Archive for the ‘Children’ Category

Reading Aloud

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013

Beginners are more likely to choose to do an activity when they are successful at it and when they get pleasure from participation in the activity right from the start. This is why reading aloud is such a winning strategy in the making of readers. The novice reader experiences the pleasure of stories in a risk-free environment where it is impossible to fail or appear incompetent.

— Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne (E.F.) McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer, Reading Matters, p. 45

Beneficent Circle

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

Pleasure is the spur that motivates beginning readers to spend the thousands and thousands of hours reading that it takes to become a proficient reader. Readers who become proficient are those who enjoy reading and who do it by choice as a voluntary activity in their leisure time. Children who dislike reading and avoid it whenever possible never get the hours of practice that it takes to become a good reader. With each year, the proficiency gap grows between children who enjoy reading and do it voluntarily and those who dislike and avoid reading.

— Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Lynne (E. F.) McKechnie, and Paulette M. Rothbauer, Reading Matters, p. 45

Wyverns and Girls

Monday, November 26th, 2012

A Wyvern’s body is different from the body of a young girl’s in several major respects. First, it has wings, which most young girls do not (there are exceptions). Second, it has a very long, thick tail, which some young girls may have, but those who find themselves so lucky keep them well hidden. Let us just say, there is a reason some ladies wore bustles in times gone by! Third, it weighs about as much as a tugboat carrying several horses and at least one boulder. There are girls who weigh that much, but as a rule, they are likely to be frost giants. Do not trouble such folk with asking after the time or why their shoes do not fit so well.

— Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, p. 57

Courage

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

“When you are born,” the golem said softly, “your courage is new and clean. You are brave enough for anything: crawling off of staircases, saying your first words without fearing that someone will think you are foolish, putting strange things in your mouth. But as you get older, your courage attracts gunk and crusty things and dirt and fear and knowing how bad things can get and what pain feels like. By the time you’re half-grown, your courage barely moves at all, it’s so grunged up with living. So every once in a while, you have to scrub it up and get the works going or else you’ll never be brave again. Unfortunately, there are not so many facilities in your world that provide the kind of services we do. So most people go around with grimy machinery, when all it would take is a bit of spit and polish to make them paladins once more, bold knights and true.”

— Catherynne M. Valente, The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, p. 60

Talking About Books

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Early in my career as an educational consultant I believed that the key to turning children into readers was simply to put the right book in the right hands at the right time and, bingo, children would love the stories they read. I quickly realized that something was missing. I soon recognized children also needed to talk about the books they read. Showing children they have something to say about the books they read helps them engage and connect with a story — children who talk about stories understand the stories better. This is an essential component of children becoming confident readers, and children need confidence to be good readers. Every child needs and deserves the advantage of being a good reader.

— Diane W. Frankenstein, Reading Together, p. 3

They’re All Readers.

Saturday, August 4th, 2012

I need to put forward more encouraging terms for my students than the negative popular terminology struggling and reluctant. Where is the hope in thses terms? I prefer to use positive language to identify the readers in my classes. Peeking into my classroom, I see sixty different readers with individual reading preferences and abilities, but I consistently recognize three trends: developing readers, dormant readers, and underground readers.

— Donalyn Miller, The Book Whisperer, p. 24

Playing

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Teaching in elementary school, and watching kids in action, I came to appreciate how effortlessly kids learn when they play. Babies learn to talk without taking multiple-choice talking tests. Toddlers learn to toddle without writing toddling essays. How do they do it? By playing around.

So from teaching I learned to respect kids as natural learners, supply them with the tools to learn, and then get out of the way. I learned to inspire instead of lecture. I learned to trust play. That philosophy is at the heart of everything I write for kids. I want my readers to laugh, of course. But then I want them to question, to argue, to wonder — What if? I want them to play. I want them to learn for themselves.

— Jon Scieszka, “What’s So Funny, Mr. Scieszka?,” A Family of Readers, edited by Roger Sutton and Martha V. Parravano, p. 169

Why Children’s Literature?

Friday, November 25th, 2011

That can be annoying for the people who packed the box. They want children to learn to read, for example, and of course they are right. The most important thing you learn at school is how to read. It’s important because we live in a literate society and in our society it’s as important to be able to read as it is to be able to walk and talk — if you can’t do these things, your ability to participate in society is restricted. But literature is bounding along ahead like the white rabbit, and before you know where you are, it’s over the hills and far away. Because children’s literature knows perfectly well that literacy is only a beginning, not an end. It’s the starting point, not the goal.

Literature soars way up into the air like a kite and makes us gasp. It’s held in place by a string wound around a spool, and the spool is maybe in the box. We have to have the spool of string, but the spool isn’t the interesting thing. It’s the kite that’s beautiful and buoyant and alive and that tugs for freedom.

— Siobhan Parkinson, “Flying Kites and Chasing White Rabbits: Children’s Literature in Functional Times,” The Horn Book Magazine, September/October 2011, p. 53

Learning to Recover

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

We are not helping our children by always preventing them from what might be necessary falling, because you learn how to recover from falling by falling! It is precisely by falling off the bike many times that you eventually learn what the balance feels like. The skater pushing both right and left eventually goes where he or she wants to go. People who have never allowed themselves to fall are actually off balance, while not realizing it at all. That is why they are so hard to live with. Please think about that for a while.

— Richard Rohr, Falling Upward, p. 28

Dance in Our DNA

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

There’s no question that some people are more musically inclined or coordinated than others, but I’m starting to believe that dance is in our DNA. Not super-hip and cool dancing, or line dancing, or Dancing with the Stars dancing — but a strong pull toward rhythm and movement. You can see this desire to move in children. Until we teach our children that they need to be concerned with how they look and with what other people think, they dance. They even dance naked. Not always gracefully or with the beat, but always with joy and pleasure.

— Brene Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection, p. 120