Posted by: Elizabeth Grochan | February 23, 2012

e-Reading and e-Response and the Best of Both Literacies

~The Best of Both Literacies

By: Margaret Weigel
Howard Gardner

~Does the Brain Like E-Books?

By: Alan Liu
Sandra Aamodt
Maryanne Wolf
David Gelernter
Gloria Mark

~Digital Readers: The Next Chapter in E-Book Reading and Response

By: Lotta Larson

~E-Reading and E-Responding: New Tools for the Next Generation of Readers

By: Lotta Anderson

In today’s world, text is recognized as much more than written words and images.

Text has been described as being “a unit of communication that may take the form of something written down but also a chunk of discourse, for example speech, a conversation, a radio program, a TV advert, text messaging, a photo in a newspaper, and so on (Larson, 2009).”

As we forge further into the 21st Century with these new digital literacies available, it is important to consider the literacy experiences our students are encountering in and out of school. For the most part, school is still taught in the paper, pencil method. Yet outside of school, kids have nearly unlimited access to a digital world. How can we as teachers expect to engage them on their level if we are not willing to integrate the technology they have been literally born into?

“Any new information medium seems to degrade reading because it disturbs the balance between focal and  peripheral attention…it takes time and adaption before a balance can be restored, not just in the ‘mentality’ of the reader…but in the social systems that complete the reading environment (Liu, 2009).”

I feel this is exactly what our society is currently going through, there has been a huge shift regarding technology and reading, and we are still trying to navigate these new waters. The technology is there, but we are unsure of how to best use this technology to aid in our learning and teaching experience. Arguments on the benefits and drawbacks of e-reading and other digital use are abound, and because this is still very new and little research has been done there remains little evidence and mostly just speculation. Unfortunately this speculation seems to come from many people who are very ‘set in their ways’. The adults who are the leading experts have grown up in a world of paper books. Few have made the shift to embracing digital media in the same way the younger generations have. I believe that once people are willing to embrace the possible benefits e-readers and various digital media may have, and be open minded to the shift to a digital culture we can learn and determine how to utilize these technologies to their full potential. Socrates once fought adamantly against the written word believing we would lose our ability to think deeply. We know now that this wasn’t true, but we had to wait for the shift in our understanding on how to effectively use written word as we do today.

At 28, I feel as if I was always just a little ahead of the larger technological shifts. In high school we rarely used computers. There was always the option of writing neatly in black pen or typing. Research was done using the huge tombs of research books photocopying pages and writing notes on index cards. I did my first powerpoint in my senior year. Today students probably would have no idea how to use books in the reference section. Two winters ago while visiting home, my neighbor who was 15 at the time asked me to help her with a research paper. Her teacher was requiring book sources in addition to online. I took her to the library, and she was completely lost. She had no idea how to search for books with the information she needed, no idea how to use the encyclopedias, no idea how to take notes from them. I was astonished because 10 years ago that is pretty much the only way we collected our information.

While today’s learners may have no idea how to use a reference book to gather information, what they are able to do with a computer is pretty amazing. During my student teaching, my second graders were creating powerpoints. At 7 and 8 years old they were effectively doing something I didn’t learn how to do until I was 18, and something I have seen many adults struggle to do. In a decade we have seen an entire shift in how our students learn, and if as teachers we don’t find away to foster this learning and keep them engaged in the learning that makes sense to them, we will lose them.

“The role of schooling is to provide them with the tools and guidance they need to acquire literacy skills in a developmentally appropriate, individually meaningful way (Weigel & Gardner, 2009).”

Students should have the skills to be able to use books in the library, but they also need the skills for accessing the online world. One of the biggest issues with information on the internet, is anyone can put information on there. We as teachers need to prepare our students in how to perform comprehensive searchers for accurate information and to be able to use their literacy skills to question what they find to determine the reliability of it. Not only is it imperative that we teach our students to find accurate and reliable information, instilling ethics is another issue. With the amount and ease of information out there, the temptation of plagiarism is there.

“The best way to guard against dishonest practices is to assign interesting work, examine interim drafts, allow a reasonable amount of time for completion, and encourage student’s natural curiosity to drive the process (Weigel & Gardner, 2009).”

A huge concern regarding online content is what Seymour Papert called the grasshopper mind. So much information is right there at your finger tips. On one hand you can stick to a search and delve into researching a specific topic that will engage in some deep learning. On the other hand, the constant information overload may keep the learning only on the surface level, never engaging long enough in anyone topic. Sandra Aamodt says “Distractions abound online-costing time and interfering with the concentration needed to think about what you read (Aamodt, 2009).” Yes, I am guilty of being that person who has my facebook or other page open while I work on something else. I take break from assignments to scope out what is going on in the internet world frequently. And while I know this procrastination definitely hurts the amount of time it takes me to get work done, I do get it done and I think I do a decent job of thinking critically and engaging in what I am working on while I am working on it regardless of the time in between. It is something I would like to work on though. To not feel that pull to check my facebook or e-mail constantly just because my computer is open. This is another skill we will want to instill in our students, the same as would want to strive to fill them with the drive to complete an assignment on time. We can’t blame the internet for our procrastination. Sure it’s there, and it’s convenient, but it is a matter of instilling self control.

“Guiding the peripatetic mind may be the primary challenge of educators in the digital era (Weisel & Gardner, 2009).”

A challenge yes, but not impossible. We must teach our students how to search and read on the internet in an engaging way. Instead of being overwhelmed in information, hyperlink, and popup window overload, teach students how to narrow in on what it is they should be working on. Learning to fully utilize the internet and engage in deep reading and understanding is a skill as much as any subject learned in school. We as teachers need to come to understand it ourselves and learn how to instruct our students in how to stay engaged.

Both of the studies Larson has done (Larson, 2009 and Larson 2010) in regards to using e-readers in the classroom has shown the positive side of incorporating digital media.

“Findings suggest that using digital reading devices with second grade students promotes new literacies practices and extends connections between readers and text as engagement with and manipulation of text is made possible through electronic tools and features…engage with the text and put reader in greater control than when reading printed text (Larson, 2010).”

One of the areas of her studies that I found interesting was in how the students in her study used the e-readers. E-readers seem to promote an individualized student support system. Whether the reader is a struggling reader, advanced, or average reader, e-reader seem to have the ability to heighten the engagement and overall learning experience and to fit the reader’s needs. With an e-reader, you can do much more than just read a book. You can change the font, which while it doesn’t seem like a huge deal, I think that it is something that can be done to enhance the reading experience. Some readers may find they read better with larger font, others may need more bold. This seems so minor, but it is important to consider that we do not all read the same. Having the ability to change a font to better suit your needs makes reading more suited to individual needs.

“They began using the highlighter in unique ways that reflected their personalities in individual reading styles (Larson, 2009).”

My best friend and I absolutely love having the ability to highlight, bookmark and take notes in our e-readers. I love finding quotes in what I read, and have taken to keeping a notepad and a pencil near me when I can in case I want to write something down, but I can’t always do that. With my e-reader, if I see something I want to remember for later, or jot down a quick note to look back on I can do so easily. Many of the researchers have talked about how e-reading and using electronics takes away from deep reading. After reading the articles by Larson I couldn’t disagree more. The students involved in her study seemed to really enjoy highlighting and taking notes and they read.

“By using the note tool, they engaged in new literacy practices by envisioning new ways to access their thought processes to engage in spontaneous, instantaneous response to the e-books (Larson, 2009).”

I felt these learners demonstrated what we call deep reading. They were engaged in what they read, made notes that reflected their thinking, highlighted areas that spoke to them and really made a connection to what they read. How often is this done with paperback books? I remember growing up and being scared to mark in a book or fold a page even a little bit. The book had to stay in pristine condition. So I would complete my reading, then I would take the time to reflect or write something if required to for school. I do not remember ever jotting down notes and thoughts as I was reading. I would sometimes flip back through, but that was it. Over the years, I have taken to marking in books if needed and I often fill the pages with post it notes, but that isn’t always something that can be done. In using an e-reader, you can take notes and highlight something you want to look back and remember without the fear of permanently ruining a book, or having to stop and write something down and potentially losing the paper you wrote on. Students are able to fully engage with the text in this electronic manor on their own level.

For many people I find their issue with e-readers is based off of the uncomfortable nature of using an e-reader.

“found that the reading venue, or physical environment, context, the reading position, largely affects the overall reading experience (Lawson, 2010).”

With a book, you can comfortably curl up and lose yourself with your reading. That is a little more difficult to do with a PC. Although not impossible. As a teenager over a decade ago, I drove my Mom crazy by dragging a recliner in front of the computer desk and stretching out while I engaged in some e-reading. Still not to practical. Over the years since getting a laptop I have found it easier to find comfortable positions while I was reading on the internet, although still not as easy to cuddle as a book.

But as e-reading has become more popular, digital devices have become more user, and comfort friendly. In fact I have become a little spoiled with my e-reader. I can prop it up keeping my hands free, or just hold it with one hand. I do not have to worry about keeping the book open, or worry about losing my page if I slip. I often like to go to sleep reading on either my Nook or laptop because I can read in the dark. I don’t have to get up to turn off the lights once I have hit that relaxed state. I just need to turn my device off. I can take my laptop or Nook anywhere and can sit just as comfortably with either while I read.

I still enjoy settling down with a good old fashioned book on the occasion, but I find benefits with both. In addition to providing the same ease of reading as paperback books, e-readers offer a convenience in other ways. Here in Boone we lack a decent book store. So instead of having to do without, waiting to go into another city, or have to order a book, I can download a book instantly to my Nook regardless of the time of day. Many e-reader sellers also offer free books to download. Some are exclusive to e-reads, others are just good deals. I actually downloaded Gregor the Overlander months ago for free from Barnes and Noble and was just waiting for a time to read it.

One thing I really like about an e-reader is the ease of having so many books at your fingertips. Anyone who has had to move books from one place to another knows that books are heavy! While I have quite the collection of children, young adult and my favorite hardback books, I try to keep most of my pleasure reading on my Nook. This helps with my limited space and that dread of having to haul those books from one place to another when it is time to move. When I would travel, most of my luggage was filled with books I may read, now I just need to bring my Nook.

Recently I posed this question to my facebook book page: What are your guilty reads that you are glad you have an e-reader so that no one knows what you are reading. I admit this question came to me while I was reading a self help book titled Calling the One (Shhhh our secret) on my Nook at work. I was thinking how glad I was that no one could see what I was reading. Shortly after, I remember talking in class about some of the benefits of an e-reader, and one being a child wouldn’t have to be embarrassed if they were reading a lower leveled book than their peers because no one would know. This is so great for a struggling reader who doesn’t want to face the judgment of their peers. Many students who fall behind will just stop trying. Now we have a way to allow our students to read comfortably without the fear of possible ridicule.

With the main focus hear being on reading and information collecting, I would like to take a minute to discuss the huge benefit of the writing world on the internet. I am sure we are all familiar with the social world of facebook, twitter, tumbler and more. Places we can go to express ourselves in words and images. Blogging of course has become extremely popular. Anyone can create a blog and get their words out there. My best friend has a blog she uses to promote her photography, but also keeps a blog that she post on every few days just of her daily musings. I personally keep up a few blogs. My personal blog with my thoughts on various subjects, as well as a less personal one where I share quotes and books with others. I am currently up to 40 followers on that blog, most of people I do not know. How exciting that strangers are interested in something I have to say.

“Where the narrowing time between writing for and publishing on the Web is helping to kill the art of editing by crushing it to death. The internet makes words as cheap and as significant as Cheese Doodles (Gelernter, 2009).”

I couldn’t disagree more and I am actually a little offended by this Gelernter’s words.

Something that was mentioned in one of the articles was a reference to fanfiction. Fanfiction is extremely popular in the internet world. Pretty much people who are fans of something (books, movies, tv shows, video games etc) can write stories based on what they like. Sounds cheesy sure, but really I find it amazing. I personally have spent a good 15 years both reading and writing fanfiction. Have you ever read a book and wished it ended different? Watched a tv show and envisioned a different plot line? That is what fanfiction writers do. A huge fanfiction universe out there is Harry Potter. On the most popular fanfiction site called fanfiction.net there are close to 600,000 stories people have wrote based off of Harry Potter. People have wrote stories that alter the ending, fill in between areas, matched different characters up, created an alternate universe or reality, etc. Still sound crazy?

What is I told you that Cassandra Clare a current bestselling author of the City of Bones series (my favorite series up there with Hunger Games) got her start in writing fanfiction. That is how I discovered her. She wrote her own take of Harry Potter taking place after book 5. I even corresponded with her for a time while she wrote. There is even a part of me that prefers what she wrote to the actual Harry Potter series. I have seen her writing grow from an amateur playing around in the writing world, to becoming a bestselling author.

Another great example is Marissa Meyer. I have been reading her fanfiction work for 10 years, and she just released her first published novel Cinder another amazing book. Fanfiction provides a lot of chances to grow. As a writer, the more you write the better you get. Through reviews and interaction, your writing improves, and it is done anonymously! I have been amazed at the quality writing I have stumbled across over the years. As far as editing, many people volunteer to beta for other writers. So here are people volunteering to edit, not getting paid, not getting a grade, yet are editing one another’s work. This could even be a learning exercise for a classroom. Use an internet page like mylifeisaverage.com where anyone can post a short paragraph about something that happened to them and have students edit it. And yes, I have come across plenty of terrible examples of writing, but isn’t it enough that someone has found the joy of writing enough to not only do it, but to publish it on the internet? And for someone who is unfamiliar with the fanfiction world it may seem a little strange. But as a teacher one of my favorite writing activities has always been to have my students write ‘another version’ or from someone else’s point of view. Activities like this are very similar to the fanfiction world, so why not introduce it to our students as a potential outlet for writing.

One digital resource out there for teachers to use are to Online Toon Books http://www.toon-books.com/index2.php  On the site I chose to read Silly Lilly and the Four Seasons.

The read to me feature reminds me of the read to me feature I have on my Nook. Unlike my Nook Kids feature though, you have to click on the read to me button for each page. It almost felt tedious having to move my mouse and click to change pages than back to read to me. On the Nook, after you swipe your finger to change pages, it automatically reads to you. I think I like that better than having to click the read me button every time. I did like how the words would illuminate through the narration though showing the reader where the words were coming from.

I like that the Toon Books included a page for teachers filled with resources, lessons as links to more Online readers. This is a great way teachers can discover how to utilize a resource like this to the maximum.

I do think this could be a good tool as either a class guided reading, or a self selected reading. I enjoyed the comic format, and I think kids would be engaged as they read.

My concern would be in how easily an emergent reader could navigate the page and select books. While I liked the availability of books in other languages, how would an emergent reader know which to click on. If the point of the toon readers is that student who do not read well yet can do so with the toon reader, I would recommend a better and more easily accessible page. Of course the teacher would need to help them navigate initially anyway, but I think some students would still be unsure of what to click to be read to.

I found Inanimate Alice very interesting. http://www.inanimatealice.com/index.html

“Designed originally as entertainment, ‘Inanimate Alice’ has been adopted by teachers eager to connect with students through media they inherently understand. Created around a high-quality robust text, the content is suitable for the deep-reading and re-reading necessary for academic investigation.”

I think for the target audience, students would be capable of navigating the online story and utilizing the many feature included.

I was not bothered by the text, sound and moving pictures. I actually prefer to watch movies with subtitles, including animes and other movies in other languages, so it reminded me much of that. I actually often felt like I was playing a video game. Anyone who has played a recent video game such as an RPG or even a first person shooter would understand what I am talking about. Unlike a movie which you sit back and watch, with a video game you are in control of much of the action. A ‘cut scene’ will come up to guide you to the next area, but you have some control in what is going on. Traditional reading, no. But I think most kids will enjoy this kind of reading. It was engaging and you had to be aware of what was going on so you knew what to do next to move the story forward.

I feel that even with all the problems and barriers we are currently facing with how to effectively use e-readers and digital devices to enhance learning, once we are able to figure out how to utilize them to the best of their ability the learning and engagement that will take place will be at a level we have never before seen. There is so much information we have access to, so many different ways to learn, create, engage, socialize and enhance our lives. If we can effectively navigate a way around the few barriers, we can set our students up for the optimal learning experience using both the old ways of learning as well as fully embracing this new digital world.

Works Cited

Larson, L. (2009). E-reading and e-responding: New tools for the next generation of readers. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 53(3), 255-258. Retrieved from http://re5710.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/ereaders_jaal.pdf

Larson, L. (2010). Digital readers: The next chapter in e-book reading and response. The Reading Teacher, 64(1), 15-21. Retrieved from http://re5710.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/ereader_reading-teacher.pdf

Liu, A., Aamodt, S., Wolf, M., Gelernter, D., & Mark, G. (2009, October 14). Does the brain like e-books?. Retrieved from http://roomfordebate.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/14/does-the-brain-like-e-books/

Weigel, M. & Gardner, H. (2009, March). The bestof both literacies. Educational Leadership, 38-41. Retrieved from http://re5710.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/gardner.pdf

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Posted by: Elizabeth Grochan | February 16, 2012

The Importance of Deep Reading

~Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction

By: Matt Richtel

~The Importance of Deep Reading

By: Maryanne Wolf Mirit Barzillai

~Our ‘Deep Reading’ Brain: It’s Digital Evolution Poses Questions

By: Maryanne Wolf

“Of the three lives Aristotle speaks of, the life of action, the life of contemplation, and the life of enjoyment, we have the two, action and enjoyment, but we lack the other, contemplation. That, I thought, is why ours is a violent city.” -John Dunne

Maryanne Wolf posed this question in her 2010 article on Deep Reading:

“Will we lose the ‘deep reading’ brain in a digital culture?”

The Growing concern in today’s culture is that as we immerse ourselves more and more into a digitally driven world, we will lose the capacity to think deeply, reflectively and intellectually. We will no longer be able to engage in what is called Deep Reading.

Even more so, the growing concern is in how do we teach our children who are growing up surrounded by this digital ‘overload’ how to think and read deeply?

And while this seems like a new concept for us in this technological era, our society has faced similar concerns in the past. As with everything, history has a way of repeating itself, and thousands of years ago a similar concern was proposed by Socrates. He feared that as our society moved from an oral culture to a literacy-based culture people would lose the ability to probe, analyze and internalize knowledge.

“Socrates worried that the seemingly permanence of writing would delude young people into thinking that they had learned the truth when they had just begun to search for it” (Wolf & Barzillai, 2009).

Socrates believed that printed literacy would remove the student from the ability to contemplate and think deeply. It is believed that during the reading process, the first milliseconds are devoted to decoding a word in a strictly print processing manner. It is the following milliseconds that the brain enters a cognitive space where we can take the decoded information to what we know and feel and to think and develop new thoughts to what we have just read. (Wolf, 2009). The deeper thinking and cognitive thought that is associated with this high level learning is called deep reading. It is at the heart of reading, deep reading, in which the reader should be able to take in the knowledge of the author and go beyond the author’s thoughts and into their own thinking. Through Deep Reading, we process the information presented to us through “comprehension that includes influential and deductive reasoning, analogical skills, critical analysis, reflection, and insight (Wolf & Barzillai, 2010).”

So I ask, was Socrates right in his belief’s that a literacy based society would no longer be able to think as deeply?

Today, I do not think any of us could imagine living a life without literacy. What I think literacy has done since the time of Aristotle and Socrates, is that is has helped make information more readily available for more people. I know little of Greek times, but I would imagine few were privileged enough to spend their days learning and contemplating. So with everything been discussed orally, the only ones who had access to the information were those participating in the oral discussions. Today, with access to print, one could pick up a book at anytime and delve into the information between the covers. Information is not lost over time as often happens through oral storytelling, but instead preserved to be looked upon at anytime. And regardless of what one may think of regarding media literacy, the internet has definitely made even more information easily available to people who otherwise never would have had access to it. The fact that we as a class have endless articles that we can read easily from the internet is testament to that. I don’t even want to think about the days of visiting the periodicals in the library searching long and hard for just one article and the time it took to photocopy it so I could have it for later. Now, with a quick internet search, I can find almost anything I want.

Of course this itself poses problems. With endless information at your fingertips, how do we know what is good information and what is bad? Are we setting our children up for an information overload of bad information?

“The expert reader needs milliseconds to execute these processes, the young brain needs years to develop them (Wolf and Barzillai, 2010).”

This is what separates a person who can read deeply, and a person who cannot. It is not where they information is coming from, but if they even know how to read deeply. I can peruse the internet for the same amount of time and easily engage in deep reading, but I have been doing so for a long time. For a novice reader, the array of information coming at them may be too much. Novice readers are just beginning to be able to fully take in and process print. They have barely begun to enter that stage where reading leads to comprehension and making connections. So a reader will more than likely be unable to determine what information to focus on and what information to delve deeper into.

“How we read-and what we absorb from our reading-will be influenced by both the content of our reading and the medium we use” (Wolf, 2009).

We as teachers need to take the technological literacy we have out there and teach our students how to use it properly. The information is there and can be invaluable if used correctly. If we are able to teach our learners how to search for useful information we have won half the battle. It will then be guiding these students to cognitively engage in the information presented to them to determine if the information they have found is correct and to draw and reflect on their findings. Students today will have a lot harder time determining what information is accurate than the time we were in school. Searching for information for me consisted of visiting the library and finding the information (as limited as it was) in a few select books and encyclopedias. Now not only do students have an extensive and often unlimited access to a host of information available to them at any time, now they have to cognitively assess what information is good, accurate and valuable information. Just as anyone can look up information on the internet, anyone can put up information also. Once someone is able to discern appropriate information from false information it is than they may engage in even deeper leveled thinking where they take what they have read and go beyond and into their own thoughts.

To me this means they have to think even harder to reach this area of deep thinking, but I think if guided properly they will be able to do so with success. Many people believe that the quick and easy access will limit the thinking one has to put into what they read. I think that if we are able to teach someone the value in reading and thinking at a deeper level they will engage in this deeper thinking on their own.

It will not be easy, but really what is. As teachers, are job is becoming less and less providing information and instead it is becoming our job to instill in our students the importance and desire of engaging in their own learning. We are facilitators to their learning and thinking.

“The medium itself may provide us with new ways of teaching and encouraging young readers to be purposeful, critical, and analytical about the information they encounter (Wolf & Barzillzi, 2009). “

We won’t be there forever. Students will have to engage in not just successfully searching for information on their own, but in wanting to search and then to learn from the information they have found. I for one want my students to enjoy learning so that they seek knowledge not because it is required, but because they want to learn. If students have a desire to learn, no amount of distractions will stop them.

Just as the introduction to literacy did not stop the ability to thinking deeply as Socrates once feared, I do not believe this new era of digital literacy will end the ability to read and think deeply. We will just have to learn to adapt to this new way of receiving information and to teach our students how to engage in deeper level reading and thinking and the importance of it so that they chose to do so.

The article ‘Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction’ focuses a lot on how students no longer engage in traditional learning because of the technology they have access to.

This excuse of, “They can’t stay focused long enough” is just that, an excuse. If a kid can sit in front of a video game for 8 hours a day then that same kid can pick up a book and read it. They just have to want to do so, and we have to find a way to instill this desire in them by showing them not just how to do so, but in why they should want to.

I recently introduced a book series to a coworker who at 30 has never enjoyed reading. She asked me today for the next in the series. I found a book she could become engaged in and she embraced it. The same can be done for students. If they are interested enough in something they will engage in it regardless of whether it is in the format of a book, or digital.

But even if you can engage a student in a book, these days students are more digital, and if we want to engage them in the classroom and in learning we to need to teach digitally.

I recently was working in a classroom as part of a writing unit. The teacher told me her students hated writing and she had a difficult time engaging them in lessons. I created a powerpoint with the information I wanted them to learn with engaging images and examples I felt they could relate to. I had they attention the whole time. I reached out to kids in a way they could relate to.

“The participatory nature of the Web may help foster young minds skilled in communicating, collaborating, and creating new ways (Wolf and Barzillai, 2010).”

In a past class we were encouraged to begin keeping a journal where we would write daily. I failed miserably because I personally hate to write using a pen and paper. I have terrible handwriting and it brought no joy to me although I consider myself a writer. I realized that I type everything now, so why was I trying to handwrite a journal. I instead created a blog and found that to me far more success for myself. Since then I now have two personal blogs I keep up with and enjoy keeping up with. Being required to handwrite did not engage me. Yet keeping an internet blog does. There are so many blogs out there these days, and I bet most of those people were not into writing assignments in school so what makes them keep up writing blogs now? I would think most students these days would be the same way. So if my students are finding it difficult to keep up with writing daily, I would like to be able to allow them to instead create blogs that they may keep up with and where they can use the aid of technology to really engage themselves in their writing. If a student does not want to write, they will be easily distracted with or without the internet and other technological distractions. Providing them with a means where they want to write may help in the engaging process, allow them to write what they are passionate about will be the other part.

Much of the article on Growing Up Digital focuses on a boy Vishal who is passionate in movie making and not much else. He has no desire in learning other subject areas.

In regards to his film editing, “he is focused in a way he rarely is when doing homework. He says the chief difference is that filmmaking feels applicable to his chosen future (Richtel, 2010).”

If a student can be passionate about something, we need to show them how that passion connects with other areas of learning. I would believe that the key to engaging him in other subject areas would be in having him connect these areas to his filmmaking passion. Have him read, deeply read, in books about filmmaking. He has a Latin class, show him plays and early form of entertainment using the Latin word and how much of our society still has foundations in Latin. Sure, not every subject will connect to his filmmaking, but the more we can connect the better, and the more we can show him that what he is learning will help him in his future the more he may chose to engage in learning. He isn’t engaging in the learning because he can’t. He is choosing to not be engaged in the learning.

For kids who engage more in texting and facebooking, find a way to bring that engagement into the classroom. I have heard of teachers who use website like ‘My Life is Average’ as a way to get kids to use grammar and editing. Students are given submissions from this popular site and told to correct them.

Yes, the internet and other technologies can be very distracting. I myself have often found myself procrastinating using facebook and other common social sites. But I know when to work, and I know when to play. Instead of blaming the Web on distracting us, or using the Web as an acceptable excuse we need to instill in our students (and maybe ourselves) the internal motivation to make the choice of when it is time to use the internet/phone/video game and when it is time to engage in school work. Not to say they are not acquiring learning through video games (which I do believe they do) or random internet browsing and socializing with media. There just needs to be clear distinctions of when something should be done and to teach them to determine their own limits so that they chose to make the best choice. This digital age can be extremely rewarding. We may be able to enter into a new level of deeper thinking having access to not only unlimited information, but unlimited uses of this information and ways to share this information and thinking. We just need to learn how to engage in using this literacy successfully.

~Elizabeth Grochan

Works Cited

Ritchel, M. (2010, November 21). Growing up digital, wired for distraction. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technology/21brain.html?ref=yourbrainoncomputers

Wolf, M. and Barzillai, M. (2009). The Importance of Deep Reading. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 32-37. Retrieved from http://re5710.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/deepreading.pdf

Wolfe, M. (2010, Summer). Our ‘deep reading’ brain: Its digital evolution poses. Retrieved from http://www.nieman.harvard.edu/reports/article/102396/Our-Deep-Reading-Brain-Its-Digital-Evolution–Poses-Questions.aspx

Posted by: Elizabeth Grochan | February 16, 2012

The One and Only Ivan ~ Katherine Applegate

When I first picked up the book to read it, I admit that I thought it was going to take me longer to get through it, and then I opened it and saw the layout of the pages. The book doesn’t have individual chapters, but instead for every new story or thought Ivan tells the reader, at the top of the page is word or phrase to give the reader an idea of what the next page or two is about. Headings such as names, patience, children, elephant jokes, excited. They almost remind me of when you write a blog, you often do what is called ‘tagging’ where you pull out what you blog post is about to let others know. I wouldn’t know how to categorize the actual writing. The set up reminds me of free verse lyrical stories such as Out of the Dust, T4 and Love that Dog. But the writing itself isn’t poetry, although it reads like a journal or again a blog through Ivan the Gorilla’s point of view. While each ‘post’ is an individual thought, they all connect to form the story.

I think a book like this would be good for any reader, but especially a struggling or reluctant reader. As books go up on the difficulty level, words tend to get smaller and the spacing between lines and paragraph grows shorter. Yet in this book there is double the space between paragraphs which to me makes the reading seem less daunting. And since most of the sections are only a few pages or less, a reader wouldn’t feel as overwhelmed. Of course any reader would enjoy this book I think because the story itself flows so well and the open pages are almost relaxing for those of us who are use to so many words on a page.

I think one of the things I liked most about this story was the point of view from Ivan the Silverback. Many children books have animals in it. Some animals who are the main character in place of actual humans, some who are able to regular animals that are talked about from the humans point of view, and in the more fantasy genres, animals who interacting with humans but in a very humanish way.

In this story, the animals are supposed to be living in the real world, yet the story is how they view this world. Humans can’t hear them, but they can talk to one another. We are getting an idea of how an animal such as Ivan views how we humans interact and live while also getting an idea of how a Gorilla such as him may think about his own situation. How does it feel for the animal stuck inside the cage?

This book reminded me a lot of The Art of Racing in the Rain which I read a month ago and found amazing! Like this story, the point of view is told from Enzo the Dog. Even though he is a dog, and often has more dog like thoughts, his view and explanation of what he saw around him was one of the most profound visions of the human condition I have ever read. And like Ivan, his observations and thoughts still bring life to the humans around him as he tells how his story interacts with them.

“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot (The One and Only Ivan).”

“So much of language is unspoken. So much of language is compromised of looks and gestures and sounds that are not words. People are ignorant of the vast complexity of their own communication (The Art of Racing in the Rain).”

We talked a bit I our first class about grouping books by topic. The way these 2 books are connected I think is interesting and I am sure there are more books out there like this. I would think it would be interesting to even use these books as a segue into a writing topic where students write a story from an animal’s point of view. It could be any kind of animal, but the idea would be to not only tell an animal’s story, but also to tell the story of the humans around them.  I think in reading or writing how an animal sees the human is often more revealing than a story about a human and how they see those around them.

Of course a book like Ivan can be connected to many other classroom ideas. Students could research things such as circuses, zoos, the idea of capturing animals from their natural environment. Ethic topics could be addressed as far as animal cruelty acts. I would think especially for older students interesting debates could be created where students argue where the best place for animals is and is captivity right or wrong. Some of this may seem a little deep for kids, but isn’t that what we want our students to do, think and read deeply.

Since Ivan is based on a real Gorilla, I am sure there are plenty of articles and stories about him from his real life. I would have to look, but I bet there are even pictures of him from his time at the Mall Circus and his time at the Atlanta Zoo. After reading the book, I think students would enjoy getting to see actual footage of the real Ivan.

For myself, I believe that I did in fact engage in deep reading while reading this book, although I admit that my reading scenario probably wasn’t ideal for all readers. I currently work as a front desk clerk for a hotel. What I love about my job is that in between working with guests and other parts of the job, you are allowed to read and work on homework in your downtime. This usually gives me a few hours each shift to knock a bunch of stuff out. There are some days I can go for long periods of time without being interrupted, than there are the days that the interruptions are more constant. This was one of those days.

“Fascinating differences exist between expert readers and novice readers…(Wolf & Bazillai, 2009).” I like to consider myself an expert reader. I have been reading since a very young age, and always had a book on me that I would take out to read whenever I could. Between classes, while shopping with my family, during work breaks, etc. While I can sit for hours at a time reading, I have also gotten use to reading in short spurts, yet being able to be involved in what I am reading for that short time.

The problem I have in reading, well at least in reading something I feel is engaging, is that I get completely absorbed into the book and the rest of the word fades out. Good for reading, bad for being aware of my surroundings. While reading at work a few months ago (I was reading The Lost Hero, the first in the new Percy Jackson saga) I was so completely involved in my reading I almost shut out everything around me. This made it a little awkward when a guest came up to the desk and said excuse me scaring me so that I admit I squeaked a little in surprise. But that is how I have always read. Completely and deeply involved into the pages no matter what other distractions are around me. I know not everyone can do that. Many people, including expert readers, need certain situations in which they can read deeply, such as a quiet room with no distractions. But especially for more novice readers I think this is true because they are just getting print processing fully down so they need as much attention on comprehension and higher thinking as they can get.

“By deep reading, we mean the array of sophisticated processes that propel comprehension and that include inferential and deductive reasoning, analogical skills, critical analysis, reflection, and insight (Wolf & Bazillai 2009).”

I know I was involved in deep reading because even amidst the distractions, I was able to pick the book up each time and become engaged again in the pages. When I am able to connect with the characters in the book, I know I am involved. While reading Gregor the Overlander last week, I knew I was invested in the book when I actually cried a little (shhh don’t tell anyone) when the cockroach died. I hate bugs so the fact that I actually felt something when this bug died told me something.  I felt sadness for Stella as her condition worsened. I felt the animals’ loneliness. I made connections to what I was reading not just to my own life, but in other books I have read that I saw paralleled. I thought of other movies and books I have read that have stories about animals in captivity. Books and movies about zoos and circuses. Where those stories better for the animals? How may those animals have felt? What about the real times I have been to places like this, did I ever take the time to consider how the animals felt? How would I feel if I was the one stuck in a cage like Ivan, Stella and Ruby? As I was reading, I was already coming up with ideas of how to incorporate a book like this into my classroom if I ever wanted to.

I think most readers would enjoy reading this book. Not only for the simplicity of the pages and set up of the story, but for the interesting and engaging plot. Kids love animals as well so I think they would want to read about a Gorilla and an Elephant. I do think a book like this would need an introduction to get kids wanting to pick it up. From the outside it looks a little intimidating in size. But once you begin reading a child would see it wasn’t as bad, just as one may think of Wonderstruck. Daunting on the outside, engaging on the inside. I would also more than likely read the first 3 pages to really get the students involved.

Hello: “I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It’s not as easy as it looks.”

Names: “People call me the Freeway Gorilla. The Ape at Exit 8. The One and Only Ivan, Mighty Silverback.”

Patience: “Gorillas are as patient as stones. Humans, not so much.”

I think just these 3 lines here are a great introduction into what is this story is about and would be enough to catch the attention of most students. I don’t know how many would pick this book off a shelf, but with a little introduction I feel like students would want to read and find out more about Ivan.

 

 

As we consider the aid technology can be in a classroom, I began to consider what digital and media resources could I use to enhance the learning experience for a classroom as we read The One and Only Ivan.

There are a lot of great websites out there that can be used in a teaching unit when reading The One and Only Ivan. Ivan is also filled with a variety of themes that a unit can be geared towards depending on the curriculum and teacher preference. I think a large area to focus on would be the Gorilla life style and their sense of family. I also think since Ivan is based off of a true story, websites that follow his life would be very interesting for students to explore.

 

http://theoneandonlyivan.com

I think I would introduce the book using this site or a similarly made book trailer. I am actually a fan of watching book trailers, and have even made one for a class on T4. I actually have it on youtube here as an example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNb7HLwKjT0

Most books these days have some kind of trailer associated with it, and if you go on sites like Barnes and Noble you can see these trailers on book pages. Not only is it a good introduction to a book, I also think it is a great example of a way for kids to do alternate book reports. I loved creating the trailer for the book, and I think especially with how much kids love using media and technology, they would love the opportunity to use movie maker and other devices to tell a story in a fun and creative way.

 

http://theoneandonlyivan.com/ivan

Also on this site is a page dedicated to the real story of Ivan. After reading the story, I think students would enjoy reading more about the real Ivan and compare his story to the Ivan in the book. On the blog page, you can see a picture of Ivan while he was still at the mall and even watch a video of Ivan at the Atlanta Zoo.

 

http://www.koko.org/kidsclub/

I think this is a great kid friendly site that let’s kid’s explore facts on gorilla’s, stories on other gorilla’s such as Koko,  look at pictures, and place to write to Koko. There is also a link for teachers for curriculum ideas regarding Koko the gorilla. This site would be a great way to introduce Gorilla’s to students as a class, or even to provide the link and allow students to explore on their own.

 

Another good follow up page after reading Ivan is

http://www.zooatlanta.org/home/article_content/gorilla_milestones

This article from 2010 gives an updated story on Ivan at the Atlanta Zoo as well as information on 3 other Gorilla’s that call the Zoo their home. Getting to see Ivan as he is after being at the mall following the story I think gives a nice ending to the story. Finding out that Ivan is real I believe makes the story more real and I think kids will want to know more and be excited to explore more about him.

Another digital source I would use would be the Disney movie version of Tarzan. I wouldn’t show the whole movie with the class, but selected clips that I feel show the best sense of how Gorillas live. There are many scenes throughout the movie that show how Gorilla’s move, what and how they eat, how they have fun, interact with one another, how they sleep in nests surrounded by family. A huge part of the movie Tarzan revolves around this sense of family and togetherness. The fact that Ivan is locked alone in a cage for so long compared to the natural instinct Gorillas have to be together I think illustates how lonely and hard it was for him to live like that for so long. I think knowing how Gorillas in the wild behave creates an undestanding that life for Ivan was the opposite of ideal.

 

Works Cited

The One and Only Ivan By: Katherine Applegate

The Art of Racing in the Rain By Gary Garth Stein

Wolf, M. and Barzillai, M. (2009). The Importance of Deep Reading. Educational Leadership, 66(6), 32-37. Retrieved from http://re5710.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/deepreading.pdf

Posted by: Elizabeth Grochan | February 10, 2012

Teacher as Reader

The Reading Habits and Literacy Attitudes of Inservice and Prospective Teachers

By: Steven Nathanson
John Pruslow
Roberta Levitt

~Does Jonny’s Reading Teacher Love to Read? How Teachers’ Personal Reading Habits Affect Instructional Practices

By: Sharon S. McKool
Suzanne Gespass

~The Peter Effect: Reading Habits and attitudes of preservice teachers

By: Anthony J. Applegate
Mary Dekonty Applegate

~Can You Be a Teacher of Literacy If You Don’t Love To Read?

By: Ann Powell-Brown

~Teachers of Literacy, Love of Reading, and the Literate Self: A Response to Ann Powell-Brown

By: Kimberly Gomaz

“Can you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read?”

Powell-Brown proposed this question in her article back in 2003. To me it seems like a simple enough question. Can you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read? Sure. Can you be an effective teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read? I would say no.

It is important to note that students, even at an early age, are very aware of a teachers feelings and attitudes towards an area or subject they are teaching. I had a teacher in high school for both chemistry and biology. She even told us she hated chemistry, but loved biology and her teaching as well as the overall success of our class in each subject definitely reflected this.

Applegate and Applegate discuss what they refer to as the Peter Effect. The Peter Effect refers to the story in the bible about the Apostle Peter who when asked for money could not give what he didn’t have. So how can a teacher teach and convey an enthusiasm, passion, enjoyment and love for reading and literacy if they do not have it themselves.

“Many preservice teachers are not avid readers themselves and this lack of engagement may be passed on to their students (Applegate & Applegate, 2004).” If the teacher has no passion for reading, than the students will not develop a passion and may even question why they must read if the teacher obviously doesn’t like to.

One of the most effective ways to teach a love of reading is by modeling it. “Teachers ‘become reading models when they share their own reading experiences with students and emphasize how reading enhances and enriches their lives.’(Applegate & Applegate, 2004).” Many students are affected either positively or negatively by the instruction they receive during their early school years. I was lucky to have many teachers who had a great love for reading and writing, and I picked up on that love and have carried it into my adulthood. “Enthusiastic readers were more likely than self-described unenthusiastic readers to credit a former teacher’s enthusiasm for reading as a means of promoting books and a love of reading (Nathanson, Pruslow & Levitt, 2008).” Both my 3rd and 5th grade teachers LOVED reading and I remember that each day they took time out of the day to read to us. Those books they read (Maniac Mcgee, The Westing Game, Wayside School is Falling Down and more) are now a part of my library that I will share with others in hopes they will grow to love these books as well.

During my student teaching, I read to my students each day after lunch before they had recess. I read the entire Wayside series to them. It was during that time I found I had the most engagement from every single child. They looked forward to that time just as much as I did. Throughout the day we would make references to the books that made sense to us, even if others wouldn’t get it. The books connected us. I remember having finished a chapter and announcing it was time for recess, only to be greeted by groans begging for just one more chapter. Even the reluctant readers would pick up those books to read during free time. I’d like to think that just as my teachers before me, it was my passion for reading that drew these students in so they began to share the same passion. “If we want to be the best teachers we can be, we must demonstrate our own passion for reading (Powell-Brown, 2003/2004).”

For the many people that I have talked to who do not enjoy reading, I find it is because they were not exposed to it and taught how to enjoy reading, at least not in an enthusiastic manor generally during their early education. Also, many were not allowed the opportunity of choice to explore what literature interested them and only were able to read the selected texts of the teacher.

Studies have also shown that the teachers who love reading use best practices in their instruction of reading more so than teachers who do not enjoy reading. “Teachers who are enthusiastic readers are more likely to use instructional activities such as literature circles and discussions, which promote engagement (Applegate & Applegate, 2004).” Give students a chance to enjoy literature. Read aloud to students every day, allow for pleasure reading, let students chose when possible what they read, make assignments fun and engaging (avoid traditional, boring book reports) take time during the day for discussion and sharing on what everyone is reading and give recommendations. In McKool and Gespass’s article from 2009, they discuss many of the best practices used by teachers that have a personal enjoyment of reading. One of the areas they focus on is allowing students the opportunity for daily self selected reading. They found that students who had the chance to do this daily were generally good readers in comparison to poor readers who tend to get more skill instruction and fewer opportunities to read for extended periods of time. “Both teachers’ personal reading habits and their beliefs about the importance of reading do affect the instructional decisions that teachers make (McKool & Gespass, 2009).”

“Why would you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read? (Gomez, 2005).” Many teachers may not enjoy reading for pleasure, but they do believe in the value of literacy and want their students to be readers. It is important as teachers that we make reading a part of our lives, and not just what we have to read, but allowing time for pleasure reading. Our days are busy, but making the effort each day is worth it not just for ourselves but for our students.

Works Cited

McKool, ., & Gespass, S. (2009). Does johnny’s reading teacher love to read? how teachers’ personal reading habits affect instructional practices. Literacy Research and Instruction, 48, 264-276

Nathanson, S., Pruslow, J., and Levitt, R. (2008). The reading habits and literacy attitudes of inservice and prospective teachers. Journal of Teacher Education, 59(4), 313-321.

Powell-Browm, A. (2003/2004). Can you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read? Jounral of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 47, 284-288.

Gomez, K. (2005). Teachers of literacy, love of reading, and the literate self: A response to Ann Powell-Brown. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 49 (2), 92-96.

Applegate, A., & Applegate, M. (2004). The Peter Effect: Reading habits and attitudes of preservice teachers. The Reading Teacher, 57, 554-563.

Posted by: Elizabeth Grochan | February 10, 2012

Hunger Games ~ By Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games Series

By Suzanne Collins

“I write about war. For adolescents.”

I think one of the reasons this series has becomes so popular in the last year is because this is the kind of series that once you read, you recommend it to someone else.  I know I have. And those I have recommended it to often finish the series quickly and tell me how much they enjoyed it and that they have already recommended it to someone else. I think that while it has similar elements that other popular book series have that engages readers, it also is unique in many ways that makes it intriguing and new. There isn’t always a black and white. A lot of the story is written in a sense of a gray area. There is no absolute good, and no absolute evil. Much of it is about survival and the lengths one goes to survive. The characters are real, the plot, even with its fanciful flair, is very real. We the reader can relate to the characters and see elements of the plot in our own lives.

Much of The Hunger Games focuses on the idea of sacrifice. From the beginning, Katniss finds herself a part of the games because of her sacrifice for her sister Primrose. Seeing herself as the caregiver for Prim from a young age I think fuels that also. Katniss doesn’t love anyone more than Prim, and she is willing to sacrifice herself for her sister even though she knows she is probably going to die. Peeta has loved Katniss from a far for years. She when he is put into the games his decisions are based on what he feels will keep her alive as long as he can, even though he knows that her survival means his death.

As the series progresses, the two are constantly trying to protect the other. Willing to die so the other can live.

“You’re still trying to protect me. Real or not real,” he whispers.
“Real,” I answer. “Because that’s what you and I do, protect each other.” (Mockingjay)

One of the most selfless acts in the story occurred during Catching Fire during the reaping for the 75th games. After believing they were safe after surviving the horrors of the games once, the surviving tributes were being reaped again.

“A hysterical young woman with flowing brown hair is also called from 4, but she’s quickly replaced by a volunteer, an eighty-year-old woman who needs a cane to walk to the stage”  (Catching Fire)

The older woman is 80 and to me I think that she saw it as she had already lived a full life. She takes the place of the younger woman who still had young children. Not because like Katniss she loved this woman, but because she viewed the sacrifice of her own life as being less than this woman. Few people would do that I think.

Katniss is a representation of the rebellion, even if she often doesn’t want to be. Because of this, the rebellion are willing to do what they have to keep her safe, even if it means leaving others behind. She has to struggle with this especially when Peeta is captured. That people are willing to sacrifice people who are close to her just to keep her safe because she is the face of a rebellion she is just learning about.

Some characters in the story are willing to sacrifice themselves to save others, other people are just willing to sacrifice others.

“I no longer feel allegiance to these monsters called human beings, despite being one myself. Because something is significantly wrong with a creature that sacrifices its children’s lives to settle its differences. You can spin it any way you like. Snow thought the Hunger Games were an efficient means of control. Coin thought the parachutes would expedite the war. But in the end, who does it benefit? No one. The truth is, it benefits no one to live in a world where these things happen.”(Mockingjay)

When I discussed how not much of the story was black in white, this is what I was referring to. Both sides of this war are willing to make sacrifices of others to win, so who is wrong? Each uses sacrifices in a manipulating and strategic way to hold power and control. They chose to sacrifice the most innocents, the children. The capital uses the Hunger Games as a punishment and a lesson to keep the districts in check. The Rebellion sacrifices children in the end in what they see as a quick means to an end. Larger powers tend to do this. They stop seeing people as individuals.

One of these elements I felt a connection with and I think others do also is the issues that relate to war. I have known for a while that Collins got the premise of The Hunger Games while channel surfing between a reality show and footage of the Iraq war. What I didn’t know until I read The New York Times article ‘Suzanne Collins’s War stories for Kids’ was that like me she was a military brat. My earliest memory of war was when I was in first grade during the Gulf War. A classmate’s father was sent over to fight at the time. We as a class were making crafts to send over and I remember feeling sad and scared that my Dad was going to be sent away also. While he wasn’t, I will always remember being a frightened little girl wondering if my Dad was going to leave for reasons I really didn’t understand.

“Collins embraces her father’s impulses to educate young people about the realities of war. “If we wait too long, what kind of explanation can we have…we think we are sheltering them, but what we’re doing is putting them at a disadvantage (Dominus, 2011).

So at a very young age I was exposed to war, even if it wasn’t the full brutality of war. Fast forward 10 years and I was 17 years old sitting in class watching footage of planes flying into the World Trade Center. At that point war became real not just for me but for the nation. Living in a Military town, I think we often felt how real this war was more than others. Almost immediately our town went into threat mode and within days people I knew (my friend’s fathers, brothers, boyfriends) were being deployed. Since then war has been real for my hometown.

“Because I know so many children are experiencing it right now-having deployed parents (Dominus, 2011).”

I think many people want to hide war from our children. But you can’t hide something that is real and already there for them. While student teaching, I had one boy whose father was deployed. Right before I began teaching, a student in the class across the halls father had recently been killed in action. The boy in my class was this kid’s best friend. At 8 years old, he was never under any illusion of how much danger his father was in. We as teachers saw the effect this had in him. Not only was his behavior changed, but you could see it in his writing. Everything he wrote had to do with war, guns, fighting, death. War is very real, and these children know it.

“Series makes warfare deeply personal, forcing readers to contemplate their own roles as desensitized voyeurs (Dominus, 2011).”

With the aid of technology, we as a society were in constant exposure to footage of the war and that helped to make it even more real. But to see it, and to actually experience it are two very different things.

What I liked about Hunger Games was the war is made real for these young characters, and not just the physical aspects of it, but the emotional and mental ramifications of war.

“Peeta bakes. I hunt. Haymitch drinks until the liquor runs out.” (Mockingjay)

War does change you. Your experiences, what you see, what you do, you are forever changed. I can’t even begin to understand what a solider feels when he comes home. I know many try to hide and cope the best they can. Not wanting to frighten their families they keep up a front trying to mask the horrors they saw. Like the 3 main characters, you find ways to help you cope.

As we find in the later two books, no one escapes the Hunger Games unchanged. Each tribute is left holding psychological baggage. What they had to do just to survive pushes the human psyche to its limits. And the fact that each of the tributes were nothing more than teenagers at the time I think heightens that damage.

One of the most chilling aspects of The Hunger Games series for me was the psychological torture Peeta endures that transforms what was one of the most kindhearted likeable characters into an insane, confused and troubled person unsure even what is real and unreal. Even as he heals and regains most of his memories, both the events of the arenas and his torture at the hands of the capital stay with him.

My father was in Vietnam. From a young age we knew not to surprise him. If you really wanted a fright, try to wake him from sleeping. We knew to stay a few feet away just in case. His nightmares and flashbacks have definitely gotten few and far between as I grew older, but on the occasion I know he still wakes up with memories from a war almost 50 years old. At a fourth of July party once, a recently returned Marine friend of mine who was healing from being hit by a bomb was overcome by anxiety as fireworks went off in the sky. He said it took everything in him not to hit the floor. This PTSD doesn’t just affect the person suffering, but also the people around them.

What I did find interesting was that until that point, Katniss never realizes what she had with Peeta. She didn’t miss the best parts of Peeta until she realized they were gone. She is often overwhelmed by the complete change she sees in Peeta and feels inadequate and unable to help. So not only do we see what Peeta goes through as the tortured, we also see the pain his loved ones endure watching his pain.

Romance plays a large part of the series, although it is by far not what the series is about. Katniss finds herself in a triangle between Gale and Peeta. She is often left confused by both her feelings for each boy, and their feelings for her.

I think what Katniss realizes when the threat of losing Peeta becomes real is who she is meant to be with. She needs to be with the person who completes her. She doesn’t need to be with someone who is just like her, she needs someone who compliments her personality and actions, and it is Peeta who does that for her.

“What I need to survive is not Gale’s fire kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again and only Peeta can give me that.
So after when he whispers, “You love me. Real or not real?”
I tell him, “Real” (Mockingjay)

Works Cited

Hunger Games Trilogy

Dominus, S. (2011, April 8). Suzanne collins’s war stories for kids. The New York Times, Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/10/magazine/mag-10collins-t.html?pagewanted=all

Posted by: Elizabeth Grochan | January 26, 2012

Reading Response 1

The Peter Effect: Reading Habits and attitudes of preservice teachers

By: Anthony J. Applegate
Mary Dekonty Applegate

“Many preservice teachers are not avid readers themselves and this lack of engagement may be passed on to their students.”

“Teachers ‘become reading models when they share their own reading experiences with students and emphasize how reading enhances and enriches their lives.'”

“Teachers who are enthusiastic readers are more likely to use instructional activities such as literature circles and discussions, which promote engagement.

The Peter Effect…refers to the story in the bible about the Apostle Peter who when asked for money could not give what he didn’t have.
How can a teacher teach and convey an enthusiasm for reading if they do not have it themselves.

Many students are affected either positively or negatively by the instruction they receive during their early school years.

The attitudes of the teacher is relatively transparent to their students.

Can You Be a Teacher of Literacy If You Don’t Love To Read?

By: Ann Powell-Brown

“If you make time to read and become engaged in the process it becomes natural, habit-forming behavior.”

“Model your passion for literacy.”

Give students a chance to enjoy literature. Read aloud to students, allow for pleasure reading, let students chose when possible what they read, make assignments fun and engaging (avoid traditional, boring book reports)

“If we want to be the best teachers we can be, we must demonstrate our own passion for reading.”

Teachers of Literacy, Love of Reading, and the Literate Self: A Response to Ann Powell-Brown

By: Kimberly Gomaz

“Why would you be a teacher of literacy if you don’t love to read?”
Many teachers may not enjoy reading for pleasure, but they do believe in the value of literacy and want their students to be readers.

Many who do not enjoy reading as adults never learned during their formative years to enjoy it. They maybe able to read, and read well, they just never were taught how to enjoy reading.

Teachers should be aware of areas to address to help students develop a joy of reading. Ensure that reading is not an obstacle to the best of your ability, gear classroom setting and activities to influence a positive enjoyment of reading, share your own enthusiasm of reading with students, discover why students do not enjoy reading so that you may help them discover the enjoyment.

Overall Summary

It is important to note that students are very aware of a teachers feelings towards an area or subject they are teaching. If the teacher has no passion for reading, than the students will not develop a passion and may even question why they must read if the teacher obviously doesn’t like to. I was lucky to have many teachers who had a great love for reading and writing, and I picked up on that love and have carried it into my adulthood. Many people I have talked to who do not enjoy reading, it is because they were not exposed to it, at least not in an enthusiastic manor generally during their early education. If the teacher is enthusastic towards reading, the instruction usually reflects this in a positive manner and the students will more then likely pick up on that enjoyment and it will become their own.

Posted by: Elizabeth Grochan | August 25, 2011

Write on!

I feel quotes are one of the greatest ways to express your thoughts and feelings about something. As I started creating this blog I began thinking of quotes I thought would express some of my thoughts regarding writing and reading. Here are a few I would like to share 😀

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

— Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”

“The only thing that works with writing is that you care so passionately about it yourself, that you make someone else care passionately about it.”

– Judy Blume

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

— Frederick Douglass

“Reading aloud with children is known to be the single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills they will eventually require for learning to read.”

— Marilyn Jager Adams

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