Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

"Hope is the thing with feathers
that perches in the soul,
And sings the tune--without the words,
And never stops at all."
Emily Dickinson

Frannie doesn't know what to make of the poem she's reading in school. She hasn't thought much about hope. There are so many other things to think about. Each day, her friend Samantha seems a bit more "holy." There is a new boy in her class everyone is calling the Jesus Boy. And although he looks like a white kid, he says he's not. Who is he?

During a winter full of surprises, good and bad, Frannie starts seeing a lot of things in a new light--her brother Sean's deafness, her mother's fear of having another miscarriage, the class bully's anger, her best friend's faith and her own desire for "the thing with feathers."

Monday, August 13, 2007

Give the Gift: 10 Fulfilling Ways to Raise a Lifetime Reader by Matthew Gollub

Matthew Gollub makes a very strong case for the vital part that parents and other caregivers play in the literacy of their children. He highlights the many important choices they make every day. Furthermore, he says: "One of our most important choices is how we support our children in reading. Our attitude toward reading, and our encouragement, mean more to our children than our level of expertise." Gollub begins with a fundamental recommendation--"Read to your child every day."

The book has a lively and colorful comic book format so that adults who read it are not overwhelmed with text. Hints appear on every page to illustrate successful strategies. They are hints like "cuddle your child when reading aloud" and "Librarians want to help you. Introduce your child and ask for suggestions."

The author devotes ample attention to the challenge that TV and video games make to reading by devoting a whole section to "how to save kids from too much electronic media." And he tackles the special techniques which are useful for connecting with teenagers through books, libraries and other sources.

All in all, this large format book with its family-friendly illustrations and sensible, straightforward language is chock-full of ideas for getting your child's attention, encouraging reading and modeling behaviors which benefit them for a lifetime.
Some portions of the book are available in 8-page literacy booklets in Spanish or English. See www.matthewgollub.com for more information.