Times have changed. When I wrote my book report on
the book From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E.
Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, I didn't have a
word processor or the Internet. It would have been
great to have the word processor help with the
spelling and the Internet to help visualize the
setting. Today, I can see a real map and photos of the
of Art in New York. Learn about Michelangelo.
I can also read more about topics that are discussed
in the book such as Clara
the Reading Roller Coaster:
- Click Reading
Roller Coaster Workshop
to go to a workshop based on this
- When it comes to roller coasters, do
you like wood or metal, loops or curves,
speed or height? Or, do you prefer to skip
the roller coaster ride?
- What about reading? Do you like
fiction or nonfiction, skinny or big
books, difficult or easy, fun or serious?
Or, do you prefer to skip reading?
- Not everyone likes the same things,
but reading is important to everyone in
the information age. Start thinking
differently about the role of books and
reading in your life. There are electronic
books, ezines, online publishing, and
web-based information. Maybe you don't
like roller coasters, but have you tried
the other rides? Maybe you don't like all
books, but have you tried magazines, short
stories, and audio books?
- In the information age, you'll find more and more
interactive books that include text, graphics, audio,
activities, and games. For example, Tivola Software's
The Little Prince and Mercer Mayer's, Just
Me and My Dad.
- Electronic books such as Rocket ebooks, Softbooks,
Laptop software, Microsoft Reader, and Glassbooks are
among the new generation of paperless books now
available through the Internet and other technology.
Give them a try!
Spectrum of Reading
- Reading is reading. Although it would be great if
you wanted to read a classic like Harper Lee's, To
Kill a Mockingbird or a new popular book such as
Ella Enchanted, reading an article on Sports
Illustrated online is still reading. Look for the
joy of reading whether it's a horror online or a
- A great new book about reading and writing for
adults is by Stephen King called On Writing.
According to Stephen King (Good Morning
America), reading bad literature is as important
as reading good. The more you read the better you get.
You can really enjoy a good book when you know how
bad, bad can be. Think about it.
- Fantasy and Science
Fiction. Harry Potter has made fantasy a
popular genre of reading. Whether it's wizards,
dragons, elves, kings, or aliens, fantasy and science
fiction are hot! Remember, everyone doesn't like
everything, but if you haven't tried reading Harry
Potter, Ella Enchanted, or The Giver, how will you
ever know? Check out more about Harry Potter at
Fiction. Some people prefer to stay firmly
grounded in reality. For those people, books about
families, relationships, problems, and issues are what
they seek. Bring the world to your home with books
such as Holes, Bridge to Terabithia,
Maniac Magee, What Jamie Saw, and
Walk Two Moons. My current favorite is a young
adult book by Laurie Halse Anderson called
Speak. For people who'd like to discuss
real-world issues, try a chat room at Freezone.
- Adventure. Do
you like books that involve adventure and survival,
honor and tradition, courage, determination, making
choices, and living on your own? Each generation seems
to have a favorite survival book. In the 1940s and
1950s, it was Johann David Wys's Swiss Family
Robinson, in the 1960s the book was Jean Craighead
George's, My Side of the Mountain or Scott
O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins, then in
the 1980s it was Gary Paulsen's, Hatchet.
Today, many of Will Hobb's books fit this category.
You can also go online and read more about survival.
- Humor. Do you
like cute, funny, silly, or even hilarious books? Do
you want reading to be fun? Try Squids will be
Squids, How to Eat Fried Worms, or
Bunnicula. A new book by Arthur Dorros
called The Fungus that Ate My School is a
current favorite. Learn more about fungus
Fiction. Are you a time traveler? Do you
like to go back to ancient times, the middle ages, or
World War I? Would you like to bring an important
event or everyday life alive? Check out Midwife's
Apprentice, Out of the Dust, Number the
Stars, or Dragon's Gate. Christopher Paul
Curtis's Bud, Not Buddy is set during the
Depression and won the 2000 Newbery metal for the best
in children's literature. Each book has its own
appeal. I like the Jazz
music topic in Bud, Not Buddy. Read Lois
Lenski's Indian Capture and learn about her
real grave at the Find
A Grave website.
- Biography. How
did famous people become famous? Find out by reading
biographies. Russell Freedman has written some great
biographies including Eleanor Roosevelt,
Wright Brothers, and Abraham Lincoln. A
great new book is an autobiography by Lois Lowry
called Looking Back.
- The Sciences.
You don't have to read fiction. Many people enjoy
reading about the world of real math and science. For
example, Jim Murphy's The Great Fire traces the
Great Chicago fire and David Slatner discovers The
Joy of Pi. Read about apples with the book by
Bobbie Kalman called Hooray for Orchards. Then,
go to the 42eXplore page on Apples
to learn more.
- The Arts. Read
about the world of art, music, and humanities. For
example, Linnea in Monet's Garden explores the
life of Monet and his art. Read about quilting in Mary
Cobb's, Quiltblock History of Pioneer Days, and
make your own quiltblocks with KidPix.
- Promote the love of reading in yourself and
others. Share what you read with others. The more we
reading, the more we enjoy.
- Start with Interests.
Do you like the outdoors, romance,
adventure, sports, friends, or computer games? Look
for games, books, stories, and online resources the
match you interests. For example, I enjoyed reading
the short story called Ender's Game in Analog
magazine back in 1977. Since then, I've become a fan
of the author, Orson Scott Card and read a dozen more
of his books including his new book Ender's
Shadow. I recently reread his original Ender's
Game book after nearly 20 years. I've even enjoyed
visiting the author's
- Active Reading.
Connect books with other things you enjoy
such as talking, walking, or taking photographs. For
example, read the book by Lindsay Barrett George
called In the Woods: Who's Been Here? Then go
outside and create a map of your backyard or a local
park. Take pictures, make drawings, create treasures
hunts, or write your own book!
- Think Magazine.
You don't have to read books to enjoy
reading. Enjoy a newspaper or magazine. An electronic
book is called an ezine. Try reading an ezine for a
change. There are many ezines for children and young
adults such as Time
for Kids, and Smithsonian.
You can read USA
Today or Tiger
- Lead the Way.
Let an interest lead you to the Internet and a web
page lead you to a book. For example, if you're
interested in hang gliding try the website HangGlide.
Then read Will Hobbs's book called The Maze.
This may get you interested in learning more about
Falcons and other endangered birds.
Authors. When you get done reading a book,
ask yourself: Who wrote it? Why? What are they like?
What else have they written? Do a search on the
Internet for the author of your book and you'll find
lots of fascinating information. For example, look up
- Try New
Formats. Do you like to read letters,
diaries, and email? Try books in these formats.
Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl may be the
best known diary. Try some of these other books such
as Dear Mr. Henshaw, A Gathering of
Days, Nothing by the Truth, and Out of
the Dust for some interesting book formats.
Danziger and Martin have written a book called
Snail Mail No More. It is written as a series
of emails and instant messages.
- Involve Readers.
A fun thing about reading on the Internet
is the interactive nature of the medium. In other
words you can add to stories such as creating a new
ending, drawing an illustration, and participating in
a discussion. Try the website Stories
to Grow By.
- Read on the
Web. You can find interactive stories,
articles, and books published on the Internet. You can
even find things for beginning readers such as
- Imagine with Book.
Reading is not just about text literacy,
it's also about visual literacy and the joy of
imagination. Try reading a wordless book such as David
Wiesner's, Sector 7.
- Think as you Read.
Try simple activities such as reviewing,
discussing, highlighting, applying, and creating as
you read. If you're reading Patricia MacLachlan's,
Sarah Plain and Tall, then make a simple list
of wildflowers or things in Maine. Build a chart of
characters or places.
- Try an
Activity. Pick one activity to help you and
your child remember the book. For example, if you read
Peggy Rathmann's, Officer Buckle and Gloria
create safety stars. Or, if you read Janet Stevens's,
Tops and Bottoms plant a garden, discuss
nutrition, or talk about morals. Create your own
books. If you read, Bill Martin, Jr's, Brown Bear,
Brown Bear, What Do You See?, create your own "big
- Explore Easy Readers.
Remember the traditional "I Can Read" books
such as Arnold Lobel's, Frog and Toad series.
Try a predictable book with repeated elements, story,
words, and visuals such as Audrey Wood's, The
Napping House. Try letter and word play books with
rhyming, alphabets, alliteration, or limericks. Read
Stephen T. Johnson's, Alphabet City. Try some
rhyme such as Nancy Shaw's, Sheep in a Jeep.
Explore poetry including Shel Silverstein, Jack
Prelutsky, and Carl Sandburg. Go to the Giggle
- What books do you remember from when you were
growing up? How about Green Eggs & Ham or
the new book Hooray for Diffendoofer Day? What
makes a good book? How do you pick a good book? Here
are a few ideas:
- Look for books with
meaning. For young children, try Eric
Carle, The Very Clumsy Click Beetle.
- Look for authors you
know. If you liked The Giver by Lois
Lowry, try her new book Gathering Blue.
- Look for picture books
for all ages. Scieska and Smith write lots
of "adult" picture books such as The Real Story of
the Three Little Pigs, Stinky Cheese Man,
and Squids will be Squids.
- Look for a mix of fiction
and nonfiction. Look for science in books
such as the snake in Janell Cannon's, Verdi.
Read more about
- Look for fun and
interest. If you like robots and computers,
try David Kirk, Nova's Ark.
- Look for online reading.
Turn your ideas about reading upside down.
Read short, scary stories at Moonlit
- Promote reading by going beyond the book. Write in
a journal, discuss the book with a friend, or draw a
picture. Play with puppets, do a worksheet, or try an
activity from Jan
- Why is reading so important? We even have special
reading weeks and months! What's the big deal?
- Real-World Reading.
You need reading to survive. If you get
behind in reading, you'll have trouble in every
- Information Age
Reading. You need reading for a career.
Internet = Reading. Keeping up in a changing world
requires good reading skills.
Reading. You need reading to communicate
whether you're writing or reading a letter, email, or
- Pleasure Reading.
You need reading for leisure. It's the only
thing you can do on a plane, on the beach, or in a
line that doesn't require batteries! You can read
Life Long Learning.
You need reading for learning. Life is
about learning. You need reading for life.
- Keys to
- The key to reading is knowing yourself, your
family, and your students. Look for authors, series,
meaning, and fun in reading. Finally, remember the
book called Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert
Kraus. Not everyone learns to read or enjoys reading
in the same way. Let readers bloom! Find your own
- For more ideas about reading, check out my
Ladders section of this website. It contains
information and ideas to go with many of the books
discussed in this article.
Created by Annette