The Thursday Three

So I’m starting a new tradition here at Accidental Literacy. It’s part reflection and part observation. Every Thursday I want to post the three things that I’ve learned this week about literacy. Since learning can come from anywhere, I’ll try to include where I’ve discovered these insights.

Here are this week’s Thursday Three:

1. Being able to read a map is still an important skill. My husband and I were trying to rely on our Maps app to find a new restaurant. We listened to the automated voice, followed her directions perfectly, and ended up in a townhouse parking lot. If we’d just looked at a map we’d have driven right to the front door. Sometime old technology works better.

2. My son loves non-fiction more than fiction. He’s started checking out plant books from the library so he can create his own version of Plants vs. Zombies. Some of these books have probably never been checked out by kids before.

3. My students love graphic novels. I need to get some more, but I don’t have a cheap place to buy them.


Quiet Sunday Reading

The Riders of the Purple Sage and a diet Coke

The Riders of the Purple Sage and a diet Coke

“Lassiter, will you be my rider?”
“I reckon so.”

Oh the chills! Oh the emotion! Today I’m enjoying a classic from my younger years. I read Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey in middle school. I loved westerns and all historical fiction back then and I had no idea when I picked up this book in the new books bin at my school library that I would find more than just a cowboy story. This is the fourth time I’ve re-read this and I learn something new every time.

– The term “cowboy” is never used. This is something I just noticed during this re-read.
– A major plot point centers around a religious group. I didn’t even remember this from the first time I read it! This is a lesson to remember. Children pick up what they need to from books, but not everything they don’t.
– I remember having a crush on Lassiter, the gun-weilding, black-leather-wearing, ex-Texas Ranger. Now I want to be Jane Withersteen. She’s the smart, independent business woman who doesn’t back down from hard truths.
– Mr. Grey had a poetic turn of phrase in his writing. The descriptions of the red arches of Utah, the canyons, and the sage wasteland are divine.

What’s on tap for your Sunday reading?

Literacy Intervention at the Wal-mart

Walmart is my favorite place to stumble upon accidental literacy. It’s like I can’t help but advocate for reading and writing just by walking through the huge double doors. It’s the magic kingdom of literacy awareness.

The location of my most recent accidental literacy intervention.

The location of my most recent accidental literacy intervention.

So Saturday I ran into my favorite Wal-mart to get the usual (coffee, yogurt, socks, posterboard if you must know) and my accidental literacy moment happened in the checkout lane.

Full disclosure, I love Wal-mart.

However, I hate the check-out lane.

I always pick the wrong one. Always! At least I have lots of time to scan the trashy magazines and talk myself out of buying band-aids and candy bars.

Eventually I got up to the checker and she was a nice girl who looked to be about aged 12. She and I got to chatting and you could have knocked me over with a bag of Sunchips when she mentioned she had a 2 1/2 year old son!

She mentioned that he’s really smart for his age. With that comment I pounced with all the force of a literacy evangelist.

“I’m sure he’s super smart! Do you read to him?” I asked.

“Yeah.” Young checker girl replied.

“Reading to your child is so important! Especially when you have such a bright little guy like you do! Read to him every day! Do you read to him at night?” I smiled in what I hoped was an engaging and non-maniacal manner.

“Not every night. I work late some nights. He loves books though.”

“That’s okay, you don’t need to read only at night. You can read to him anytime. Bathtime! Breakfast time! In the doctor’s office! My son loved to bring books when we got the oil changed and had to wait. Don’t think you can only read at bedtime.”

“Hmmm. Really? I’ll have to try that.”

At this point the person behind me has nudged her cart into my back.

“Anytime is a good time to read. You have one lucky little boy!” I took my receipt, waved, and left.

I wish I’d paid attention to her name. I would have brought by some books that my son has outgrown and dropped them off.

Maybe I’ll still do that. I do go to Wal-mart often.

When have you seized the opportunity to talk about reading aloud?

Quiet Sunday Reading

There’s nothing like a cozy chair, a favorite beverage, and a good book is there? Sunday is my day to gather all three together and enjoy the comfort they give. This weekend I’m enjoying Reading in the Wild: The Book Whisperer’s Key to Cultivating Lifelong Reading Habitsreading-in-the-wild

Books and a cozy chair

Books and a cozy chair

by Donalyn Miller with Susan Kelley. I’m hoping to finish it before we head off to the library.

So far here are my impressions:

– If you don’t read, you’re in trouble!
– It’s a great companion to The Book Whisperer, a book I loved when it came out in 2009.
– I too struggle with how to get students to become “wild readers” (Ms. Millers term of those who reading independently outside the classroom).
– I’m still wondering what to say to those (parents) who complain that all we do is read in Language Arts class. Of course that’s not all we do! However, when I don’t send home worksheets for homework and instead assign reading, that’s the impression some get.
-I feel really confident with my “building a classroom library skills” so I skimmed that part.
-One tip: Add a weekly book recommendation to email signature. I can’t wait to do that and I’m also going to add one to the weekly newsletter I send out too!

Looking forward to finishing this engaging book from my comfy chair.

What are you reading on a quiet Sunday?