Feet in Your Shoes

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You. – Dr. Seuss

Dr. SeussTheodor Seuss Geisel, the man behind the Cat in the Hat, was born 107 years ago today.

He is the beloved creator of countless whimsical literary characters. His books promote the fun aspect of literacy, education and morality as well!

He wrote The Cat in the Hat in response to an article which was published in Life magazine in 1954by John Hersey, titled “Why Do Students Bog Down on First R? A Local Committee Sheds Light on a National Problem: Reading.” The piece criticized school primers as intensely boring, unchallenging, and responsible for causing harm to children’s literacy. The article called for more primers to up the excitement by energizing the language and including drawings like those of “imaginative geniuses among children’s illustrators, Tenniel, Howard Pyle, Theodor S. Geisel.” Using the piece as a call to action, Geisel and his publisher came up with a list of 400 “exciting” words, which Seuss than narrowed down for the book. The Cat in the Hat uses a total vocabulary of 236 words.

Oceanhouse Media took Seuss titles and made them into rich, interactive apps-Books for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Each book has the option to read to your child or allow them to explore the book themselves. Turning pages is as easy as swiping the screen. The apps from Oceanhouse Media not only hit that ideal middle ground between book and interactive game, but are specifically geared toward word recognition and reading. The user can tap just about any item on the page to hear and see the word for that item.

Seussville (Random House) is also a great way to explore his books, characters and have some online fun at the same time.

Were you celebrating today? What is your favourite Seuss book?

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…  — Dr. Seuss

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On the Same Page

“A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.” — Henry Miller, The Books In My Life (1969)

Online book clubs are a place where book lovers can connect online to meet, chat and share news and views about books.

Book Club: Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

This month in the Literacy Forum we are reading Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda.  It was 9 months on the Canadian bestseller list.  Head to your local library, bookstore, or Costco and borrow/buy this book and join the discussion!

Eve’s Lit Picks is a virtual gathering of avid readers that discusses new topics and books.

You might think that reading groups are simply an arena for book worms to indulge in their favourite passion or for you to have enjoyable argument about your favourite story or characters with like-minded individuals…but book clubs actually offer more lifelong benefits than you realize:

  • Everyone knows that reading expands your horizons and book clubs help to do this at an even greater level, with the in-depth discussions and assimilation of different viewpoints all contributing to increasing your knowledge and appreciation of the world around you.
  • Joining a reading group can also help to extend your reading, as you’ll be tempted to try different types of books that you might not otherwise have chosen by yourself. Many people can become accustomed to the comfort of reading in a favorite genre and may not realize how much they might actually enjoy an altogether different type of book, until they are persuaded to try by other members of the reading group.
  • Despite not having a formalized classroom structure, reading groups are actually a fantastic place to promote learning. Discussing books helps to reinforce things in your mind and enable you to retain information better.
  • Book clubs enable you to appreciate otherwise “dry” topics within the context of an involving story – for example, reading books set in certain periods allow you to learn more about history, without the dread of boring facts and dates.
  • Book clubs can also be great ways to travel and appreciate other cultures – not only through the books themselves but also through any members with different backgrounds. And discussing these differences helps everyone to understand them by placing them within a larger context.
  • Participating in reading group discussions does wonders for your communication skills, teaching you to listen to different points of view and different ways of expression, as well as “discuss and disagree” without resorting to emotional arguments.
  • Book clubs are a great way to start practicing expressing your opinions to an audience or summarizing information and presenting it in a coherent and engaging way.
  • Book clubs can help you appreciate books that you had rejected in your childhood or within the confines of your school curriculum, as the imminent discussion motivates you to read with more purpose and attention.
  • For those with writing aspirations, book clubs can be a wonderful breeding ground for ideas as well as provide the motivation for you to pen your own literary masterpiece. Listening to other people’s assessment of a book and their discussion of likes and dislikes about plot, character and style, can help enormously in your quest to become a better, more successful writer.
  • If you are prone to depression, a reading group can keep you engaged with others.
  • Stimulating your brain cells may help to protect against or delay memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease, studies suggest.

Come read with us!

Are Electronic Readers a Revolution or a Fading Fad?

Electronic readers are replacing overstuffed backpacks and bookshelves full of musty books. They are eco-friendly, relatively inexpensive and currently very much in-demand. The battery lasts for weeks, and although they are the size of a slim paperback, they can host thousands of books.

Classrooms had remained unchanged for generations. Desks were arranged in neat rows facing a chalkboard at the front of the room, students took notes on paper, and read from printed textbooks.  Things started to change with the advent of whiteboards and projection equipment and, individual computers. The trend is continuing, and the next casualty of the technological revolution promises to be the printed textbook.

Steve Ballmer thinks that “there will be no media consumption left in 10 years that is not delivered over an IP network. Everything will get delivered in an electronic form.”

Clearwater high school in Clearwater, Florida has switched over to electronic textbooks for the 2010-2011 school year in an effort to increase student learning opportunities and save money and a few trees in the process.

In his blog, Dangerously Irrelevant, Scott McLeod provocatively commented that any educator who buys wall maps or globes should be fired.  Should this include textbooks? Will the classroom of the future be devoid of paper? Are textbooks an endangered species? Are electronic readers a revolution or a fading fad?