Growing Bookworms Newsletter: July 17: #SummerReading + #SummerWriting Edition

JRBPlogo-smallToday, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every three to four weeks.  

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have three short posts about my daughter's recent reading and writing experiences. In the first, I share a simple moment that made me happy as a bookworm parent. In the second, I share my daughter's fascination with fonts and formats. In the third, I share photographic evidence of my commitment to reading choice (from a library visit). As I was traveling for a couple of weeks, I only have two posts with the literacy and reading-related links that I shared on Twitter, but one of them is  quite extensive. 

Reading Update:  In the last four weeks I finished one middle grade title and six adult titles (five fiction and one nonfiction). I read/listened to: 

  • MapOfDaysRansom Riggs: A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children. Dutton Books. Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. Completed July 9, 2019, on MP3. I found this an intriguing new installment in the Peculiar Children series. The ending promises additional titles, which pleases me. 
  • Jim Geraghty: Between Two Scorpions. Discus Books. Adult Thriller. Completed June 29, 2019, on Kindle. This was one of those books that interested me enough to finish, but not enough to read avidly, and thus slowed down my reading overall. 
  • Jason Brennan and Phillip Magness: Cracks in the Ivory Tower: The Moral Mess of Higher Education. Oxford University Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed July 5, 2019, on Kindle. This non-partisan book is about structural issues (such as poor incentive structures) that create problems in our system of higher education. I found it interesting, because this is an interest of mine, but it was also a bit slow for me. The combination of this and the previous book really cut down my reading significantly. Fortunately, Todd Borg helped me get my groove back. 
  • TahoeDeathfallTodd Borg: Tahoe Deathfall (Owen McKenna, No. 1). Thriller Press. Adult Mystery. Completed June 30, 2019, on Kindle. I quite like these books, about a Tahoe-area private investigator (former SF cop). I do have some quibbles over the writing. Borg includes regular information dumps on various topics via conversation, not my favorite technique. But he is also very good at creating perilous situations and keeping the reader turning the pages. I also like the characters, especially Owen's spotted Great Dane, Spot. It's also fun that the books (so far) are set in the early 2000s. I got a kick out of Owen whipping out a zip drive, for instance. 
  • Todd Borg: Tahoe Blowup (Owen McKenna, No. 2). Thriller Press. Adult Mystery. Completed July 7, 2019, on Kindle.
  • Todd Borg: Tahoe Ice Grave (Owen McKenna, No. 3). Thriller Press. Adult Mystery. Completed July 12, 2019, on Kindle.
  • GiftedSchoolBruce Holsinger: The Gifted School. Riverhead Books. Adult Fiction. Completed July 15, 2019, on Kindle. This book completely hooked me, and I highly recommend it. It's a fiction title that is freakishly apt for the moment, despite having been started 15 years ago. It's about a tight-knit group of four families who all have 11 year olds. When four local school districts around their upscale, progressive Colorado town band together to create a public magnet school for gifted kids, some of the parents go a bit crazy trying to get their kids admitted. I didn't like all (many?) of the characters, but I still couldn't put it down. 

BetterYouThanMeI'm reading the fourth Owen McKenna book, Tahoe Killshot. I'm listening to the latest Mike Bowditch mystery by Paul Doiron, Almost Midnight. My daughter and I have stopped reading the sixth Harry Potter book. It think it was just too dark for her, especially for summer. We may try to get back into it on a long car ride later in the summer. She has been listening to The Swiss Family Robinson on her own. She loves the old Disney movie and picked up a used copy of the book at the library bookstore recently. She needed an audio while doing a boring chore (shredding) and asked for that one. I'll be surprised if she gets all the way through it, but you never know. She's also reading Better You Than Me by Jessica Brody (a fresh take on Freaky Friday). She's reading it a bit at a time, stopping to read various graphic novels and picture books. She especially liked the first Benny Breakiron book by Peyo: The Red Taxi. We'll be looking for the others, I suppose. 

MalsSpellBookYesterday a friend passed on four Disney Descendants books to her. She read the first one (Mal's Spell Book) in a single sitting after dinner. She particularly appreciated one of the fonts, and wants to try writing that way. She is eagerly awaiting a number of sequels/series installments, but seems to be fine dabbling in the meantime. She's also writing a lot, which I love. She's working on a story and has created little sketches and bios of each of the characters, as well as a diagram that shows how they are connected. I'm enjoying it all very much. Summer reading and summer writing are beautiful things!

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms! 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


Giving My Daughter Free Choice at the Library: Photographic Proof

ScoobyDooBooks_FotorI write frequently about the importance of giving kids choice in their reading material in order to nurture their love of reading. I thought that my readers might be glad to know that I do walk the walk on this topic. A couple of weeks ago my daughter and I popped into the library. It was an unplanned stop. We were parked relatively far away and I had no bag with me to hold books. Nevertheless, my daughter found a few books that she simply HAD to take home. 

Her selection: 15 Scooby Doo Choose Your Own Adventure books and one cookbook (which someone had left by the checkout machines). I did draw the line when her selection included duplicates of the Scooby Doo books. We spent some time sorting to make sure we had one, and only one, copy of each title. But other than that, I let her run free. 

I have nothing against Scooby Doo Choose Your Own Adventure books or cookbooks, of course. I read what I believe were the original Choose Your Own Adventure titles back in the day. But I can't say that these are the books that I would have selected. And that, my friends, is the whole point. 

If kids enjoy reading, they will read. The number one way to ensure that they enjoy reading is to let them read what they like. If that means checking out 15  books from the same series, so be it. 

Would it surprise anyone to know that although she hasn't actually read all of these books, she is considering writing her own Choose Your Own Adventure story? 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.


Links I Shared on Twitter Recently: July 12: Knowledge vs. Reading Comprehension, Divisiveness in YA Twitter + Summer Road Trips

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter recently @JensBookPage. I missed the past couple of weeks of roundups because of travel and houseguests, but I was saving articles in my readers. Below you will find a veritable bonanza of links about #BookLists, #DiverseBooks, #giftedness, #Happiness, #HigherEd, #literacy, #LoveOfBooks, #math, #NoSummerSlide, #phonics, #play, #ReadingLogs, #RoadTrips, #ScreenTime, #STEM, #SummerReading, parenting, reading, schools, testing, writing and lots more. 

Book Lists + Awards

HumanBodyTheaterNew #BookList from @momandkiddo | Children's Books about the Amazing Human Body! ow.ly/yVRG30p5Bk7 | My daughter loves Human Body Theater (nonfiction #GraphicNovel about the body)

#EasyReaders and Early #ChapterBooks: Some of the Best of 2019 per @fuseeight ow.ly/dZui30p4RJe #BookList

Laugh-Out-Loud Funny Beginning #ChapterBook Series: Ages 6-10 ow.ly/jd5s30p4RGv | A good #BookList @momandkiddo b/c kids love #FunnyBooks

100 Mighty Girl Books for Tweens' #SummerReading List | @amightygirl #BookList ow.ly/wEkU30oYRsw | I will note that these #DiverseBooks w/ strong protagonists should be great for boys, too.

Announcing the Winners of the Excellence in Graphic Literature Awards! — @fuseeight ow.ly/pw4u30p6p2Y #GraphicNovels, #kidlit #nonfiction

Diversity + Gender

BlackWitchYes, #YA Twitter Can Be Toxic, But It Also Points Out Real Problems ow.ly/F8Wo30p0J43 @mollytempleton @BuzzFeed | #DiverseBooks #OwnVoices #Publishing

Torn apart: the vicious war over young adult books | @leobenedictus @GuardianBooks ow.ly/ybJR30oYRz1 | What is #CancelCulture doing to #YA fiction? | #DiverseBooks #OwnVoices

Events, Programs + Research

McDonald’s Happy Meal Toys Caught in Backlash Over Plastic - @SaabiraC @WSJ ow.ly/Dr8F30p5Z1b | I say replace all the toys with children's books for a win-win solution

HiddenTribesRepublicans and Democrats Don't Understand Each Other - @Yascha_Mounk @TheAtlantic ow.ly/fGO130oZI7g - New study by @MiC_Global shows #PerceptionGap, especially among educated Democrats

Research finds Texas 10% policy didn’t expand number of high schools feeding students to top universities ow.ly/Lu5c30p5C4n #HigherEd @hechingerreport @jillbarshay

Preschoolers Who Practice #Phonics Show Stronger #Math Skills, Study Finds - @EdWeekTeacher https://t.co/vGqY7YN6gY

Brain Wars: #UnitStudies vs. Brain #Science@MarlaSzwast ow.ly/Nimu30p4R5o "what goes on in our brains when we learn is much more similar to what happens in every other person’s brain than it is different."

Not even a little bit surprising, but still good: Study Finds Toddlers Prefer Print Books over Tablets – @ClevelandClinic ow.ly/jZ9N30p46or #GrowingBookworms

I think this is a really neat program: To Improve Care, #VA Asks Patients Their Life Stories + adds them to medical record | @bkesling @WSJ ow.ly/5kTB30p4OtU | An idea for @KPMemberService

Growing Bookworms

ClassroomBookADay#classroombookaday - #PictureBooks Are For ANY Grade ow.ly/4Anl30oYRpb | @heisereads "Picture book is a format, not an age designation"

Pros & Cons of #ReadingLogs - @Larryferlazzo shares responses from 4 educators | I'm w/ @LRobbTeacher + @huels_ryan https://t.co/rzUbn2LIDp

Road Trip #Literacy Tips for When You Can’t Read in the Car from @TheReadingTub ow.ly/6kYy30p4QZx | Alphabet games + more | In my family we play a game where we name a winery for each letter of the alphabet

#NoSummerSlide Week 5 @TheReadingTub – Road Trip #Literacy Ideas (when you can't read in the car), Part 2 ow.ly/MTb030p4Riv | music, #audiobooks, #podcasts + more

#NoSummerSlide Week 6 @TheReadingTub #Literacy-themed #RoadTrip Activities, Part 3 ow.ly/eTcn30p5Bsi | Journals + treasure hunts are both up my daughter's alley for sure

Booktalks: An Often-Overlooked Way to Foster a #LoveOfReading in Children | Christine French Cully  @ReadBrightly ow.ly/BAYo30p6OC0 | "reading for pleasure makes us smarter, more empathetic, and even healthier"

This is awesome! Books on wheels: School bus keeps #SummerReading rolling | Herald & Tribune ow.ly/2FPO30p4RZg | via @bkshelvesofdoom

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

PigeonSchoolMy daughter saw this story + we had to order the book immediately: Mo Willems Prepares Another ‘Pigeon’ Book - @chriskornelis @WSJ ow.ly/CcY630p4OPn @The_Pigeon @DisneyBooks

The Complete Listing of All Public Children’s Literature Statues in the United States (2019 Edition) — @FuseEight ow.ly/Qd2t30p5TKc #kidlit #art

What Creates a #Reading Identify, and should we be worried about a decline in reading among today's kids? @Kerensd @AwfullyBigBlog ow.ly/5R0h30p5BpT #LoveOfBooks #GrowingBookworms

Is teaching #writing as important as teaching #reading? Yes, say many. It encourages independent thinking, empowerment + communication @MollySpray @washingtonpost https://t.co/IAC3suyN8F 

On the UK #ChildrensLaureate speeches, kids' rights as readers + a reminder that it's easier to convince kids of the #JoyOfReading than it is adults, by @KMcCaughrain @AwfullyBigBlog ow.ly/6Gpx30p6PdB

WizardsOnceNew UK #ChildrensLaureate @CressidaCowell wants to 'take on TV' to encourage kids to love books + boost creative #writing + #SchoolLibraries ow.ly/6npL30p5ZzO @BBC

#Writing Tips for Kids 11 @BookChook - Write Great Dialogue ow.ly/NAsr30p4RWD | Listen to people chatting, pay attention to what you read in books + more

I agree w/ @MarniAtHome that handwritten thank-you notes are the grace notes of life ow.ly/Mxmg30oZoX6 | They are getting rarer all the time, but I always appreciate them | #Gratitude

Parenting, Screen Time + Play

The First Time Our Child Was Asked “To Come Out and Play” | #TeacherMom @HonorsGradU shares tips for supporting + reassuring parents as they strive to build autonomy in kids ow.ly/T10P30p6PoZ

ScreenwiseAt Your Wits' End With A Screen-Obsessed Kid? Read This | @MindShiftKQED @anya1anya ow.ly/6elh30p4S5X | #parenting #ScreenTime @DevorahHeitner

I agree completely w/ @TrevorHCairney that #boredom is still good for children! ow.ly/lJf730p5DkG #parenting #play #creativity

I certainly agree with this piece: A Young Imagination Beats Videogames - Mike Kerrigan @WSJopinion ow.ly/yULI30p0l2d #play #ScreenTime

Parents, Reject the Fear-Mongering says #TeacherMom @HonorsGradU ow.ly/NJ1H30p4RRN | Push back on #HelicopterParenting w/ Mary's questions about #FreePlay + #ChildIndependence

Study of 1500 UK parents found most care more about their kids' #happiness than about their #grades or professional success ow.ly/uTza30p4Rg5 @TheSun via @drdouggreen

10 Signs That Your Child Is More Ready for #Kindergarten Than You Might Think – @HonorsGradU ow.ly/jd1830p4R2d | They enjoy stories (even if they aren't sitting perfectly still) + lots more | #ChildDevelopment #Parenting

Schools and Libraries

KnowledgeGapElementary-School Curriculum Is All Wrong | In early grades, #schools value reading-comprehension skills over knowledge. Results are bad, espec. for poor kids @natwexler @TheAtlantic https://t.co/OnBmbLfsdX

Bob Shepherd: This Is What a Generation of “Standards and Testing” Has Done to #ELA Teaching | @DianeRavitch via @drdouggreen | #teaching skills instead of content ow.ly/5jnc30p5TBZ

Serving the #Math Whiz Kids: Private enrichment programs step up to meet the need that #schools are not filling for kids strong in math | @TchersPet @EducationNext ow.ly/aiXN30p5TMH | #giftedness #PISA #STEM

#Grades Are Lousy Preparation for Life - @mssackstein ow.ly/LmOj30p4R8W | Grades in the 90s are very good in #school, but most jobs expect near 100% performance. Some don't even have numeric metrics

20,000 Pennies: How a #BookClub Transformed our #School Community by #SchoolLibrarian Sarah FitzHenry @nerdybookclub ow.ly/zZOf30oZIeC #LittleFreeLibraries

This makes sense to me | How Building in Time for Exam Review Supports Advances in Student Learning | @kendalrolley @MindShiftKQED ow.ly/IFaH30oZoRi | #GrowthMindset #Testing

7 Effective Family Involvement Techniques for Teachers from @growingbbb ow.ly/Jtx430p6p04 | Enhance communication, rethink #homework + more

Here's something I hadn't considered: #Schools Wrestle With Privacy of #DigitalData Collected on Students (e.g. search histories) @BetsyMorris2 @WSJ https://t.co/z2IMDUV3HF

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


A Modern Literacy Milestone: A Preference for Specific Fonts

LiteracyMilestoneA

Recently my daughter has displayed a preference for certain fonts. She likes Century Gothic best, but also enjoys playing around with others when she is working in Microsoft Word. I feel  like this one is something of a modern milestone. When I was a kid there was no Word and I didn't learn to type until middle school. The fonts that came in books were just background, as far as I can remember, not something that one had preferences about. 

But my daughter, a budding writer and a reader of many picture books and graphic novels, notices fonts. She came up to me with a book the other day and said "Look! I think this is Century Gothic." I taught her about serif  vs. sans-serif fonts, since she was  interested.

She has taken to occasionally entering her hand-written stories into Word (hitting me up to help with the data entry). In those cases she spends time experimenting with the fonts (making important words larger and bolding them, etc.). She also leaves text boxes so that she can print out the document and add her own illustrations. 

I'm mulling setting her up with a typing app, but this is in conflict with my desire to limit her screen time, so I've been putting that off. In the meantime, I think it's neat that she has started noticing fonts and formatting conventions, much earlier than I ever did. Thanks for reading and for growing bookworms!

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage


A Successful #GrowingBookworms Moment

KristysBigDayYesterday afternoon, after a busy day, my daughter left the bathroom declaring that she was going to read "every word" of Kristy's Big Day (a Baby-Sitters Club graphic novel that she has read many times). She curled up on the couch to do so and a period of quiet ensued. Then I heard her give a deep, satisfied sigh and say: "I love that book!".

That's all. Just a teeny tiny moment in the life of raising a young bookworm. But for me, such moments are what it's all about. I do have three conclusion to draw from this experience.

  1. If you want your children to love books, you should let them re-read to their hearts' content. It doesn't matter what they are reading, just that they enjoy it and choose it themselves. 
  2. It is worthwhile to purchase copies of the books that your children really love, because you never now when the whim to read a beloved title might strike. 
  3. It is also worthwhile to keep book baskets in convenient locations around your home, especially in  the bathrooms.

Just saying…

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.