Reflection on #yalitclass

“The things I want to know are in books. My best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I [haven’t] read.” — Abraham Lincoln

In this class, I was in the minority. Although I work in public education, my field was in special services and not direct teaching in the classroom. The struggle with that was how can I apply what I’m reading and what I’m learning in this class to my life and others lives. The answer came simple enough. I can inspire others simply by having a love of reading and sharing the love. I can start with my own family, or I can extend it beyond via cyber space. When I found a book, I talked, tweeted, blogged, facebooked it, anything to spread the love of the book wider. Some people bypassed it, others read it, and more so people started to ask questions about the book. Success! I can count a handful of people directly in my life that have read “The Station Series” simply on the act of promoting by recommendation. The cyber has opened a wide world both for readers and authors. When you tweet or blog and create an hashtag, it becomes an simple search (something I learned well). It can both be an positive or negative. In my case, it was postive because I was able to directly reach out to the authors of the book and they could/did respond to my posts. It was an instantaneous thing. Gone are the days, where you had to use snail mail and hope that it got to the address you found at the back of the book. Sharing our love, discontent or even questions about the book with the authors can inspire them as well. How? It inspires them to write more, to give us more materiel to read, love and share.

“Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.” — Emilie Buchwald

In other area of my life, I plan to share the love of reading with my children. What better way to share the love by starting with your own children? Reading was not always an everyday thing. I would try to set time a few nights a week to read to my son when I tucked him into bed. I realized that this is not enough for him and more often than not, he would be asking him to read every night. I took up the challenge. I would read for ten minutes each night to him, no matter what. He would pick out a book, or I would suggest a book. Some nights, after tending to the day I would be exhausted and it would difficult, but I pushed myself to make time. I found that it became an enjoyable time to share with him. Some of the rare time I got alone with him. After some time, I found that my son would read on his own. When he was sent to play in his room, he could be found sitting on his bed with a book. “Quiet” time, also known as nap time to me was replaced from a toy to a book. He would read quietly, (looking at the pictures and the few known words to him) under his covers before he would fall asleep and nap. I think instilling a love of books can happen at any age even if your children are older. You could take them to the library and help them discover the resources or you could even get the black and white reading kindle in hopes of stirring up a secret passion. Having the right tools like the kindle and library card can sometimes be the right gentle push they need to begging their jounrey in reading. Honestly there are so many tips that could or could not work for your child and a simple interest search could help you. In my search, I found a few tips that I thought could apply. The Urthmama blog, http://urthmama.com/inspiring-kids-to-read-10-simple-steps/, has some great tips and I will share with my readers the first two tips before signing off, please click the link to read the rest.

“1) Read good books to your child from the time they’re babies.  Sit with your child and read.  Find books you can laugh about together.  If a book is boring to you, then it’s probably boring to your child.  There are so many fantastic children’s books on the market.  There’s no excuse for reading bad books!

2) Make the books your child wants to read available in your home.  A good book is subjective.  Some kids love fiction, and others only want to read non-fiction.  If your child wants to read comic books, let him read comic books.  If she wants to read about ducks, then books about ducks are great.  My point is:  let a child learn to love to read by reading the books he loves.”

-Heather

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Couse Survey #yalitclass

For this semester, I was able to read 24 books in total, including the required readings of the class. I wanted to read about 30, but considering I gave birth in the middle of semester, I think it’s an decent number. I first thought I would be able to read in recovery, boy, was I wrong. I guess my memory from my son’s birth wasn’t as accurate as I thought.

My favorite book of the class was one of the first required readings, “Speak”. I thought it was good book to open dialogue on a subject even adults would normally shy away from. Social issues books are so important to the adolescent and youth age group, in my opinion. It makes them question and both gives them answers.

My personal pick for favorite books would be “The Station Series”. It was both a new genre for me and the first series I had ever completed from first book to current book. It encased many different topics, and left enough suspense that made me want to continue on to the next book. Over-all it was my most rec commended book to fellow classmates.

I would like to see more historical fiction in the genre. I really liked “Fever 1793” by Laurie Halse Anderson.

My favorite blog post would be “It’s Monday! What are you reading?”. It’s hard to name a specific post, because I really enjoyed reviewing the books I read. If I had to pick just one, I would pick the post where I reviewed “Coraline”. I loved the illustrations that went along with the book, so I was able to add them to the blog post.

The whole class did a wonderful job with their blogs. I wish I had more time to review and comment to each one, but time always slipped away from me. One of the enjoyable ones to read was Clayton’s blog. He has good insights on reading, teaching and issues that surround it. It was also reflected on twitter.

I will be continuing reading yalit! I actually have many books on my kindle that I did not get around to reading for the class. My next books will be the “The Breathing Series”.

I think an important question is “How can I inspire reading in others?”. I think even on a small level it was something that everyone in this class accomplished. We wrote blog, tweeted and started to talk about books. Talking and speaking highly of reading is enough to get someone’s attention and get them interested in reading one or more books.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

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Last and final “It’s Monday! What are you reading?” at least my last one that counts towards the class. I’m hoping to continue this blog with a mixture of different genres. I’ve started to get into series books. Honestly, before The Station Series I didn’t feel a draw towards them. Most of the series I knew about where Harry Potter, or Twilight, or The Hunger games. Very main stream series books. This is the third series I have started since beginning the class.

So, end of the world type of things freak me out. I can’t watch “The Walking Dead” without getting nightmeres about zombies. In fact, we are traveling right now away from hawaii on the east coast. My husband flipped on the T.V and started to watch “I Am Legend”. Nope, that lasted about two minutes before I kindly insisted he change it to another station. Surprisingly, I have two books so far that fit that bill. I guess they are less scary because they have no pictures to stick in my mind? In this book, “The Living” a whole earth quake hits the coast of California. It’s a earthquake that takes everything out and leaves people struggling to survive. On a cruise ship in the ocean, a teenager, shy, takes what he thinks will be the ideal job. It should include girls, sun, and making some cash while having fun. This only last for a little while before the earth quake has the ship in crisis. Throw in some survivalist stuff and murder and you have the beginning to a great series. The book left a lot of open ends and I’m interested to see what happens next for the character.

Aim Higher

The blog post Aim Higher had a common theme that has been discussed in #yalitclass. The ability to allow students to select their own books in a literature class. It’s no surprise that when given the ability to select their own book, they are more likely to read it. Why? Because they are selecting some thing that sparked their interest, they want to read to know more about it.

“Those who have made the move will tell you that choice matters, along with time to read and write, when it comes to student engagement and real movement in our teenage readers and writers”

.My own experience to the student in the article, Sarah, is similar.  Books were selected for us, mostly classics, and the assignments were dull at best. Not to inspiring, eh? If students associate reading with dullness, they are less likely to continue reading independently.

It’s Monday! (Kinda) What are you reading?

I kept pushing this blog post back day by day. I wanted to get all the books (three) finished before I posted this last Monday review. It’s a bit bitter sweet, but I hope to continue this blog even when it’s not being graded for the class. So on to it!

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

I avoid writing a summary here because the class has read this book along with me but I will give a few thoughts about the book as an whole. I think this book fits the social issues genre well. Sadly, violence or threats of and bullying is becoming more common place in school and this book is realistically depicting that. It made me think back to my own youth and question how much bullying was happening at that time, it wasn’t that long ago from my teenage years. Maybe I was lucky, but I don’t recall violence in my middle or high school. Maybe I was lucky, or it was where I lived. I asked my husband and he said in the inner city school were he lived, bullying and fighting was a daily thing for many students. That was just sad to me. Like those on twitters, I echo the sentiment that this book could be a good read as a class, given they have a higher maturity level. It can open the dialogue up to addressing bullying in the schools.

25346I selected “Out of the Dust” by Karen Hesse as my book to reread. I had read it many-many years and I enjoyed it. It was always on my list of books but I never found time to read it. With the class winding down, I knew it was good motivation to get it done! If you enjoy historical fiction, you’ll probably enjoy this book as much as I did. It had a unique feel to it, verse, which made it feel like you had someone’s diary in your hand and were reading it. Gives it more a personal touch.  It was the years of the great depression a struggle among itself when the farm lands dried up. Clouds of dust consumed the skies and the crops were eaten up by the bugs or burned away by the heat and sun. Billie Jo must go up fast from both the dust bowl era and her own personal struggles within her family life.

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This is another classic child’s novel. Honestly, I had this feeling as I dove into it that I read it, it just felt familiar to me. Anyone know if this book is part of a school curriculum? Maybe it was at school or even because of what the topic was about, survival in the wilderness. Brian is left to fend for himself after a tragic plane crash. With limited supplies that include the famed hatchet, Brian starts to brave the weather and the animals. He learns from doing and never giving up. Will he make it out in one piece?