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Accelerated Reading

I am not really sure what I thought accelerated reading was before this week’s readings. I guess I was thinking of it more as an advanced course or extracurricular activity. I like the idea of accelerated reading and how it can build upon a student’s reading level. For students who are behind their grade level it helps them build confidence, create an excitement for reading, find passions and hobbies. I don’t think this is the only program to subscribe to for reading promotion but I think it is a wonderful starting point. As students progress in school it would be beneficial to build a program that grows with them and keeps them engaged. I am not 100 percent sure what that would look like but the concept seems like it would be the best route.

I really liked how Solley and Luck found ways to reach their students while utilizing the system. Solley found a way to reach a child who was behind in his reading level and had become rebellious to cover for that insecurity. He became so engaged and really stuck to the agreement which gave him confidence and a love of reading. It broke my heart that he moved schools and there was not more to the story for him, at least not that we could read. It is the reason I want to be a librarian, I want to bring a joy of reading to students, build their confidence and help them learn and engage in their learning.

Social Justice in Books and Schools

Sold, Rickshaw Girl and Inside Out and Back Again were beautiful and heartbreaking stories. They are wonderful examples of Social Justice in books and I think they would be great additions to any library collection. I agree that William Ayers said it best when it comes to teaching social justice, “Teaching for social justice is teaching that arouses students, engages them in a quest to identify obstacles to their full humanity, to their freedom, and then to drive, to move against those obstacles.”  As a student I couldn’t think of a better way to learn than to see different aspects and be asked to think critically about the issues people face here in America but also around the world. As a future librarian I would want that for the students who came to my library. I would want them to see beyond their small corner of the world to what else is out there and perhaps find their passion along the way. Critical thinking is such an important part of learning and gives students a drive to learn more and participate more in the class because they want to share their points of view.

“Adolescent Literature and Reader Response: ‘It’s about Global Awareness and Social Justice!’ ” was such an amazing read. There were so many points that I agreed on both as a student and as a guide for how I would like to run my library one day. Global awareness and social justice are such important topics for all ages but bringing it into schools allows children to begin critical thinking and understanding the world they live in at an early age. “Literature has the power to transform our thinking,” is spot on what we read can change how we think and how we perceive life around us. If we want to teach children that they can be and do anything they put their mind to we need to broaden what we teach them so the options are as endless as we say they are. There are many obstacles that may pop up along the way but they are simply that, obstacles. Reading the stories of those who have overcome their obstacles and even those who didn’t are important for children and all ages really to see the many possibilities and paths that life offers. Rickshaw girl I was rooting for Naima and all of her ideas because while she was told a daughter is no good she found a way to help. Lakshmi, in Sold, was so brave to give up everything she knew to work in the city and bring money for her family. She didn’t want to go but she was brave for her mother and later when she goes to the American hoping for a better life for her. The formats for Inside Out and Back Again as well as Sold were so different and interesting. They were almost like poems but also like diary entries. The reader is drawn in like they are a part of the story too.

Newbery Award Winners

Reading is such a wonderful escape from stress and the occasional mundane day to day of things. I grew up preferring nonfiction and realistic fiction to anything else and a few years ago I found that I enjoyed fiction. I have been devouring fiction ever since but I try to mix in the award winners because clearly they won an award for a reason. I have enjoyed some of them and others took forever to get through because I just could not connect with the story. “Has the Newbery Lost Its Way” was a really wonderful article because I found that my outlook on these awards is not a far cry from librarians and critics alike. While I do not think that the popularity of a book should be the only factor in deciding if it should win an award it should be taken into consideration. The point is to get children reading and choosing books that are not selling even with the prestige of the award on the cover is not really doing the job intended.

“What Makes a Good Newbery Novel?” states that the novels must have a truly remarkable character and I agree there are a lot of wonderful characters throughout all of the Newbery winners. My question is are all of these characters fitting for the age group they are meant for or is the board intrigued by what the characters represent, what they could do for children if only they were interested and picking outside the box? I have not read all of the Newbery winners so I can’t say that I agree with either side 100% but I think that it is important to think like the children would, include children in the decision making or include popularity in the decision process. Perhaps poll a random selection of libraries each year for what they believe are the best books for children and why.

I found Dead End in Norvelt to be different and somewhat funny at points but it was a slow story that made it hard to get invested in the characters for better or worse. The characters themselves were not awful it was just a strange story that I think had a lot of plans but kind of fell flat with exciting snippets. The Giver and Holes are also Newbery winners and I could not put them down. They were exciting and creative that every facet of these novels kept me wanting more. Holes had stories within the story that you wanted to hang around to see how the main story would workout, how it would loop back to the other stories and what was going to happen to our favorite characters from each story. The Giver was such a different idea and experience; it was a very short book but Lois Lowry really packed a punch in those few pages. The hint of color here and there, the slow attraction between teens; it was relate-able but in a round about way. I think that there is a Newbery book for everyone but not every Newbery book is a crowd pleaser. I would definitely think that adding more ideas to the rubric for choosing a winner would help ensure that these books relate the best to the audience they are meant to.

E-Books

E-books and e-readers are an amazing asset that we have at our disposal. You can get free textbooks online or if you can’t find a certain book in print you can likely find an electronic copy at your local library or online. While e-books are not my cup of tea I see the value they have and the amount of knowledge that is just a click away at any time. I work too much on computers as it is so I try to avoid them when it’s my free time. With that being said I love that we as a society have so much access to so many books in many different formats. When it is easier to access books in whatever your format of choice is you are likelier to read and isn’t that what we want- more readers?

As technology continues to expand and grow so too will libraries and librarians. Librarians have to learn the different technologies that interact with their jobs (e-books, e-readers, apps, etc.) but they cannot lose touch of the less technological aspects of their jobs. Each librarian has to be equipped to assist all of their patrons both with new technology and those who prefer to avoid technology or just don’t understand technology. This is something that I had not thought of, I understood that keeping up with technology is part of maintaining a library and keeping it active but ensuring that you understand other ways to help customers without technology slipped my notice. I love the concept of being knowledgeable about your job no matter the format. I believe that we should utilize technology because it is a wonderful resource but always be prepared to live without it. Technology comes with its own challenges; finding the books you want, access to e-readers, system glitches, outages and service issues. It is definitely important to incorporate a well rounded selection of e-books into each library. You would want some overlap with print and e-books as well as ensuring that e-books are up to par with what your customer base reads and enjoys.

I am a book lover for sure and I am thoroughly enjoying learning about the different formats and categories of books that are out there. While this week was about e-books the most surprising thing I learned is that there is a new category of books called “New Adult” which I am thoroughly intrigued and would like to find a book in this category to see what its all about. One of the articles I read for this week mentions that young adult or YA books are read by many adults and it seems there is a fine line between adult and young adult fiction. My confusion is where and why does “New Adult” come in. I look forward to finding out in between semesters.

Transliteracy

Here begins my journey to becoming a librarian. My thoughts as I began my assigned readings and spoke with my classmates ranged from excited to anxious. Transliteracy is fascinating though I don’t think this method of reading is my cup of tea. I believe the books chosen (The Arrival, Trackers, 3:15, Skeleton Creek, and 13 Days to Midnight) were great examples graphic novels and transliteracy. Each of these books incorporated a different form of reading than what we, as a society, would call traditional reading styles. Over the years books have been steadily changed into different formats including audio and e-books. These formats have become more popular but seeing 3:15 give you a code to listen to an intro then provide a reading and then back to the website to watch a short video of the ending of each story was so different than I had ever imagined reading getting. Each book read this week showed a form of reading that is so different from what I am used to and it challenged my resolve to get through these readings. If I am honest I only enjoyed one of these books and it was still tough for me to go back forth between mediums. Trackers was my favorite of the primary readings because it was more straightforward than the other books but I had a hard time maintaining focus going from the reading to the website for more information. I am an old school type of girl, I like to a hold a book in my hand and binge read until the end. These books challenged my norm; I think these would be great for getting children more interested in reading and giving them more options to pique their interest especially in our high tech world. I really enjoyed learning about transliteracy and its advantages in schools.

I understand that education techniques have to expand as new methods and technologies are developed and made available. Transliteracy brought a whole new avenue of technology and learning to my attention. It is an interesting method that I believe would be beneficial to incorporate in schools. It is my belief that offering a more well rounded selection of books each year for classes will allow children to be more engaged in reading. If we give them options from graphic novels to nonfiction to fantasy to whatever other genres you can think of, kids might just want to read rather than finding it to be a chore. I think if you choose a range of genres with the same messages, themes, etc. you can get the points you want across while making reading a more enjoyable experience. Transliteracy is definitely something to take into consideration in my theory for making reading more accessible to children. It won’t be for everyone but no one genre meets everyone’s reading needs. My thoughts on librarianship are that I will be available to assist with projects, research, finding books, recommending books and whatever else might be asked of me in a local school system. I hope to gain more insight into what being a librarian truly means as I am sure that my thoughts are just the tip of the iceberg of librarianship.