November 2007 Archives

“To Read or Not to Read” that is the question, and the title of the National Endowment of the Arts analysis of the reading patterns of Americans. Released last week, the NEA report compiled data from federal agencies and educational institutions in an effort to explain the role of reading in the lives of American children, teenagers, and adults. The findings of the report indicate that reading for pleasure is on the decline among Americans of all ages with the exception of elementary school children. As students move through the educational system, they read less. Americans 15-24 years old spend ...


My first NCTE conference was a blast! Seeing the experts who have so impacted my teaching practices was the equivalent of a four day rock festival. I felt like such a groupie! After running into Janet Allen, my idol, at three separate events, I am pretty sure she thinks I am a stalker. One of the vendor booths was passing out “I Love Janet” buttons. I snagged three! Not only were the literacy gurus there, droves of book authors attended. I stood in line to get Neal Schusterman’s autograph and told him (and anyone else standing by) how much ...


One often heard mantra from my old food service days (check out resume references from the late ‘80s) was, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.” Managers regularly prodded line workers to clean instead of stand around during slow periods. Applying this philosophy to reading, I now believe, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to read.” I am packing for the NCTE Conference this week, and besides tracking down my coat (it is twenty degrees colder in NYC than Texas), I am selecting books to read on the trip. ...


I belong to a book club of women who are all moms like me. Once a year we pick a classic to read (or reread). This year’s pick was To Kill a Mockingbird, for which Lee won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and on Monday received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. I had read Harper Lee’s classic in high school and I remembered the plot, but what I did not remember was how magical Lee’s prose was, how connected I felt to Scout Finch, the narrator, and the rhythms of her life in that small Southern town. I ...


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