Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Summary of the Day's Events

Edited to correct really dumb-ass grammar mistakes. I must be really tired!

Forthwith, my report on the seminar I attended today. "News" of interest to non-librarians (or librarian-wanna-bes) is at the end.

Who is this Guy Anyway?

If you aren't familiar with Jim Trelease and you have any contact with children at all (or hopes for future children) it's a name well worth learning. He is the most passionate promoter of reading and the power of reading aloud to children whom I've ever encountered. Now in its 6th edition, his book The Read Aloud Handbook was a NYT bestseller for several months in '83 but it's been updated and extended and is still fantastic and totally relevant today. His website compiles and links to even more resources, data, and anecdotes. I highly recommend them both.

He spends much of his life today on the lecture circuit. The seminar I attended today was one for school personnel and was attended by about 60-70 librarians and teachers (more than 2/3 librarians). He reviewed his fundamental theories about teaching reading and creating enthusiastic readers and recommended dozens of books with which to "catch" readers.

The Five Books I Am Most Interested in Ordering
These aren't necessarily new books but they were new to me.
The Neighborhood Mother Goose (Nina Crews) This one is going on Natalie's Christmas list. The nursery rhymes are the familiar text, but they are illustrated with photos of modern day children (who happen to be in Brooklyn).
The Star of Kazan (Eva Ibbotson) Trelease's description was great. "Imagine that Frances Hodgson Burnett had come back to life and was writing again. Only while she was dead she learned to write tighter, more concise sentences."
The Luck of the Loch Ness Monster: A Tale of Picky Eating (A. W. Flaherty) A very entertaining explanation of the origins of the LNM....
The Escape of Oney Judge (Emily Arnold McCully) The true story of Martha Washington's slave's escape (and Washington's subsequent unsuccessful lifelong vendetta).
The Truth about Poop (Susan E. Goodman) No, this is not Everybody Poops. This one is fairly detailed picture book non-fiction, and Trelease said not only will it hook in the MOST reluctant of readers, but the writing is also very good and quite informative.

Plus a couple of books I have at school have moved to the top of my I Need to Read This list: The Invention of Hugo Cabret, The Water Horse (Dick King-Smith, movie coming out 12/25) and (I am embarrassed to admit this) Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.

Biggest Surprise of the Day
Except not so surprising when you think about it. Trelease announced that he is retiring from speaking at the end of the year, although he will fulfill the 20 or so commitments he already has. I'm really glad I had the opportunity to hear him (twice actually, as he gave a shorter lecture at a professional meeting I attended last year). I encourage anyone who's interested to check his lecture schedule on the website to find out when your last chance to see him speak might be.

In unrelated matters,
The Pants Report
No untoward occurrences in my nethers today. However, an equal lack of anything good on a pregnancy test this evening. Will keep you informed as events continue to unfold or not unfold.


  • Neighborhood Mother Goose pix are in my neighborhood. Great book!

    By Blogger Lo, at 9:28 PM  

  • Hmmmm on the nethers-report.

    And sad sighs on the Trelease retirement report. The man's a genius, and the startling thing to me is how few people (still!) seem to know about him. To give one obvious example: my MIL has been an English teacher at a private high school for 30+ years, and for the last ten, she's been deeply and profoundly unhappy because the old methods weren't working anymore, and her students uniformly hate her class. I've thought, again and again, that she'd have benefited from many ideas in Trelease's books. At the very least, she could have used some of his ideas to get her students back on her side. And if she really cared about teaching the concepts, and not the particular books on her syllabus, she could have gone to town with his material.

    But she categorically refused even to open the book.


    I'm glad you had the chance to hear him speak. Thanks for the recommendations.

    (If I had felt professionally obligated to keep track of the best read-aloud books for the gamut of ages over the last 25 years, I'd be ready to retire, too!)

    By Blogger Jody, at 9:30 PM  

  • interesting Pants Report...will be refreshing all day for the next one.

    By Anonymous calliope, at 8:28 AM  

  • Nina Crews lives up the blocks from my school, I think. And Star of Kazan is one of my top favorite books of the past couple of years. LOVE it. Love Ibbotson in general but especially that book. Also can't wait to read Cabret - it's in at my library but I am not!

    By Anonymous bri, at 10:05 AM  

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