Thursday, June 24, 2010

Getting to Know What is Out There

Last day of my GT inservices done! Yea!

What I want to talk about today stems from several conversations during my week. As we were making lesson plans, I found myself again and again referring to (and searching my mind for) literature that would either introduce, reinforce, or cause deeper thinking about the concept we were planning to teach.

I found myself recommending titles and authors quite a bit.

I am always surprised when teachers are not familiar with selections. I think there should be a course on Children's Literature offered on a regular basis to teachers. Maybe school librarians should offer them...or maybe I should start doing it.

There is so much GREAT literature out there...pathways to new concepts, other cultures, worlds outside their world...

But kids won't know about them if we don't introduce them.

I know it is my passion...I remember as a grad student spending hours (literally two or three before and after class) in a library on the Claremont campus that housed strictly children's books (literally my Heaven on Earth). I would sit in the aisles reading and selecting exactly which text would be a part of my 50 book checkout limit. I did this every week.

And now I know hundreds, maybe thousands, of titles, subjects, and authors.

Maybe I should start "book talks" on my campus where teachers bring new books they have "discovered" and highlight them for each other. Everyone would benefit.

Here's how parents can take this home. Maybe you can swap book about what books your kids are checking out with other parents.

Better yet, when you go to the library or a bookstore, browse on your own. Pick out 5 or so titles to simply read by yourself. Start building your own literature knowledge base. Read picture books, young anything and everything. You don't have to buy them or check them out. Maybe start a notebook with titles and subjects...later, when your child shows an interest or you need to use that book to say, open a discussion about bullying, you will know exactly what you need.

I can recommend things, but I want to empower you to begin your own journey too.

Just remember you are a reader too...reading children's literature will change your life too...there's amazing work out there!

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