Push (Review)
reviews* / April 9, 2012

Title: Push (later changed to Precious) Author: Sapphire Narrator: Bahni Turpin Publication Year: 2009 Pages: 192 (audio length: 5 hours 8 minutes) Genre: Fiction Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: For Precious Jones, 16 and pregnant with her father’s child, miraculous hope appears and the world begins to open up for her when a courageous, determined teacher bullies, cajoles, and inspires her to learn to read, to define her own feelings and set them down in a diary. Like most other people, I noticed the hype surrounding this book shortly before the movie version, Precious, was released. It seemed interesting at the time, though over-publicized, so I waited. And a few months ago, I finally stopped waiting and read it. Push absolutely sucked me in from the first sentence. The way that Precious just lays everything out there right from the beginning was enthralling and horrifying at the same time; I couldn’t even begin to fathom the anguish that the character had gone through before the point where the book picks up. The language in the book is raw and honest, which gives an even better indication of the narrator’s mindset than anything else could. There’s something…

Literacy Links (July 19-25, 2010)
literacy , news / July 25, 2010

Quick hits for this week: Are hardcovers really this far into collector status? Part of a blog carnival looks at creating literacy rich environments for our children. Apparently, NATO is working on literacy training for Afghani soldiers. Is literacy helped or hindered by all of our emailing, blogging, twittering, facebooking … ? A six-year-old learns about simple division and purchasing audiobooks through iTunes. A look at the top ten traits of young writers. Making a case for student blogging. Also, here are some ideas for literacy learners using blogging. We know that lots of our high school students can’t read … but why? The argument for handwritten drafts, even in the age of computers.

Literacy Links (July 11-18, 2010)
literacy , news / July 18, 2010

Quick hits for this week: What does it mean to teach disciplinary literacy? Sarah from The Reading Zone walks a mile in a reluctant reader’s shoes. The government of Afghanistan has asked countries that donate aid to focus 80% of that funding to a list of 23 priority programs, which includes literacy programs for adults. Some interesting advice about supporting a bilingual child’s reading in both of their languages. A look at how the act of reading might change with the shift to digital. In the age of computers and the Web 2.0, is blogging a “door” to digital literacy? Has the internet made us “stupider” by teaching us to endlessly skim?

Teaching with audiobooks
thoughts / June 25, 2010

June is Audiobook Month, and Jen over at Devourer of Books has decided to celebrate with her very own Audiobook Week! All of this week, I’m going to be joining in and posting about audiobooks, including reviews, daily topic discussions, and my own ideas about how we can use audiobooks in different ways throughout our daily lives. For today, I’ve decided to forego the daily topic (recommended audiobooks), and instead present my own. Today’s topic is: Audiobooks for teaching Last year, I was teaching at a completely different school than the one I’m at now. Most of the students were white, well-off, and academically inclined. There was a lot more parental involvement, and a lot more pressure to “accommodate” students with special education needs. (As an aside, my school now has just as much of a focus on “accommodation” and differentiation, just that we have far less parental involvement and it’s more of a push on the part of the teachers ourselves to find a way to get through to the students.) At my current school, almost all of the students have learning difficulties of some kind or another, but at my last school, those students were few and far between. One of…

Literacy Links (June 14-20, 2010)
literacy , news / June 20, 2010

Quick hits for this week: Yet another study shows that sleep habits – especially having a regular bedtime – are the most consistent predictors of “positive developmental outcomes [… including …] scores for receptive and expressive language, phonological aweareness, literacy and early math abilities”. No surprises there. A look at biliteracy development in a bilingual first-grade classroom. Former state Seneator Dave Bisbee’s admission in court that he has serious reading difficulties is the starting point for an article about adults struggling with poor literacy skills in the United States. A website called Book Trailers is suggested as a way to encourage students to keep reading through the “lazy summer afternoons”. Researchers say that reading is not a skill and there’s no such thing as a reading test, among other things. There is much arguing going on about whether President Obama’s speech – written at a 9.8 reading level (just below a “standard” grade 10 level) – was too difficult for most Americans to understand, or if that’s assuming too little of the American people. On a related note: after a poorly edited letter regarding the G20 is released, some are asking if the White House needs a literacy program. Calling all Americans: the…