What should I be Reading to Children in January 2020

By Indian Literature, Librarian's Role, Literacy, Readaloud, Reading Program One Comment

Reading Stories & Information

How can you build a growth mindset with Reading? How can you help build knowledge, perspective and develop the habit of good reading for children? it is when adults model and read the right text, at the right time through open discussions. So what do we do?

India is blessed with a variety of religion, culture and language. It is a celebration all year round. You and I can take this opportunity to invite our students to learn about the festivals and purpose behind the holidays.

 Most importantly look for a common thread, a theme that overlaps one another.  A common theme will bring unity, understanding and respect that we owe to all human beings. It will lift us from a basic description of festivals to thinking about the cause, impact and importance of the festival.

What should I read to my students/children in January or the Winter months in India?  What can librarians and teachers read to students?

Reading For Young Children:

  1. New Year Celebrations is often recognized by students as the beginning year with promises and resolutions. This book The Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Leg by Pratham will help invite students to think about kindness, care and make decisions to begin a year with empathy. Children can either discuss, share or write on index cards -about their resolution and stick it on the resolution tree on the bulletin board.
  2. This Book Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi, Sindhi & Other F…by VyanstGurivi G shares why and how different festivals are celebrated. And this one can be used to think of the similarities, and the differences among the festivals Lohri, Pongal and Makar Sankranti – each of them related to harvest time. The compare and contrast reflection sheets help in teaching students to evaluate works about similar topics offer positions of differences within the subject – while developing a theme.

Reading about Important dates in January 2020

Reading & Question

Time and Date tells us the events in India

Jan 1Wednesday New Year’s Day Restricted Holiday

Jan 2Thursday Guru Govind Singh Jayanti Restricted Holiday

Jan 14Tuesday Lohri Restricted Holiday

Jan 15Wednesday Pongal Restricted Holiday

Jan 15Wednesday Makar Sankranti Restricted Holiday

Jan 25Saturday Chinese New Year Observance

Jan 26Sunday Republic Day Gazetted HolidayJan 29Wednesday 

Jan 29 Wednesday  Vasant Panchami Restricted Holiday

Reading and Discussions with Older Students in January 2020

Reading, Thinking & Analyzing

Republic Day 

Instead of colouring the flag, asking students, what happens on Republic Day, who was the first president, as educators we need to ask open-ended and higher-order thinking questions that can promote thinking and analyses. It is a challenging process for teachers to deal with controversial topics, if we do not do take the responsibility, then who will?

  1. Researching on what it means for India to be a Republic?
  2. How is India’s Republic Status different from other countries Republic Status?
  3. Does it mean the same for all the countries – Explain?
  4. How is the  CAB bill (Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019) an extension of the Republic? Why is it a pressing bill?
  5. How can we ensure that CAB and National Register of Citizens bills are well understood?

Media Literacy with Reading

Teaching when done at the right time, becomes the Aha Moment! that we look for – Relevant and Timely. This is the time to introduce Media Literacy and look into biases and perspectives of different people by asking these questions? 

  • Who wrote or created the video, app, meme?
  • Does the author have credible credentials to back the information?
  • Why was it created?
  • Does the information match with other websites?
  • Are these different points of view?

If the article or media creates a strong emotive (positive or negative) reaction, we must remember to hold off and not jump to conclusions. Unless we read extensively about different perspectives and then draw informed decisions based on personal knowledge. We need to remember to hold off before spreading and passing on the information, especially if it is biased and/or has only one point of view. 

Responsible Digital Citizen & Reading

The internet has allowed everyone to share their voice and opinions. But, that doesn’t mean, everyone who shares on the internet is well informed when making opinions. It is crucial to learn how to be a responsible digital citizen. While discussing controversial topics, it is important for the teacher, to provide newspaper cuttings, articles from different sources to build on information, analyze, think and clarify. 

New Year Reading Topic for Older Students

Older students can also look up the history of ‘New Year Celebrations’ – What it means to different people in different religions and countries. 

  • How can we be respectful and celebratory of all religions? The Bahaii, Islam, Hindu, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis, Christians all have different days for their New Year.

    Read & Discuss with a Heart!

  • What can we do as a nation to build solidarity, empathy and dignity of all? 

What is a Discussion?

A good rule for analysis or discussion needs to be based on hard facts and a soft voice. A discussion should be an attempt to explore and understand the subject from all points of view and not a clash of who is right or wrong.

Discussion is not a debate – no one is right or wrong. It is an attempt to emphatically listen to each other. The teachers’ job here is that of a facilitator, not taking sides, recognize and encourage fact-based discussion with an emphasis on the origin of the information.  (Where did the information come from and what makes you stand by that information – is it based on facts or opinions) Ensure that we build a community of learners with a heart.

Teachers as Reading Facilitators

Open discussions and respect of varied opinions are a part of a matured mind and elevated intellect. 

Having robust discussions about politics, religion are challenging but not impossible. An excellent reminder to the teachers and students would be to remember, we all are humans, we all have rights and responsibility, and it is necessary to adopt and include all members of the human society while each one performing their responsibilities. 

 

How to Create a Culture of Reading in 2020 and be successful?

By General, Reading and Writing 2 Comments

Reading is the most essential ingredient of a successful life. All successful people besides being talented, resourceful, and working smart they are readers. They read all kinds of books to build on their imagination, courage and foresight.

Society Reads

Why is Reading Important in Today’s Society?

Through reading, you can learn about new important developments. It gives us an understanding of different angles of life.

  • Reading helps individuals build a large spectrum of information that leads to knowledge.
  • Reading helps you understand the impact of the social, economic, environmental changes on life.
  • Self-help books help you learn about new strategies when dealing with life changes.
  • Helps you learn about different peoples way of living, their ideas, beliefs and gives you their perspective of living, making you become openminded.

Most of all, reading helps us become appreciative and tolerant of other peoples beliefs and value systems and we are all a part of the human race, shouldn’t we, therefore, be accepting of different ways of living?

Why is Reading Important For Adults?

Every Adult Reads

One of the most important attributes of successful people is that they all read. Reading builds the cognitive ability of individuals, builds vocabulary, thinking skills, and concentration. Each of these skills is essential for individual growth, success and meaningful life.

Adults who read with meaning begin to question, thus, making them analytical in their approach. Thinking minds help adults to make decisions based on reason. Life is lived in grey areas, reading helps you become knowledgeable helping you make decisions that require a balance of the head and the heart. Reading creates that balance.

Reading both fiction and nonfiction helps keep the balance. Reading fiction helps open up different life situations and develops the emotional intelligence and social balance helping people live longer. Reading nonfiction builds on the intelligence and the cornucopia of content knowledge.

Every Child Reads

Why is Reading Important for Children?

Children who read are confident learners. They learn language, vocabulary and the syntax of the language without much effort. Reading with meaning and developing comprehension skills are important. Comprehension skill does not only mean only to understand the story and know what happened in the end. It involves different aspects of thinking.

  • Question and Answers
  • Character analysis
  • Analyzing settings
  • Comparing and Contrasting
  • Visualization
  • Synthesizing a large size of contents
  • Identifying the themes
  • Reviewing authors perspective
  • Author’s point of view

Reading critically helps children become better communicators.

Why Should Teenagers Read?

Every Teen Reads

Teenagers brains and minds during their teen years are in search of love, support, encouragement, acceptance, attention and direction. Teenagers need directive support, not overbearing parents who make demands on them.

  • Reading helps teenagers develop the courage to choose and make decisions that would be beneficial to them.
  • Reading unlike videos can be impactful as the richness of the text, in the form of character and events that happen in the story, build on identity and personality development.
  • Internal and external conflicts that arise within the context of the story have resolutions that provide courage, passion and empathy for teenagers to identify with.

Fictional stories of sports, romance, adventure, science fiction, mystery, historical & realistic fiction provide courage and support to make decisions and direction for their dreams, passions and adventure. Reading provides a safe space for them to explore their own beliefs, ideas and ideals.

How Can YOU Build a Culture of Readers?

Firstly, there are no shortcuts in life. All good things need effort. Delicious meals need effort, a designer outfit needs effort and to buy beautiful things in life need money and effort.

Similarly, to build a home of readers we need the support of parents (adults), teachers, and friends. Here is an article from an academic journal that shows there is a correlation between success and reading. According to Scholastic Education, the volume of reading is also essential. It builds stamina, interest and builds resilience.

Reading is a life skill that opens the doors to growth and progress with confidence.

What do you mean by ‘Culture of Reading’?

Read, Read, Read

A culture of readers means that the family places reading as an essential ingredient in life. From a child’s perspective, he sees his/her parents read, the grandparents reading – it can be in any language. The child notices the importance of reading is established in the school.

Every member of the family spends some time of the day – reading. This is how the culture of reading is established.

How do you build ‘Culture of Readers?

Here are some of the ways you can build a culture of readers:

  1. Giving readers an opportunity to read based on their choice. It can be reading a magazine, fiction, nonfiction, folklore, poetry or even a newspaper.
  2. Readers could be given a choice reading on a device or using physical books. (Social media posts don’t apply to this)
  3. Set reading goals. Each member of the family makes their own goal. Goal ideas maybe –
    • To read one book from different genres in six months.
    • Read with someone
    • Join a book club
    • Older siblings can read to little ones or even a pet
    • Read with children/parents
    • Have newspaper articles discussion: identify a topic in news and have the discussion for a week and then change the topic. The first week it could be about local politics, the next week it could be about fashion, the third week it could be about sports; so on and so forth
  4. Most importantly, let the child or adult have a choice of selecting the genre or the reading topic or choice of book or author.

A Reader is a Winner

Successful Readers

Successful readers are insightful, they have better experience in understanding problems. According to Oxfam  India has approximately 74% Literacy rate. It means that 74% can read, write and comprehend information so that they can effectively communicate, and this includes road signs. In this study, only the basic level of literacy is measured.

However, thinking critically, analytically and communicating effectively and using language comes only with deep reading. Reading is important in every aspect of physical, emotional and social growth.

Successful readers are the trigger of modernization, communication and commerce. Good readers comprehend the social and political environment and can respond appropriately. The deeper the literacy and understanding, the greater the awareness to improve social and economic conditions. It is correlated to social upliftment. The more literate the person, a better understanding of health, hygiene and self-worth.

Reading is like a window and a mirror

Window because it shows you different perspectives, different ideas and insights of many different cultures, work and topics

Mirror because it reflects your experiences, feelings, ideas, values and thoughts.

Let’s read you and me and open our world of optimism and a support growth mindset.

Book Reports with Purpose

By Book Reports One Comment

Book Reports -Source: Pixabay CC0 License

Meaningful book reports to help students think deeply:

How do we challenge our students to use higher order thinking skills to help students think deeply about what they read? Book reports have always been a vital part of a librarians role. And, somehow we end up with students writing a summary or a description of the book.

How do we change the book report style?

To help students interpret the book or analyse the story deeply, we will need to encourage them to select a book of their choice and have them use different strategies and not summarization. Here are some thoughts:

1. Settings of the novel: Why has the author chosen the context to explain? Describe with evidence that demonstrates the difference between the settings in the story with your background. For example: Why was the story in the mountains,? How is it different from the city? Whey did the author choose the hills instead of the town? What are the implications of the settings on the goal/meaning/intent of the story?

2. Characterisation: Explain the protagonist, how is he/she is different from the other characters in the story? What part of the books describes the person as a stereotype or someone different. Explain the personality traits with examples. Explain the moods of the major and minor characters, their feelings, actions and thoughts.

3. Point of view? What point of view is the story written in? First person, second or third person? Why do you think he chose to write it in this format? How would the author have written the same story from another point of view? Give examples from the story.

4. Conflict: Students can identify the problem or the conflict in the story. Is it between people, nature versus human, self-conflict, society norms versus one development? Explain the conflict and how does the main character/protagonist grow or learn from the battle?

5. Theme and Symbols: Think and explain what the author’s purpose was to write this book? The subject of the novel is the big idea which is often universal, for example, it could be friendship, saving the environment. The symbols in the story are metaphors or symbols used to add depth and meaning to the story. They can be identified and explained with examples.

Reading Logs and DEAR

By Book Talk, General, Literacy, Readaloud, Reading and Writing, Reading Program, School Libraries No Comments

What is a Reading Log?

Are they useful? Do you think reading logs can help readers be accountable for what they are reading and how much they are reading?

Adding time and page numbers to the reading log – Will that accurately tell how much students are reading, why they are reading and what they have accomplished from their reading? Do we as adults follow it?

Reading logs are now being replaced by reading responses, that is nudging students to be analytical thinkers by carefully analyzing the structure and word choice of text while reading. An interesting article Goodbye Reading logs from Scholastic shows you how you can help build readers during your library classes with your students.

What is Dear?

DEAR – Drop everything and read is another opportunity provided for students to stop and read. Language class teachers often use this strategy to support learning in class. Librarians can also use DEAR for 10 minutes of their class and have students read with meaning, you may use graphic organizers to compare settings, characters or even the genre of the books or magazine that they are reading.

Other reading responses could be:

  1. Analyze the character in the book with someone you know or compare the character with your sibling?
  2. What is the author’s purpose, and how do you know that?
  3. If it’s a nonfiction book – compare and contrast.
  4. What are the facts and opinions in the passages, and explain them with pieces of evidence?
  5. What are the problems that you infer in the passage/story? What makes you say so?
  6. Identify the character’s point of view? Compare them with your views. (You can use emotions too)
  7. What current events come to your mind, while you are reading this passage?
  8. What connections can you make with history or modern-day technology?
  9. What inferences can you make about the passages you are reading?
  10. Identify some of the sensory words and create a poem with those words?
  11. Write five words or phrases that might summarize what you have read.
  12. Explain your reading with a metaphor or a meme.

Of course, teacher librarians will need to model the responses and demonstrate with an example so that students too can closely read with deeper comprehension.

Reading Aloud 3 -Visualization

By General, Readaloud, Reading and Writing, Visualization No Comments

How to connect with children so that their learning is deep and impactful?  Developing love for reading is the essential ingredient for success. Especially in this age and time, you can teach yourself any skill or any new knowledge. As educators, we know that reading aloud is critical but what and how do we read-aloud?

Using visualization as a reading strategy is essential. According to Reading Rockets: Good readers construct mental images as they read a text.

What is Visualization: It is a reading comprehension strategy. It allows the reader to imagine and have a picture in their mind. Visualisation helps the reader understand what the character in the story is doing, thinking or feeling and it helps you visualize the detailed description of the setting.

How do you ask children to visualise?  You prompt them with these cues: Visualization Cues you can use are: I see …… on the page… It makes me think that…; I imagine ….. I know this because …; I wonder…, I visualise…. because I see …… (You can create an anchor chart with these prompts)

Visualization helps transform students from passive to active readers, improving their reading comprehension while connecting their mental images with their prior knowledge making learning deep.

Why is visualisation important? Visualisation helps students and adults become:

  • Analytical readers and thinkers
  • Better communicators
  • Scriptwriters
  • Prepares them for the media business
  • Marketing business
  • Strategic Analysis business opportunities

Visualisation techniques have helped many successful people achieve their dreams because they have been able to practise their goals, achievements and outcomes through systematic visualisation and confidence.

Building imagery can be visual, it appeals to the sense of sight and plays the most significant role in the description in literature.

Auditory visualisation and imagery describe specific sounds that are happening within the story and can connect with one’s own experiences.

Olfactory imagery: Can describes a particular scent and lead to impactful learning especially when the reader connects the text with their personal experiences. Visualisation leads to better writers.

Some titles you can use to practice and visualize with your students are:

A Walk with Thambi by Lavanya Karthik

Mala’s Silver Anklets by Annie Besant

Rooster Raga by Natasha Sharma

Raz Plus: has over 5,000 eBooks and printed books to help you teach all forms of reading strategies that build successful readers.

The Queen Ant’s Birthday by Alleysey Sweeney

Owen and the Tortoise by Katie Knight

Pond Life by Susan Hartley

Imagine the Beach by Racheal Rice

Fishing in the Rain by David Cockcroft

And more…

Book Talk for Young Adults

By Book Talk, General No Comments

Young adults are hooked on to stories written by the west. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them, and many of them are written eloquently or have plots that appeal to the youth. Sometimes, these books are made into movies adding richness to their conversations. Let’s seize this opportunity to talk to young students about Indian fiction. Tap into their curiosity by showing them trailers about the Indian books or connecting Indian fiction to their lives. Indian stories have plots that Indian children can relate to. Many genres available describe teenage life, or politics or wildlife. Here are a few you can use to tap into their interests.

Talking of Muskaan by Himanjali Sankar. Muskaan is in hospital, fighting for her life. Three classmates “her former best friend Aaliya, the hottie Prateek, and the class topper Subhojoy” talk about Muskaan, and themselves. About school, home and the larger world, the school bus and the basketball court; about secrets that become burdens. And through their stories, twists and turns are revealed that drove Muskaan to try to kill herself. Funny and tragic by turns, Talking of Muskaan is a warm, moving novel about life and death and the young people caught in between. Click here to take a peek at this book.  
Jobless Clueless Reckless by Revathi Suresh. A coming of age story about a young girl coping with a mother who has cut herself off from society, a father who has no time with a family and that leaves Kavya with her brother. How will she cope with board exams looming close? A short trailer to nudge your students into trying out this book of hope, and life from a different lens.
Zombiestanby Mainak Dhar Cover illustration by Kunal Kundu. Watch the TrailerIt began with undead Taliban in Afghan villages”. In a world laid waste by this new terror, five unlikely companions come together in a devastated New Delhi” a seventeen-year-old boy dealing with the loss of his family, a US Navy SEAL trying to get back home, a middle-aged history professor, a young girl and her three-year-old brother. When they discover that the child may hold the key to ending the pestilence that threatens to destroy their world. An epic journey against terrible adversaries, both human and undead. Will they survive? Or will they too, like many before them, become undead citizens of Zombiestan?
Through the Killing Glass by Mainak Dhar and Cover illustration by Kunal Kundu
Sequel to Alice in Deadland.  Trailer of Alice in Deadland. After defeating the Red Guards and brokering peace with the colony of Biters, Alice believes that finally there will be peace in Wonderland, the human colony she has carved out of the Deadland.
But soon Alice and her band of soldiers find themselves at odds with the people of Wonderland. There are signs that the Central Committee in China are developing a weapon, more terrible and fearful than anything Alice has ever encountered before. Can Alice unite the people of Wonderland?
Praise for Alice in Deadland: ‘Dhar manages to pack in a lot of action on every page, so you don’t breathe easy.’ – Mint; ‘A must-read for those who love to read fast-paced novels with powerful characters.’