Tag Archives: Reading

Brave New World

“…COMMUNITY, IDENTITY, STABILITY.”

Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, 1.

Our children, who were born after 1995, have always known the world to have the internet. To say they are comfortable with technology is an understatement. They enjoy and crave the interactivity and immediacy of response that personal computers and the like provide – plus they seem to be able to do a number of things at once while using technology. I find it remarkable how my boys can follow a television program, have a conversation with a friend while seemingly concentrating on playing an electronic game. (Yet they always seem to be able to tune me out. Go figure.)

How can reading a book compare to the stimulus of the world wide web? Sitting still focused on one thing, letting your brain form the pictures and think about what you are reading… sounds kinda dull when you could use mom’s smart phone to play a game which illustrates the story and gives you immediate results.

Parents and teachers are working in a tough environment to teach children the fundamentals and excite them to learn. The old school way of learning with books, paper and pencils and independent thinking is folding into the new world with bring your own digital devices to school and collaborative group work. Parents and teachers are navigating this territory at the same time. How about we do it together by sharing our experiences, learnings and resources?

If you are a teacher or a parent and you have found a fantastic resource which you think everyone should know about, I invite you to share your findings here.

Here are some resources which I think are wonderful:

Have you checked out www.teachingkidsnews.com? It is a current affairs website for parents, educators and children grades 2 to 8 whose articles are always up to date and written in a manner which children can understand as well as gain greater insight into the situation.

Plus, for educators and parents there are activity and discussion guides provided as suggestions.

Why I love the site?
Easy to read
Updated frequently so content is current
Wonderful variety of articles allowing children to find what appeals to them most
Great writing and discussion guides which help readers to think and form their own opinions on topics
Provides context such as history of a situation, rules of a game, relationship of situations, etc.

Learning to read is a life skill that everyone wants to see their child achieve. Some children will love to read and their imaginations will take them to far away lands. Others just aren’t interested. I believe that if the child enjoys the subject matter then they can become excited about learning. In current affairs there is always something that can interest each person – sports, entertainment, science, etc..

Additionally, reading with discussion can develop critical thinking, development of opinions and so many other skills. Why should learning be concentrated on the development of one skill at a time? This is why I love the exercise of reading the news and discussing it with my family. I would like my children to develop an understanding of current events and their impact on our lives.

As a parent I really find the content of the http://www.commonsense.org website to be topnotch for reviews of all forms of media but more importantly, a resource for parents and educators on how to help teach children digital literacy.

Straight from their website: “Common Sense Media is dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in a world of media and technology.

We exist because our nation’s children spend more time with media and digital activities than they do with their families or in school, which profoundly impacts their social, emotional, and physical development . As a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization, we provide trustworthy information and tools, as well as an independent forum, so that families can have a choice and a voice about the media they consume.”

While based in the US, their content is very relevant to their Canadian neighbours as we share so many traits. I encourage parents and teachers to spend some time on their site – playing their games and reading their reviews with their families. You will come away feeling better enabled for the media world we live in.

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Filed under Life skills, Thoughts

Turning the joke on boys and their reading habits

Today there has been a fair amount of press about boys and developing their reading skills. The Globe and Mail’s article summarizes the opportunity and the authors of boy humour books.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/family-and-relationships/can-fart-jokes-get-boys-to-crack-open-a-book/article1648590/

Other books that I have found help to encourage boys to read are comic books  – Scooby Doo, Sonic, etc. We read these together and talk about the story. My youngest also enjoys tracing the pictures and colouring – practicing his artistic skills.

My eldest son loves to read the Bone’s series of books. The pictures are fun – the stories are basic but he enjoys reading them. He also enjoys reading french comic books – Tintin and Asterix.

Discover french comic books

Once he has read a portion of one of these books – he often enjoys creating his own comic book which encourages his creative writing. I don’t think that the school system encourages enough creative writing – where are the short story exercises as homework? Fortunately, during free time at school, my son and his friends have taken it upon themselves to create their own stories and comic book characters.

Help feed your children’s creative minds. Many libraries have comic books to borrow. Take some home and relive your childhood with them.

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Growing A Love For Reading

One of my most vivid memories of my family summer holidays was stretching out in the back seat of our submarine coloured station wagon and devouring book after book as the family mobile wound its way along the great Canadian highway to our next campsite. 

As I became a mom, I vowed I would pass on my love for reading to my children. From the moment my first son was born, I would read to him the classics that I had enjoyed – The World of Og, Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. For my eldest, reading has come very naturally to him just like running or walking. He has been able to read without much effort since the age of 3.

For my youngest son, reading requires work and sometimes is a struggle. While he loves to have a funny story read to him, (his favourite being Munsch’s “I have to go”) he is reluctant to read out to me.

Both of my boys love going to the local library to discover new stories and new facts (I think we are starting to wear out the Wizardology and Dragonology books). Last week, we discovered the TD Summer Reading Program at our library. http://www.td-club-td.ca/2010/index-e.html My eldest – shy of doing what he perceives as school work – was not thrilled with the idea of registering. My youngest – always the first to volunteer for most things- said “where do I sign my name”. 

Great for children to discover the joy of reading

I am now a big fan of the program which is encouraging all of us to spend time listening to each other read – anywhere, anytime – poolside, at the breakfast table, at bedtime, in the middle of the afternoon under a tree.

The potential prize at the end of the summer is not the draw. The big win is to see the smile on our boys’ faces as they realize how many books they have read from beginning to end this summer. More importantly for me is to see them develop their love for reading. Together, we devour favourites and make new ones. I hope the lazy days of summer go on forever with a good book and great company.

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Filed under Impromptu Activities, Valuable Partners