Sunday, April 30, 2017

What makes reading extraordinary?

I am always on the lookout for an insight into what makes fiction such an extraordinary medium —Frank Bruni recently wrote "Great fiction is the bridge to insufficiently understood lives, our compasses to inadequately learned truth.”

Sunday, April 23, 2017

A poem that celebrates the virtues of not arriving

Ithaca by Cavafy is named after the most famous destination in world literature. 

The poem speaks of a life’s journey’s whose virtue is not in arriving at a destination, but in the journey toward. It was Mark Twain who said, Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Some lines from Ithaca, in honor of April, the month of Poetry—best kept secret—a daily dose of poetry is a vitamin for the spirit. 

Hope your journey is long,
Full of adventure, full of awakening…
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when,
with what pleasure, what joy,
you enter harbors you’re seeing for the first time…
Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you’re destined for.
But don’t hurry the journey at all.
Better if it lasts for years…

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Interview with Diane in "The Standard", Hong Kong's biggest circulation English daily newspaper

BMAB is the leading advocate for family literacy in Hong Kong and I consider it an honor to be part of their work.  I began working in Hong Kong in 1997 and the changes I have seen are tremendous. These changes have not just happened. It takes the hard work of so many dedicated volunteers to change the literacy climate in a culture.The ripple effects continue with the efforts of Fumika Barretto who was inspired by Diane's workshop to set up her own 'Conversational Reading' class for her Japanese adult students to improve their English, donating all her proceed to BMAB library programs.
Here is Diane's interview from The Standard  "Smart parents highlights Diane Frankenstein's 3 steps for Conversational Reading 
Diane Frankenstein emphasizes three important points about reading aloud:
1) Read a book
How to motivate your kids to read? Reading aloud is like a game: parents are your child’s partner to play in this game. We should not use storytelling time at home for teaching vocabulary or grammar to kids which may have the adverse effect and turn them to become reluctant readers.
In fact, it is during these precious moments of reading time, parents are able communicate with their children for no purpose, other than to strengthen communication and family bonding. Leading kids to explore the joy in books also helps to create their appetite for reading.
2) Ask a question
How to ask questions during storytelling? What are the best way to respond to your child’s questions?
The questions are more important than the answers since questions express the child’s thoughts. As adults, we should ask specific questions (not abstract like “What is the meaning of the book?). Remember not to ask too many questions as this will interrupt the natural flow of the reading. Children only read for story.
3) Start a conversation
Parents should remember reading is a tool to build their children’s values through communication.
“Reading aloud is a skill, Conversational Reading is an art”, according to Diane. Developing communication during reading time with your child is critical. Be patient to nurture your kids.