Friday, March 11, 2011

Share a Story, Shape a Future 2011: Day 4

Day 4: Leisure Reading v. Homework - Hosted by Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn @ A Year of Reading

The theme of Day 4 focused on reflections from former teachers, current teachers, and parents about the impact homework can have on a child's feelings toward reading.  Suggestions and ideas were shared that can help children become life long readers.

Katie @ Creative Literacy discussed ideas for parents and teachers to foster a connection between home and school.  I love the way she uses technology to create conversations between parents and their children.

Carol @ Carol's Corner shared a story about reading homework that all teachers should read. I'll just leave it at that.

Karen @ Literate Lives shared how she tweeked reading homework in her classroom to achieve positive results. I admire her willingness to recognize that something wasn't working and found a way to make it work for the benefit of her students.

Once again reading all the posts from yesterday kept me busy all night.  So, I am a day late on the Day 4 Writing @ Reading activity. There were three questions proposed and I chose to answer the following:

How do you keep reading for fun in your daily routine for your school-aged kids?

I keep reading for fun in our daily routine for my school-age daughter by celebrating children's author birthdays.  Yes...a little blog promotion for day 4!  I have been writing the Happy Birthday Author blog for about a year and half.  But, I have been celebrating author birthdays since my days as a special education teacher.  I didn't come up with the idea of celebrating author birthdays (one of my author birthday calendars credits Barbara Swanson, librarian). I just became extremely passionate about it.

Each week I set out numerous books by the author, made a birthday bulletin board featuring photographs artwork, and information, and read aloud as many books as possible while incorporating them into my lessons.  Once my daughter started getting excited about reading, I pulled out my old files and started celebrating all over again.  Now all three of my kids join in the birthday celebrations.

This routine of reading has had many positive results for our family:

1. My children are exposed to a variety of books each week.
2. We explore books by authors that we may not have known about.
3. My children know authors by name and know the books that they like by that author.
4. We are reminded to revisit authors that we love when their birthday is near.
5. My children get excited to find out which author we are going to learn about next.
6. Studying authors has taught us about where ideas come from and how authors bring them to life in a book.
7. Birthdays are fun for children and we are celebrating all the time.
8. My daughter says, "I like doing the children's author birthdays because of the activities we do."
9. We already know some of the books we are going to check out before we get to the library.
10. Now we always have an excuse to eat birthday cake!

Celebrating author's birthdays as a routine for reading has a lot of flexibility. The celebrations can be big like doing a craft or videotaping a reenactment of a book or the celebrations can be small like reading a book around the author's birthday.  This routine works for our family and I write the blog to share my ideas in hopes that families and teachers see the benefits of celebrating children's authors to excite children about reading.

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