consider borrowing audio books from the public library and listening to them with your child in the car or during the evening.

  • Limiting computer and television use and designating time for reading also contributes to positive reading habits.

  • Finally, ask your child questions about what he or she is reading and discuss what you are reading as well.

If you have any further questions, concerns, or want to know what kind of books your child might enjoy, please feel free to email me.

Suggested resources

An excellent resource is Paul Kropp’s book How to make your child a reader for life (2000) which is full of tips and suggestions for you and your child.
*Available for purchase from Chapters.
*Also available to borrow from the Cumberland Regional Library.

Another fantastic book is Jim Trelease's Read-Aloud Handbook (2006) which has lists of books for every age as well as many tips and advice about reading aloud to your child.
*Available for purchase from Chapters.
*I have requested that the Cumberland Regional Library purchase this book for their collection, so keep an eye out!

Further information

Publisher's Weekly has an excellent article about reading declines in older children.

A Statistics Canada study found links between a child's early reading skills and later literacy success.

Since teen boys' reading in particular tends to decline, this article seeks out why and what can be done to help. Although it is aimed at school librarians, it contains information (and a book list) that is helpful for parents as well.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Picks of the Week - February 5-9

The Man who Walked Between the Towers by Mordecai Gerstein

There was once a man who lived in New York City. He performed tricks, like juggling and tightrope walking, for audiences in the park. One day, he looked up and saw two towers being built and thought, "I wonder if I could walk on a tightrope between them, hundreds of feet in the air?"

Beautifully illustrated (it won the Caldecott Medal in 2004), this book tells the story of Philippe Petit and his tightrope walk between the Twin Towers of New York City.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Jesse lives on a farm with his parents and sisters, and he loves to run. When a new family moves in next door - and the girl, Leslie, also likes to run - he has someone new to play with. Jess and Leslie invent a world called Terabithia in the woods behind their homes and spend countless hours there until the unthinkable happens.

I have read this book on at least 3 occasions and thoroughly enjoy it every single time. It remains one of my favourite books, even as a grown-up.

Visit the site for the new Disney movie.