Wednesday, December 10, 2008

recommended reading

The other day I listened to Emma Walton Hamilton on NPR talk about her latest book: Raising Bookworms: Getting Kids Reading for Pleasure and Empowerment. Ms. Hamilton is an "author, editor, educator and theater professional, she has co-authored 16 books for children of all ages with her mother, Julie Andrews, and serves as Editorial Director for the Julie Andrews Collection publishing program" (NPR website).

The other night, Hamilton was in Hampton Books in Sag Harbor promoting her book while my mom was down the street at Canio's bookstore giving a talk on Thomas Merton (incidentally, today is the 40th anniversary of Merton's death), so she couldn't attend. (No big deal. Hamilton lives in Sag Harbor, as does Andrews on a part-time basis. I know; I saw her walking along Main Street last Christmas. But, I digress.) Then again, my mom's kids are grown. And at least half of them are readers.

I recommend you listen to the podcast of the program if you can. I'm putting this book on my Christmas list. I think it's a book not only for parents, but teachers as well. And really, anyone who has a love for reading and wants to pass on that love.

My first writing assignment is a literacy narrative. Students reflect on books that had some kind of impact on their life and read other literacy narratives ranging from a history of reading and writing to learning how to read to a love affair w/ reading Dr. Suess books. Too many student narratives focus on the hatred rather than the love of reading. They talk about their experiences and use violent metaphors of being forced, having books shoved down their throats, and so on. What I find is that some students wish the circumstances had been different.

There's got to be a better way. I think this book can offer some good ideas. I'm sure my blog readers would love to see a reveral of the trend of reading as a chore as opposed to a delicious pleasure. I know I would.

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