Tag Archives: read

Kids & Reading

It’s no shocker that kids who read do better in school – and not just in their English classes. In fact, the American Council on Education, as restated on Do Something, says that “53% of 4th graders admitted to reading recreationally ‘almost every day,’ while only 20% of 8th graders could say the same.”

Think about that. Just over half of young readers read for fun, while just four short years later the numbers drop over 25%. What would cause something like that?

It could be that the school systems become harder, kids growing up just have less of an interest because it’s “not cool,” or some other factor that prevents them from reading.

According to the Literacy Project Foundation, “Illiteracy has become such a serious problem in our country [the United States] that 44 million adults are now unable to read a simple story to their children.” I would be so sad if I couldn’t read to my child when I have one. Stories bring to life so many adventures and create vivid imaginations that can take many children to places they’ve never been – especially in their playtime.

Reading not only brings up literacy and allows children to succeed well into their adult years, including, but not limited to, higher education, attaining a career, and keeping out of jail. Yes, jail. It’s a scary fact (see sources linked above), but it’s true that having the ability to read above a certain level can actually help to enhance a child’s future rather than hinder it.

If you live in the United States (and other places in the world), we have this wonderful place called the library. Many larger cities have their own, as well as many schools, and so allowing children to take advantage of reading free books (so long as they have a library card and no late fees to pay off) is well worth the trade off of having a child who is happy from reading. For a list of public libraries by state, check out this link.

When picking out a book for a child, or allowing them to choose on their own, simply think of their interests: do they like animals? Superheroes? Trains? There are so many wide varieties of books to choose from that they will never be bored of it. I know that, personally, when I walked into Barnes & Noble or my local library at a young age and gravitated toward the children’s section, I was always swept away at the amazing amounts of books and the many, many different kinds I could choose from. I personally enjoyed puzzle books and animal books, but your child may enjoy books like Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, or any other kind of book.

For young readers under the age of eight, I recommend books like Stellaluna, Verdi, and Eloise.

For young readers age eight to thirteen, I recommend books like Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and really anything from this list.

But reading doesn’t have to be limited to those kinds of books. Let a child dip their toes into some more mature reads (obviously not too mature, depending on their age) and see if they can handle the language and structure. It can be a challenge, but sometimes that’s just what they need.

So what do you think about the importance of reading for a child? Do you think it’s worth it to have someone who enjoys having a big imagination, a broader vocabulary, and a sense of adventure? Sure, reading doesn’t necessarily mean all these things will happen (except the broader vocabulary part), but it still does allow them to find more dreams in the world than what may seem to be out there. We all know reality can be a harsh place to live in, so why not allow them to dream for just a little bit longer?

Do you think it’s important for kids to read? What would you recommend to a child under the age of 12? Do you remember what you read as a kid? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Clubs

Have you ever wondered what a book club is? Have you ever wanted to start one but you were unsure of how to go about doing it or couldn’t find enough people to join you?

Book clubs can be a fun way of sharing experiences, likes, and dislikes among book lovers. Pretty much the person in charge of the book club picks a book that everyone in the club has to read within a certain time frame and then they discuss it in detail. This can consist of various questions that were thought up and the person in charge has to make sure that there’s flow for each question before moving on to the next one, and more.

It can seem like a daunting task, but it’s really not all that bad.

If you join Goodreads, there are plenty of book clubs on there to join; you just need to find one that’s right for you. Or start one!

To start a book club, think of the following things before beginning, or as you go:

  1. Find people to start the book club with. Start small with just you and two friends, and before you know it, you might end up with ten more people joining down the road. The point is to start small and build up.
  2. Think of a theme or set genre for the types of books you want to read. Do you love mysteries, but the rest of your group prefers sci-fi? Find a common ground for everyone to stand on and start there, branching out afterward.
  3. Write down questions for discussion. If you are the person in charge for the first meeting, make sure you’re prepared (actually read the book) and have some questions on hand to ask your fellow club members. Write them down so you don’t forget.
  4. Pick a time frame. If you start a book club, decide on a book, and then just say, “Have at it!” then you’ll never meet up again until probably a year later. Be realistic in your time frames:
    1. For larger books (over 500 pages) or series, try having meetings monthly, one meeting per book.
    2. For smaller books (less than 500 pages), try having meetings bi-weekly.
    3. If you’re ambitious, finish one book per week, but make sure it can fit in with everyone’s schedules!
    4. If you prefer, have set chapters to read rather than completing the whole book so the book can be drawn out and you’ll have more to talk about.
  5. Bring snacks! Book club meetings can take a lot of time, so be prepared to serve some snacks so everyone can be satisfied and think of something to talk about.

Okay, so number 5 isn’t really a requirement, or something you really need to consider, but it’s still nice to have something to munch while you’re thinking of the answer to the question that was asked.

Book clubs can be fun for everyone and they don’t have to take a lot of time. Set your meetings for an hour each meeting and try to meet your own personal goals and guidelines to however you have it set up. Just be sure to have fun with it and keep on reading.

For the Love of Reading

Reading is a gateway to a world unlike any other. It can be set in reality or Mars. It can be a great way to de-stress from a long, hard day, or a way to just have some fun. It’s entirely up to you on how you view it.

But why is reading so great?

Let me first start by saying why I love it: it helps me to get away. I am a very imaginative person, and so to be able to have a way to channel that imaginative and creative side of me into something other than drawing is relaxing and fun for me.

I especially enjoy young adult literature. There’s a sense of innocence in many of the books, but there’s also a deep sense of self and adventure in many of the novels I have read. It’s nice to be able to read books about teens and young adults that can be so relatable, and yet some reach the very stretches of the imagination.

Not only that, but I have read manga, romance, fiction, historical, fantasy/sci-fi, religious, and many subcategories within those categories. There’s a whole range of genres of books that are accessible to those that are willing to read – so go out and pick up a book!

When reading I often put myself into the hero or heroine’s shoes, and so when some actions happen I react appropriately to those situations, such as when a romantic scene is happening: I tend to get butterflies. Or when someone is pissing off the main character I start getting pissed off. It’s a way for me to drop whatever is bothering me that day and just let go of it all.

So what can you do to start loving to read more?

  • Pick up a book! It’s not going to kill you to go to the bookstore, the library, or even online at Amazon or Barnes and Noble and buy an e-book.
  • Listen to an audiobook. I had a classmate that fell in love with reading again because of audiobooks. Some of the people who read it don’t sound great, but try to enjoy the story regardless.
  • Start or join a book club. What better way to read than being forced to meet up with people to discuss a book at length? Search around for local book clubs or start your own!
  • Pick up books with stories that interest you. It sounds like a “well, duh” answer, but we are often forced to read books through school that we otherwise didn’t enjoy, or even hate, so try to go for a genre or type of story that you’re interested in, such as dystopian societies or dragons or romance.
  • Find someone to read with you. This is similar to the book club idea, but it’s not exactly the same thing. Find a friend or someone close to you who will be willing to read a book along with you so you have someone to discuss every intimate detail with. It can be a life saver when you’ve just read something you love and need to talk about until your throat runs dry. Also try online communities where you’ll get even more people who will enjoy it with you!

The possibilities are endless. Reading isn’t just for school or something that has to be a chore, as many younger people, and sometimes even older people, find it to be. It’s fun, exhilarating, and completely worth it.

Take the time to make a list of your likes and dislikes in a book, then go searching for some! Always start off at your local library if you’re uncertain that you might like a book enough to buy it. The books are free and the librarians are often very happy to help with any questions you may have.

So how about it? Do you love reading or think you’ll be able to?

 

What are some of your favorite types of books? Why do you love to read? Let me know in the comments!

Reaching Your Potential As A Writer

We all have moments of doubt about ourselves, our abilities, our emotions, etc. We all have felt what it’s like to suffer and struggle through times of pressure and stress to either reap the benefits and rewards or the catastrophes that ensue. We don’t all feel 100% like we can do something 100% of the time.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something.

Writing is a skill and it is an art. Like all great art forms it takes time and practice to perfect it. I’m not claiming to be a know-it-all or authority about writing, because I’m not, but I still do have my own opinions like any person would.

So cast away your doubts! Cast away all those fears you have about writing your first manuscript or your first poem. You have potential as a writer, just like all of us.

How can you reach your potential as a writer?

  • Just start writing. You may or may not like what you’ve written, but you have to start somewhere. Don’t delete or erase anything and don’t throw it away. Your first “masterpiece” (or attempt thereof) can be something you look back on to see how much you’ve grown as a writer.
  • Read! Yes, reading! You know those magical tomes of information and fantastical stories that can come to life in your imagination? Reading is actually a great tool in helping you write because you can adapt your own form of writing by looking at how authors write their novels.
  • Don’t let the critics get you down – they’re there to help! Sending out work to friends isn’t always a great idea because they may not want to hurt your feelings, so find a professor or a copy editor online who may be able to read and proofread your work. Always ask for their honest opinion!
  • Write every day. It seems like a hard task, but if you write every day for just ten minutes a day, your writing will improve immensely. You don’t have to write intricate and elaborate sentences that stretch on for miles; even making a list of points that you want to improve in your writing will help.
  • Writer’s block is just a myth. You can overcome writer’s block by doing a writing exercise every day. There are a variety of different types of exercises that can work both the left and right sides of your brain, I recommend reading “Your First Novel” by Laura Whitcomb and Ann Rittenberg.
  • Accept that you might fail. This is a tough thing for anyone to accept in any aspect of life. Don’t be afraid that what you’re working on may not fit the requirements or preferences of someone you’re writing for. It’s okay! Remember that you can always improve it.

There are more ways to reach your potential as a writer, just do a general Google search of how to do it and you’ll get tons of results. There are no specific right or wrong ways because you really have to find what works for you. One way may work for one person but not another.

Just remember that you have to keep your head up and you have to keep on writing. You’re not a writer if you don’t write!

 

What ways have you tried to continue to reach your potential as a writer? How do you keep moving forward? Leave a comment and let me know!