Monday, November 28, 2011

Parents As Reading Partners. Two-part webinar in celebration of Jewish Book Month, presented by The Jewish Education Project.

Part 1: December 7, 12:30- 1:30pm (EST)

The Art of Conversational Reading : Help Your Child Get the most from the Books They Read."
Both Webinars highlight the role parents play in developing a love for reading to their children. Reading books aloud stimulates a child’s imagination and expands their understanding of the world. Conversations that flow from books enable parents and their children to explore new ideas and concepts while also developing a love for reading and memories that will last a lifetime. Reading aloud is a gift you can freely give your children from the day you bring them home from the hospital until the time they leave the nest.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Make your Thanksgiving a culinary and literary feast.

Is there a child who has never felt ignored by a grown-up?
The children’s books of Florence Parry Heide (2/1919-10/2011) made the world a better place. My Thanksgiving this year goes to her wonderful book, The Shrinking Of Treehorn, illustrated by Edward Gorey.  A delightful book and cautionary tale to parents who try to ignore their children, this story rings true for any child who has tried to convince adults of the existence of fairies, imaginary friends, or the Loch Ness Monster. And for every child who has experienced the uncertainties that rage through childhood experiences, do get your hands on, Some Things Are Scary(1969).
Happy Thanksgiving. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stories have the power to nurture us.

I.B. Singer (11.21.1902) who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978, understood the power of story to nurture a person’s mind and heart. He recognized how much we need stories in our lives.
“What’s life after all? The future isn’t here yet and you cannot foresee what it will bring. The present is only a moment and the past is one long story. Those who don’t tell stories and don’t hear stories live only for that moment and that isn’t enough.” His stories live on and reveal a rare combination of wisdom delivered through humor.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Curiosity drives learning.

“ UCSF scientist touts inquiry as key to learning”

Having to state the obvious spotlights the distressing state of education for too many children. The job of education should be to teach children how to ask good questions; questions that take them someplace in their thinking. The answers aren’t really important. What’s important is knowing the questions. Curiosity jump-starts learning. My favorite question to ask a child at the end of the day is: “What did you learn in school today that you are curious about?” There is no learning if there is no questioning. There is no learning without masking mistakes. We learn more from our mistakes than we do from our achievements. Questions and mistakes are the essence of learning. We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Boredom put to a very good use.

Lets celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth by remembering how important boredom was to Milo. Different than most kids today, Milo had plenty of time on his hands. The Phantom Tollbooth tells the story of a bored young boy named Milo who unexpectedly receives a magic tollbooth one afternoon, which transports him to a land called the Kingdom of Wisdom.

This is one of those books that I dare anyone—adult or child— not to love. Read the book and become Milo’s companion for a trip the likes you have never experienced. Some of the folks you will meet are Tock, the watchdog, the Humbug, King Araz, the Mathemagician, Princesses Rhyme and Reason, the Terrible Trivium and the Senses Taker.

I loved how Norton Juster wrote his masterpiece while trying to avoid writing a book on cities for children that was both exhausting and dispiriting him and not something he wanted to do.   Read more about Norton Juster’s accidental masterpiece.