Family Literacy Day - January 27
In honour of Family Literacy Day here in Canada, we are publishing the 1908 edition of Anne of Green Gables. It is a powerful story about an orphan, who is mistakenly sent to the Cuthbert brother and sister, who were hoping for a boy to help out with the farm. Anne takes on the challenge admirably, and through her chatter and her wonder wins the hearts of her adopted family and community.
Over the last hundred years, this Canadian book has become an enduring classic for many cultures. The book was given to Polish soldiers in WWII, as a gesture of friendship and encouragement. A little later, Green Gables was preserved, becoming a popular historical site for many young girls to visit, especially the Japanese. More recently, a movie trilogy directed by Kevin O'Sullivan and Stefan Scaini was released, receiving an Emmy Award from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
We hope this book inspires you to read a chapter with your young friends. Perhaps at bed time, or during quiet time. For your younger listeners, you can even encourage them to draw pictures of Anne or her new home. Either way, you will be inviting them to imagine characters and settings, as they expand their vocabulary and wonder of faraway places.
For the artists in our midst, perhaps you would like to illustrate the story and upload it for publishing at Sharing-Books. We look forward to seeing your interpretation of this Canadian classic. These are just a few of the ways you too can participate, and we encourage you to join us in celebrating Family Literacy Day.
Labels: Anne of Green Gables, children's books, e-books, e-readers, Family Literacy Day, Lucy Maud Montgomery, orphan
The Land of Nod
October through February is often known as flu season. Exposed to a host of germs in classrooms around the world, posters in libraries and doctors' offices alert parents and caregivers to ensure their children wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough. Sometimes, those children who need to be tucked up in bed are back in school, still infected, because their parents have to rush back to work. Those, at home, find themselves covered in blankets, noses running and glands swollen, and feeling all crotchety. As a young boy, the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson often found himself ill at home, under the careful eye of Nurse Cunningham. Like your children, he watched the world outside his window go by.
Thankfully for us, Stevenson captured some wonderful insights into his world of Victorian England, and created such memorable poems as "The Land of Counterpane" and "Picture-Books in Winter." Published in our 1907 edition of A Child's Garden of Verses, it has been a popular read for many years. So today, give your tyke a crisp copy to read under the covers with a flashlight. He will keep warm, and before long he will be imagining himself as 'the captain of a tidy little ship', as he slumbers off to "The Land of Nod."
Labels: A Child's Garden of Verses, children's books, children's ebooks, flu season, picture books, Robert Louis Stevenson, The Land of Nod
The Importance of Reading - An Interview with Susan Cunningham, Early Childhood Educator
We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Susan Cunningham, a Registered Child Educator, and Childcare Supervisor of Sheridan College's Mississauga Civic Centre Day Care Centre. She is frequently interviewed by the Today’s Parent magazine, and in our time together, she shared these insights on how to engage children in the process of reading.
Why is reading important to children?
Reading is so important for brain development. In fact, children need to see and hear words before they can begin to read. Importantly, when a parent or grandparent reads to them as the child sits on their laps, studies have shown that children begin to build a template that fosters closeness. Eventually, when a child is ready, they will go from 3-4 words in their vocabulary to 2000 words in a very short period of time. You can see how key it is to respond to your child’s request to be read to. By developing reading skills, in turn they will also develop concentration skills.
It is difficult for new readers in the beginning, so don’t be surprised if after you read to them, they will want to ‘read’ it back to you. They may not be reading it quite yet but they will remember what they heard about the pictures. When a child wants to read the same book, it helps them to build patterns around words. So despite you as the parent or grandparent wanting to groan at another reading of the same book, rest assured that you are indeed helping your child’s development!
How do you encourage children in your centre to start reading?
At our Centre, we provide books in abundance. There are books on display everywhere, in baskets and facing outward on shelves so children can see the cover page. Children don’t get bored if a book is within easy reach. Reading is particularly good for calming children down, so we often read before nap time.
Ms. Cunningham highly emphasizes the importance of taking time to create a rich text and image environment. If your child lives in one, your child will read when they are ready. If the home is absent of them, their growth will be delayed, if not stunted.
When you set up their room, be sure to provide crayons and pencils. Perhaps write their name and your name. When you draw a cat, write the word ‘cat’ beside the image. Repeat the process again on the same page. Label things around the house, like the cookie jar, or the bath tub, a door or the shoe rack. Children will associate the images with the text. As children grow up, I recommend taking children to the library. Help them to select four or five books, because they do like quantity.
Another way we encourage children to read is to host a Literacy Day where just the fathers, uncles or grandfathers join us. It is crucial that children hear the male voice as well as the female voice, and in our society, men often don’t involve themselves in their child’s reading. This way, the act of reading and being read to builds bonds of closeness between our children and key male role models.
What qualities do you look for in a book when selecting one for your classroom?
When selecting a book, it is important to remember that reading for children is very age specific. For example, for those under two years of age, it is key that the images are of everyday life, and not impressionistic. Over time, they will develop an ability to understand different image styles.
Not all stories need to rhyme. Find stories about different family mixes, cultures and different celebrations. If your child is going through temper tantrums, find a book where they can see how a child of their age group handles one and then they know how to handle it.
As for other topics, their and your choices will depend on the child’s interest. If you have plans to take them swimming, find a book about children swimming in a pool or a lake. If your child is nuts about dancing or soccer, find them a book with children participating in those activities. The children will begin to approach life knowing that they can turn to a book when they want to learn something new.
How much do you spend on books for your children care centre per month?
Each month, I make a point of taking advantage of school discounts so that I spend about $30 per month. Titles include information books and picture books. That doesn’t include frequent trips to the library. If something grabs my attention, I buy it. When a book wears out, I don’t hesitate to buy it again.
One great feature about Sharing-Books is that you can download the same book as often as you like, and the titles are always available. In book stores, because of the limit in space, book titles come and go so quickly that I don’t know when I will see it again.
Labels: child development, children's books, e-books, e-library, early reading, ebooks, library
The outdoor season, at least in the Northern Hemisphere, is upon us. It can be a time for rejuvenation from school, work and the other countless responsibilities. Some of us will make pilgrimages to cottage country, while others will find peace on their patio.
However, if you are facing 24/7 parenting and a possible long trek to the wilderness, you may find yourself dreading the coming summer months. Here then is a tip to the wise: many a mother gained a few hours of tranquility as their children silently listened to a story coming from the car radio. These days, you can now download an audio version of The Railway Children for your child's iPod. They will be entranced for hours!
If your children have excess energy, why not download the new poem by Jennifer Poulter so they can sing and dance outdoors? Back decks are the perfect place for budding actors intent on creating an amateur theatre production. For your young artists, Dandi Palmer's beautiful illustration is an example of the many wonderful colouring pages available to download from the site.
We'd love to hear how Sharing Books has been part of your summer so drop us a line or two and fill us in. All of us at Sharing Books wish you a wonderful summer experience filled with lots of reading, and plenty of fun!
Labels: children's books, coloring page, colouring page, ebooks, kid's songs, Railway Children, summer fun
Cast Your Votes ...
Now that the final entries for the Simone Wood Children's eBook Contest have been received, we are pleased to announce that there are five works for our readers to choose from:
- Whop Bop Menagerie is a series of three short stories, inviting readers to join in the rhythm of JR Poulter's rhyme as they whop-bop-about.
- August RoDent is another rhyming story about a sculptor of abundant talent, who finds love in the arms of a witty and dancing fan.
- Timothy Schenk creates a story about the magic each aspiring ballerina experiences when they see their first pair of satin covered pointe shoes in My Pretty Pointe Shoes.
- No Matter is a delightful poem that depicts the magic of a free spirit as it bursts through civilized conventions.
- Zoo Dance offers young readers an insider's look at the funky and fresh moves of the animal kingdom.
Each story adds depth to Sharing Books and we look forward to awarding three prizes to those with the most downloads. Be sure to log on and vote for your favourites!
Just a word of caution: don't be surprised if you find you and your young readers grooving and bopping, or as Simone Wood used to say, jiggering and pokering, on your front yard, in the kitchen or in the water. Indeed, wherever the moment strikes. Check out what these dancers did at the Antwerp Belgium train station
. After all, dance is one of the most moving experiences you will ever have!
Labels: children's books, dance, ebooks, Simone Wood
Mom! Dad! I love it when you read to me.
It is not really a surprise to all of us who are parents, but it is comforting to see that research confirms that children continue to love being read to. We will see a gradual change from paper to e-books but the art of storytelling and reading by a parent will remain a child's favourite activity.
Dr Richard Woolfson conducted a study commissioned by the Disney/Pixar World of Cars. You cane read the Reuters report on Dr Woolfson's study on The National Post site.
Labels: children's books, parenting, reading
First Sharing-Book published by Bookshare.org
As announced last week, Bookshare.org, the largest online library for visually impaired readers will publish selected books from the Sharing-Books collection. We are please to report that the first Sharing-book published on Bookshare is The Little Suitcase by Andrea Azevedo.
This is the book that got the idea of Sharing-Books started, so it is very appropriate that it should be the first one selected and published by Bookshare. You can refer your friends interested in this special version of The Little Suitcase at http://www.bookshare.org/browse/book/78534.
Labels: Bookshare.org, children's books, Print Challenged, Visually Impaired Children
UNESCO'S World Book & Copyright Day
Today at Sharing-Books, we are celebrating UNESCO's World Book and Copyright Day! April 23rd was selected as a date shared by several authors such as William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes. On April 23 2009, we will join thousands around the world to pay respect to book creators and their achievements. As many of our book creators already know, Sharing-Books shares one third of its revenue with its book creators - a generous offer in the world of children's book publishing. Plus when you create, you also contribute to a growing library of online books available for free to our world's children. We publish stories in French as well as English, and are sourcing Japanese titles. All our classics are copyright-free as well, continuing to be on the forefront of the digital publishing industry. Come join us and register online - for free!
Labels: children's books, children's illustrators, children's writers, digital publishing industry, ebooks, UNESCO