Which Book Began Your Love of Reading?

Probably a difficult question for most. If you’ve read my bio on here, then you know I mention one book in it. A book written by Avi several years ago. I read it in middle school. I think I may have mentioned it as the first book I remember reading, but I think it may better be classified as the first book I remember enjoying reading.

I don’t know what I read in elementary school besides R.L. Stine. I can tell you for certain that I wasn’t reading anything by Mrs. Rowling, though the first books would have been released during my elementary years.

So if I was put on the spot and asked this question I’d say books by R.L. Stine and Avi really got me into reading. Though I can’t hardly remember any of the books I read.

Can you name the book that sparked your interest in reading?

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Writing Pet Peeves #6: Apostrophes

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Every once in a long while I’ll have to think for an extra second about using an apostrophe correctly. It’s usually when I’ve already written the rest of the sentence so poorly that I almost confuse myself. But again, this is a rare thing.

I remember in kindergarten and first grade being taught how to read. And I remember in second grade being taught how to write cursive and book reports. Somewhere along the line the rules of apostrophes were drilled into my brain. And I’ve never had any issue with them since. Too bad everyone can’t have my experience.

Here are some of the things I see all the time.

Decades written like “1940’s”.

Days of the week written like “Sunday’s”.

Plurals written like “phone’s”.

And so many more. And it’s frustrating. Maybe the education system is to be blamed. Maybe these people didn’t pay attention in English class. Maybe English is the universal second language of the world and no one knows the rules for using apostrophes. Or maybe I’m just going to have to bang my head on my desk for the rest of my life because so many people use apostrophes incorrectly.


On this day in 2014 I published Never Ask a Reader About Their Favorite Book.

 

Books in School Classrooms

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Photo Credit: Apples for Your Eye

School is just now beginning for most of the country, and with the start of a new school year comes the start of many new careers in teaching. More than 500 new teachers are starting this year in my former school district and many of these new teachers face similar challenges. But one that I’ve happened to see article after article written about is the struggles that come with trying to have a small assortment of books within the classroom. I’m not talking textbooks or workbooks, I’m talking books.  Books for the students to read.

I am fully aware that there are new teachers starting out this year that don’t teach English or ELA at all who may not have as many books in their classrooms, but I can remember just about every elementary school teacher I had having some books in the classroom. And my future English teachers in middle and high school definitely did. But let’s be real, new teachers have limited resources to outfit their classrooms with the proper supplies needed for their students. Especially books. Teachers are now utilizing crowdfunding websites for this specific purpose. Most I’ve read about are attempting to raise $500-$900 for supplies for their classrooms. This is for ALL supplies, but think about how much it would cost just to buy maybe 30 books, which isn’t many.

There’s an organization in my area that provides new teachers with $100 for supplies, but we all know they need a bit more than that. This is where you likely expect me to tell you about a new teacher I know personally who could really use your help this new school year. I’m not going to ask you to give your money away, nor should you feel obligated to do so. But I will say that I think it’s great seeing so many new and longtime teachers going to such lengths to get books in the classroom, because a classroom without books seems inadequate. I would be surprised if you disagree.

Do Book Fairs Still Happen?

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Photo Credit

I know I’ve mentioned on here a few times how much I looked to forward to book fairs when I was younger. I mean, how could you not? It was like bringing a mini bookstore to your own school. But I left my elementary school back in 2003 for the more grown up version of public school known as junior high. The building had two gyms and a HUGE cafeteria and even a second floor. How bad could it be, right? But now I’m off topic.

One of the major differences between elementary and middle school was the time spent in the library. If I remember correctly, from third to fifth grade half of my school time was in ELA and the other half was in Math/Science/Social Studies. So it makes sense that we would frequent the library as a class quite often. But with middle school came lockers and tardies and SEVEN classes! So each teacher had a very limited amount of time with students, which left time for maybe one or two trips to the library each year with your class. And definitely no book fairs happening in middle school.

Now I’m wondering if they still happen at all. I think Scholastic used to run the ones at my school, and considering that they have the US publishing rights to HP and THG I don’t see how they would be struggling mightily as a publisher, but I really have no idea. All I can say is that book fairs were one of my favorite parts of elementary school. I believe we had two each year and I’d always make my parents spend money on books or posters or bookmarks or just ANYTHING I found interesting.

Two easy questions. How did you feel about book fairs when you were younger? And do you have any idea if they still happen?

Listen to Audiobooks?

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Photo Credit: What Red Read

Many make the claim that the discussion is only about print vs. ebooks. And I’d tend to agree with that assessment, but audiobooks should at least be mentioned, right?

My experience with audiobooks is quite minimal. My art teacher in elementary school would play audiobooks while we worked. Did I enjoy these? Yes. Did I become fully immersed in the story like I do with print or ebooks? No. At my school we had three different outclasses (I think that’s what they were called). Art, Music, and PE. Which meant we had one every three days. So if I had art on a Wednesday, then I wouldn’t have it again until Monday. Not exactly ideal for getting lost in a story.

With that being said, I can still name a few of the audiobooks she played for us. Let’s see. Several books by Lemony Snicket. Holes by Louis Sachar. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And I’m certain that if I sat down and really thought about it that I could come up with more. One of the reasons that I remember this particular class so well is that there were some audiobooks that EVERYONE in the class would always want to hear over and over. The students didn’t care how often they’d already listened to something, they thoroughly enjoyed them.

Now I can sit back and think of other times in my life in which I could have taken advantage of the convenience of audiobooks and I realize I had the perfect opportunity just a few short years ago. In the fall of 2010 during my first semester in college I made the very stupid decision to take a 4:00-5:15 class. Why did I do this? Because a high school friend just happened to be in the class and we thought it would be in the same class. Well Jessica, it wasn’t (don’t worry, she doesn’t read this). My university was located in downtown Houston. So the normally 20-35 minute drive became almost two hours during rush hour traffic. I was getting home just before 7:00 every Tuesday and Thursday. Why am I telling you this? Because imagine the number of audiobooks I could have listened to throughout that semester. I had more than two hours in the car two of my four class days a week. Eh. Wasn’t meant to be.

So now that you know about when I did listen to audiobooks and when I missed out on the opportunity, tell me about you? Do you listen to them everyday or maybe a few times a month or not at all like me?

Take me to the Library

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Photo Credit: Library of Congress

I may or may not have not told you guys about my experience with libraries. So let’s talk about it.

I’d hope you know by now that I love books. You have to know this. Well my elementary school was pretty old and its library was far from great. And there were only two computers. The fifth grade had its own mini computer lab and there were multiple computer labs in the school, but the library for some reason didn’t get in on the technology.

Suffice it to say that my very first library I spent some time in did not do anything for my love of books. And maybe I hadn’t even realized it yet.

My middle school library was something else. It was about four times the size of the elementary school library and had what I thought was a gazillion books. BUT as you all know, middle school is seven classes a day with very little time in between. I rarely had time to go to the library even though it was so nice.

My high school even added to what my middle school had in its library. More computers and more shelves of books than I could count. But I was a bad student in high school. My GPA and class rank were laughable. I never went to the library unless it was with my class.

BUT during my early high school years I found out that the county in which I live has a pretty sizeable library system. I got my library card and would do some really random Google searching to find my next book to check out almost weekly. Then I’d force my mom to drive me to the library so I could get my books.This lasted a couple of years because once I started working part-time I decided to desert the library for the bookstore.

My experience with libraries enabled and maintained my interest in reading. Sure I couldn’t always get the book I wanted because 100 other people wanted it before me, but that was okay. Because a few years of borrowing books has evolved into a few years of buying books and a love like no other. What’s your experience with libraries?

And if you look at my Bookish Bucket List you’ll see that visiting the Library of Congress is on there. I’m sure there are plenty of incredible libraries in the world, but we have one right here and I absolutely must see it. I’ll be like a little kid in a candy store.