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Archive for the ‘Books & Reading’ Category

With fear ramping up in the face of Coronavirus, it is great to see Australian bookshops taking an active lead in addressing the isolation that many may or will feel over the coming weeks and months.

Just this morning I received a newsletter from Avenue Bookstore which offers HOME DELIVERY for books purchased to the value of $30.

And yesterday, Books+Publishing published an article addressing how booksellers are responding to the crisis.   Included in this article is an annotated list of bookshops across Australia.  Well worth a look.

To help book buyers in Melbourne, Alan Vaarwerk has taken the initiative of creating a Google Map showing which bookshops home deliver!

Awesome!

I can’t think of a better way for us to get through this horrendous time than by disappearing into the parallel universe created between the covers of a book!

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The last time I wrote about the value of reading, I latched onto the words of my TV buddies – The Simpsons – when they proclaimed: Books have an amazing power!

But when I come across a visual which says (nearly) all that I write, think and feel, I just love it!!

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A couple of weeks ago I published a post titled: KidsNews: a great resource! on NovaNews, my other blog.  While detailing much that could be found on this website, I intentionally saved the best for this blog!!

Scroll down to the bottom of the KidsNews website to find a link titled Book Club.   Before you click on the link though, be sure you’ve got a stretch of time up your sleeve to read, explore and imagine how the various links on this page could be used with students. With competitions, announcements of competition winners (including links to their winning stories), interviews with authors, articles about up coming publications, there’s so much to be explored and enjoyed.

The Kids News website brings news stories to classrooms in a fun, accessible and engaging way, and we are delighted to add our books to the mix to help teachers and parents get kids reading.”

Informative and appealing.  With a well structured classroom activity, it’s hard to imagine students not being drawn into this website!

How great it would be though if the people behind the scenes of KidsNews could be persuaded to extend this website to teen readers.   Innovative and appealing online Book Clubs such as this would be a great magnet for tech savvy teens!

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An amazing opportunity exists for passionate Teacher Librarians or Teachers of English and Literacy to be awarded a $15,000 scholarship.

Offered by the Australian Reading Agency, the 2020 Reading Australia Fellowship, was announced late last year.

The Fellowship, worth up to $15,000, will support an experienced teacher or teacher librarian to undertake professional skills development and career-enhancing opportunities.

The opportunity to be funded to develop skills and make a difference to students in our schools, is too good to miss.  Application details are listed on the Copyright Agency website.  Applications are due by:  1.00pm 20th July 2020

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The new Australian Children’s Laureate has just been announced!

Having written more than 60 books for children, including novels, picture books, non-fiction books and a play, Ursula Dubosarsky will spend the next two years traveling throughout the country promoting the joy and importance of reading.

While following in the tracks of Morris Gleitzman, the previous Australian Children’s Laureate will not be easy, Dubosarsky has already set her sites high.  Using the theme ‘Read for your life’ Dubosarsky has stated that her aim is to get teens reading!

Australia’s new Children’s Laureate has urged all parents to sign up their children to local libraries and visit weekly, worried that younger readers may not develop a lifetime appreciation of reading as they move into adolescence and adulthood……

“Reading is a lifetime project, it’s not something you learn, and that’s it,” she said. “To be a good reader you have to read all the time. It’s like learning to swim but only doing one lap. You won’t be able to save yourself.”

The Age: New children’s laureate worries for teen readers by Linda Morris. February 11, 2020

Check out the video of Dubosarsky on Story Box to get a feel of where the next two years are headed:

Read more about the concept of Australian Children’s Laureate on their website.

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Located in Budapest, this book fountain brings warm and fuzzy feelings to me of reading and the joy of reading.  Located in Egyetem Square in Budapest, it was built in 2012.

 

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I came across this great reading promo cartoon recently:

Created by Hedger Humor, a cartoonist who aims to find the laughter in everyday moments, this really does cut straight to the heart of the joy that books bring to us when we contemplate or envision ourselves reveling in the next good read.

It’s just great!!

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I’ve seen a number of inspirational bookcases and book promos in public places, but this one is really great!!

Located at the University of Balamand in Lebanon, the book staircase, called the Staircase of Knowledge, has been built next to the university library.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if this idea could be ‘built’ into some of our schools or created as an entry to the library.

Well worth exploring!!  Love it!!

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Sometimes the message imparted by a simple illustration is profound.   This is one of them.

Gawler Books

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Promoting a love of reading has been taken to a new level by retired Italian school teacher, Antonio La Cava. 

In 2003, after teaching for 42 years, La Cava built a portable library containing 700 books.  Dubbed the “Bibliomotocarro”, he has been driving his portable library around villages in southern Italy ever since.

Reminiscent of my own childhood memories of hearing tinkling music outside my house which heralded the arrival of the local ice cream truck, the sound of the organ announcing the arrival of La Cava’s Bibliomotocarro brings a flock of excited children to his mobile library. 

It takes an experienced teacher such as Antonio La Cava to sum up my own feelings about how reading is being approached in schools:

A disinterest in reading often starts in schools where the technique is taught, but it’s not being accompanied by love.  Reading should be a pleasure, not a duty.”

Just recently I published a post on NovaNews, my other blog, about my own conviction that the joy of reading is being killed by the requirements of the English curriculum in our schools which dictate that novels, referred to as ‘class texts’, should be read, analyzed, discussed and analytically pulled to pieces so that students develop a sharpened appreciation of an author’s craft.

Writing in this post I found myself lamenting the continuing disinterest in promoting a love of reading by English teachers and republished a post I wrote some four years ago:  Do required reading and class texts inspire a love of reading?  The following extract from that post highlights my strong belief that we need to focus more on developing in our students a love of reading.

Over the years, I’ve had lots of ‘heart-to-heart’ chats with senior students about books and reading habits.  Many have expressed their dislike of class texts and the inherent requirement to analyze texts to death.  Many of my chats have been with reluctant readers, who openly confide that they just don’t like reading.  Teasing out the reasons for their disinterest has almost always come down to their experience of being required to read specific books that they have found boring and then having to spend copious amounts of time – often a full term – analyzing, discussing and handing in written reports.

These conversations always leave me feeling bereft.

I’ve spoken with English teachers often about this issue, but always have the same facts thrown at me: students need to study class texts over an extended period of time so as to hone their analytical skills, their critical thinking skills and their appreciation of the classics. This ‘full stop kind’ of response invariably allows no openings to my pleas to  incorporate additional or alternate opportunities aimed at inspiring students to read, read and read some more – just for the joy of it!

Yes, I’ve also faced the argument that I’m not an English teacher who has an allocated number of periods a week within which to teach a curriculum and ensure that students complete inherent required assessments.  I’ve also been reminded that I’m a Teacher Librarian who has lots of time to spend dreaming up, creating and staging a range of enticing literary activities.

Well, yes, I guess that’s correct.  A big part of my job as a Teacher Librarian is indeed to inspire a love of reading.  And that’s just what I do and will continue to do for as long as I work as a Teacher Librarian!  I make no apologies for this!

I’m passionate in my belief that reading is a core skill which underlines all educational achievement.  We need to ensure that we inspire students to read, to read anything and everything they possibly can.  We need to ensure that students leave our classes and schools with an embedded love, desire and appreciation of just how much reading can bring to their lives – forever.  Reading does not just fit into English or Library periods, but is a skill which extends across all aspects and subjects of the curriculum.

As a Teacher Librarian I constantly grapple with the issue of engaging students with literature.  Over the years, I’ve devised many an alternate approach to put books into the hands of students in my school.   Many of these alternate approaches were incorporated into Literary Festivals I organized at one school.  I have also blogged, written and presented about some of the many activities, programs and events I have organized over the years in my library sessions.  If interested, have a read of this post: Engaging readers: Tried and tested ideas that work!

Perhaps it’s time for all of us – secondary school English teachers and Teacher Librarians alike – to step back and take a look at the nature of our program content and question whether what we are doing is encouraging or discouraging our students to become lifelong readers.

NovaNews: Do required reading and class texts inspire a love of reading? November 8, 2015

 

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