Archive | July, 2012

Reading Rug Role Model

11 Jul

It’s never too late to learn, and author Jim Henry proves that at age 96.   Just two years ago, the retired lobsterman learned to read and write.  With help from a tutor Henry also wrote a book, In a Fisherman’s Language, which has had a warm response in his Connecticut hometown, even selling out Steve Jobs’ book at the local book store.

Taken out of school in third grade to help out his family, he never learned to read and made his way by faking it.  When his granddaughter told him about the memoir of a slave who beat illiteracy late in life Henry decided that he could too.

His education started with his name, the ABCs, and then moved on to setting down events from his life and his adventures on the sea.  He says the best part is finally be able to lose himself in books, like The Old Man and the Sea; “that was quite a story,” says Henry, his eyes twinkling.

-This post has been inspired by the original story published 3/5/12 in People Magazine, by Kristen Mascia.

50 Best Summer Reads

7 Jul

Looking for some good summer reads?  Here is a list, courtesy of National Public Radio, The Guardian, The Times and the Washington Post.  Happy reading!

The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini

Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding

Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells

The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, by Fannie Flagg

The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver

The French Lieutenant’s Woman, by John Fowles

The Alexandria Quartet, by Lawrence Durrell

Amours de Voyage, by Arthur Hugh Clough

Atonement, by Ian McEwan

The Beach, by Alex Garland

Body Surfing, by Anita Shreve

Bonjour Tristesse, by Françoise Sagan

Chocolat, by Joanne Harris

Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel García Márquez

Cider with Rosie, by Laurie Lee

Death on the Nile, by Agatha Christie

The English Patient, by Michael Ondaatje

Flashman’s Lady, by George MacDonald Fraser

French Leave, by PG Wodehouse

The Go-Between, by LP Hartley

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver

The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith

The World According to Garp, by John Irving

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

The Prince of Tides, by Pat Conroy

Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel

The Princess Bride, by William Goldman

The Accidental Tourist, by Anne Tyler

Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende

I Like It Here, by Kingsley Amis

Imogen, by Jilly Cooper

The Lady in the Lake, by Raymond Chandler

The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst

The Magus, by John Fowles

Mother’s Milk, by Edward St Aubyn

A Murder of Quality, by John le Carré

The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, by Evelyn Waugh

Our Man in Havana, by Graham Greene

The Reconstructionist, by Josephine Hart

Robinson Crusoe, by Daniel Defoe

Romola, by George Eliot

The Sea, The Sea, by Iris Murdoch

The Sheltering Sky, by Paul Bowles

The Reading Tent

4 Jul

If you have a tent in your garage or basement, consider taking it out this summer and pitching it in your own backyard (or get creative and make something out of sheets and blankets). It’s a great escape for kids as it encourages exploration, independence and can serve as a learning sanctuary. I took our tent over to my five year old friend Gabriel’s house and set up a ‘reading tent’ for the him, and it was a huge hit!  There is something about a new atmosphere, the cozy seclusion of a tent and being outside that is really conducive to summer reading.

In the morning Gabriel and I set up the tent together, then we went to the library and choose some new books.   Gabriel and I brought out four books to the tent. Two of the books he could read almost independently and two books I would read aloud.  We put down a blanket and spent about an hour in the tent.  In the year that I have known Gabriel, this was the longest he has attended to reading.

Some of the reasons for this success:

  • There wasn’t a TV, toys, or any of the usual distractions to take him away from the books.
  • He chose the books, used his library card and made an independent decision about his reading…kids are totally capable of doing this (with a little guidance)!
  • Gabriel had the opportunity to read and listen.  Kids need to practice both skills and it’s a good way for parents or caregivers to model reading.

Helping kids love reading may take a little more effort, but it’s truly worth it.