Archive for the ‘English & Literature’ Subject

5 Ways to Encourage Boys to Read

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Nationwide, more boys than girls seem to be struggling with reading. Here are five tips from teachers, librarians, authors and literacy strategists to encourage boys to read.

First, “[e]xpand your definition of reading to include non-fiction, humor, graphic novels, comic books, wordless books, fantasy, science fiction, magazines, online, audio books, [and] comic strips,” children’s author Jon Scieszka told Scieszka is also the founder of the Web site Guys Read.

Second, do more than shelve “boy-friendly” books; actively promote them. Boys know when the books they like are being ignored. “And they’ll recognize the implication: books that are funny or action packed or fantasylike aren’t any good,” Sullivan wrote.

Third, use reading logs, Kristen Bevilacqua, a literacy volunteer in South Africa, suggests. The log’s purpose is as a “milestone tracker” more than a diary, which might be considered “girly.” The log is a place for boys to record the number of genres or chapter books they have read. “Since reading is an activity that is often too abstract for many boys, the concrete proof of their success will be beneficial to their reading confidence and independence,” according to Bevilacqua.

Fourth, another idea Sullivan suggests to teachers is to have a story hour during students’ lunch hour. In 2005, Greenland Central School, an elementary school in New Hampshire, held a program called “Literary Lunch,” where a teacher or local librarian read to students as they ate. “Each book takes one week to read, and on Fridays, we celebrate it with cupcakes for dessert,” school librarian Margaret Kelley told the Portsmouth Herald.

Fifth, enlist help from other male role models. The guide “Me Read? No Way!” highlights a mentor program at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, Canada, where men in their 20s developed “informal educational relationships” with male students, who they met weekly for two years.

“Male-teacher librarians need to read books—lots of books. Always have a book on hand. Carry it. Know a wide selection of books that boys will read,” Joel Shoemaker is quoted as saying in the guide, published by the Ontario Ministry of Education.

Even younger boys can model good reading habits for their peers. Bevilacqua suggests creating book recommendation boards in school, where boys write a summary of the book of the month or week and explain why they liked it. “A book recommended by a friend, needs no other stamp of approval for boys to want to read it too,” Bevilacqua wrote.

Educators That Rock!: Sarah Brannen

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Sarah S. Brannen

Sarah S. Brannen.

We first met Sarah Brannen, children’s book author, illustrator and blogger, at the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) conference in Charlotte, N.C., where she cohosted a panel on censorship.

FindingEducation recently reconnected with Brannen over the phone to learn more about her first book, “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” (UBW), published in 2008. “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” features a young guinea pig, Chloe, who is worried her favorite uncle won’t have time for her anymore because he’s getting married.

“The fact that it’s a same-sex wedding is absolutely irrelevant to the story,” Brannen says. But according to the American Library Association, “Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” was one of the top 10 most challenged books in 2008, due to ”homosexuality” and because it was deemed to be “unsuited to age group.” The book was also selected as an American Booksellers Association Book Sense pick for Spring 2008.

“Some of the stories that I write are about people, and I illustrate them with animals to keep the story universal,” Brannen told findingEducation.


Related Link Resources
American Booksellers Association
American Library Association

Educators That Rock!: Joyce Valenza

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Joyce Valenza in a photo by Jim Graham.

This week, findingEducation spoke with Joyce Valenza, an information specialist and author who manages the Springfield Township High School Library in Erdenheim, Pa. Valenza is also a blogger for School Library Journal, a former tech columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a lecturer on education issues and technology.

Valenza sets the bar exceedingly high for librarians. Inspired by the benchmarks set by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), she recently published “14 Ways K-12 Libraries Can Teach Social Media” (Tech & Learning, 21 Sept. 2009) and her own Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians, which calls for librarians to acquire the necessary skills to guide learners in new and emerging information and communications landscapes.

“If you call yourself an information professional, you have to be a professional in the information landscape of your time,” says Valenza.


Related Link Resources
American Association of School Librarians: Standards for the 21st-Century Learner
Springfield Township Virtual Library
Springfield Pathfinders
School Library Journal
Tech & Learning
Information Fluency Wiki
New Tools Workshop
The Future of Education

The Answer Sheet: Week of Oct. 3

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Did you take the Quiztory last week? Now it’s time to check your answers:

1. Who sent a memo on Oct. 7, 1940, to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s advisors proposing aggressive action against Japan? Lt. Cmdr. Arthur McCollum

2. When did much of Europe switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar? Oct. 5, 1582

3. Who wrote “Guerilla Warfare” and was killed by CIA operatives and members of the Bolivian army in 1967? Che Guevara

4. Where did writer Edgar Allen Poe die? Baltimore, Md.

5. Which film was the first full-length film to feature the voices of its actors? “The Jazz Singer”

Related Link Resources
findingDulcinea: OTD: McCollum Memo Delivered
findingDulcinea: OTD: In 1582, Oct. 5 Never Happened
findingDulcinea: OTD: Che Guevara Executed
findingDulcinea: OTD: Edgar Allan Poe Found Delirious
findingDulcinea: OTD: "The Jazz Singer" Released

Quiztory: Week of Oct. 3

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Test your students’ knowledge of the notable events covered in findingDulcinea’s “On This Day” column this week with the Quiztory—a quiz on important events in history. A new Quiztory will run every Friday.

1. Who sent a memo on Oct. 7, 1940, to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s advisors proposing aggressive action against Japan?

2. When did much of Europe switch from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar?

3. Who wrote “Guerilla Warfare” and was killed by CIA operatives and members of the Bolivian army in 1967?

4. Where did writer Edgar Allen Poe die?

5. Which film was the first full-length film to feature the voices of its actors?

What’s Coming Up?

Next week, “On This Day” will take a look at Christopher Columbus’ landing in the Caribbean Islands, Italy’s declaration of war on Nazi Germany and the Cuban Missile Crisis. We’ll also examine the American athletes that gave the black power salute at the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, and the kidnapping of Quebec’s Minister of Labor by militant separatists in 1970.

Related Link Resources
On This Day column

Educators That Rock!: Blake Harrison

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Blake Harrison, left, and Alex Rappaport of Flocabulary.

This week findingEducation caught up with Blake Harrison, a.k.a. Emcee Escher, rapper, educator and creative director of Flocabulary, to hear how he and Alex Rappaport, cofounder and executive producer, are bringing their energy and passion for hip-hop to the classroom.

By weaving words into rhymes with infectious beats, Harrison and Rappaport knew they could engage students and ultimately teach them something. Their first CD, released in 2004, put vocabulary words in context, helping prepare students for the SATs. Since then, they’ve developed programs for teaching world and U.S. history, math, science and even Shakespeare. They’ve taken their music on tour, held teaching workshops and created a current events series called The Week in Rap, now being broadcast on Channel One, a national TV news network for teens.

fE: When did you get the idea for Flocabulary?

BH: In high school, I had one teacher in particular who used to say “’Sesame Street’ has spoiled you guys. You guys don’t know how to learn. You think education has to be fun, but it doesn’t. It shouldn’t be.” And I couldn’t disagree with him more. I just thought he was being lazy.

Education can be fun and we make it really fun for youngsters. But right around middle school and high school, there isn’t as much emphasis on that. And I just didn’t think that was necessary. I thought you could teach really serious academic content, get people where thy have to be in terms of the standards in achievement, while also doing something that’s really engaging.


Related Link Resources
The Week in Rap
The Huffington Post
The New York Times
ill Doctrine