Haiku 20 -- April 20, 2014

Two dozen jeweled orbs,
holding secrets or promise.
Half full or hard boiled?


Happy Easter!

From my hutch to yours. :)

Haiku 19 -- April 19, 2014

Slipped step or false start
Somedays the heart just stutters
The bed won't get made


Summertime and the reading is prescribed

I have already seen numerous postings about summer racing programs. Now I know about the "summer slide." According to RIF (Reading is Fundamental), the summer slide, "describes what happens when young minds sit idle for three months. Children who do not read over the summer will lose more than two months of reading achievement. Summer reading loss is cumulative. By the end of 6th grade children who lose reading skills over the summer will be 2 years behind their classmates."

I certainly support having kids read over the summer months. What I am not so keen about are the "programs." Giving kids a prescribed list of titles to read, having them tested over the content when school returns in the fall, and the like is counterproductive if we are aiming not only to stop the summer slide but also keep kids motivated about books and reading. Too many SRPs have narrow lists from which kids can pick their books. Worse, some have ONE book for each grade level. Here is the fallacy of one size fits all:

me and moose

I cannot squeeze into a one size fits all. College Girl would swim inside something marked one size fits all. Why do we have to take this approach? Do we fear choice? Do we not trust kids to select books on their own? How could we ever expect kids to become or remain readers if they always have books selected for them?

This summer I plan to read as I always do: #bookaday. I will read picture books, graphic novels, professional texts, journals, YA fiction and nonfiction, and more. I hope we give kids the same freedom (freedom) to read, too.

Here are some good resources from RIF: http://www.rif.org/us/literacy-resources/brochures.htm

Haiku 18 -- April 18, 2014

We are all alike:
Each of us has a birthday
and loves to be loved


Picture books beyond primary grades

A few weeks ago, Karin Perry and I spent a great deal of time talking about picture books. We had not planned to spend quite as much time as we did. We had loads of other topics we wanted to cover in a day long workshop. However, there was tremendous interest. Then this week I saw this post to the YALSA Hub: http://www.yalsa.ala.org/thehub/2014/04/17/young-adult-picture-book-pairings-cinderella-stories/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+yalsathehub+%28The+Hub%29.

Pairing picture books about Cinderella (and there are hundreds of versions of Cinderella and other fairy tales out there) with YA novels with Cinderella themes is a terrific idea, one I plan to incorporate into future presentations. Libby Gorman's pairings are a great place to begin. How about taking themes from other fairy tales or fables or folk tales and pairing them with YA books with similar themes?

I have used WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE for a LONG time to work with theme with middle school kids. Theme is abstract, but a good picture book can help make the concept more concrete. WTWTA also underscores that books can (and do) have more than one theme.

I am working right now on a half day session on using picture books with K-12 students. I am exploring the ideas here and a few others. I find I am not running out of ideas or books. I love when a germ of an idea leads to something bigger. I know many of my friends are already using picture books in all manner of inventive ways. I salute them for not abandoning picture books and start pushing kids into other works earlier and earlier. My new campaign is to replace the word "push" with "lead" or "assist" or "guide" or "encourage." I spoke to a reporter this week who talked about getting kids into harder and tougher and more complex books. There are plenty of complex books that have only 32 pages (the average picture book length). Let's explore these books without the push into something else. Reading easy, a phrase my friend Kylene Beers uses, is a good thing. We all need time to read easy, to relax as we read, to access text easily, to ENJOY the reading.

Rock the Drop TODAY!

Rock the Drop 2014

Operation Teen Book Drop 2014 is being held TODAY!

readergirlz started this event seven years ago, and it is held annually in April, on Support Teen Literature Day. Feel free to share the banner (above) at your blog and on social media, then print out copies of the bookplate (below). Slap the bookplates in your favorite YA books and leave the books in public spaces for lucky readers to discover.
Want to join in the fun? Here's how you can get involved:

* Follow @readergirlz on Twitter and tweet #rockthedrop
* Print a copy of the bookplate and insert it into a book (or 10!) On April 17th, drop a book in a public spot (park bench, bus seat, restaurant counter?) Lucky finders will see that the book is part of ROCK THE DROP!
(If you think people won't pick up the book, slap a Post-It or note on the front cover that reads, "Take this book - IT'S FREE!" Bonus points for using recycled paper and/or making your own funky design!)
* Post the banner at your blog and social networks. Proclaim that you will ROCK THE DROP!
* Snap a photo of your drop and post it at the readergirlz Facebook page. Then tweet the drop at #rockthedrop with all the other lovers of YA books.

Visit our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter for more news and pictures before, during, and after the event!

Here's the bookplate - save, print, and paste.

Rock the Drop 2014

Thank you to everyone who participates and supports the event! Remember, ANYONE may participate. If you miss the drop on Thursday, no worries - drop a book tomorrow or this weekend, and share and donate books whenever and wherever you can!

Poetry Friday: The Messenger by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird - equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect?
Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.
The phoebe, the delphinium. The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes, a mouth with which to give shouts of joy to the moth
and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam, telling them all,
over and over, how it is that we live forever.

- The Messenger by Mary Oliver

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

Five Things on a Friday

1. My friend, author Tamra Wight, took this great photo of one of the fox kits at their campground (Poland Spring Campground). Tami is the author of the Cooper and Packrat series of mystery books.

2. A week from today, I'll be speaking at the 27th Annual Conference on Children’s Literature in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. It's free and open to the public, though they do ask you to register. The focus this year is on disability, both in books and in creating inclusive programming.

3. We had snow one morning this week and my son woke me up demanding, "WHERE'S MY SPRING?!"  Indeed.

4.  I have received three school visit requests for school visits for Half a Chance, including one All School Read of the book in Tennessee next year. Time to come up for a program for that book!

5.  Happy Easter, everyone, from my two Easter bunnies.

Photo: My cuddle bunnies

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