Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Boy Who Couldn’t Afford Books Asks Mailman For Junk Mail To Read; Mailman Responds Spectacularly

Because he couldn't buy books or a bus pass to the library, he'd been reading ads.

Twelve-year-old Mathew Flores is a bit different from the rest of us. He loves junk mail. Until recently, advertisements were the only reading materials available to the boy. Flores loves reading so much that he approached his mailman in a Salt Lake City suburb on Friday to ask if he could have any junk mail.

The strange question prompted the mailman, Ron Lynch, to ask why. Lynch detailed Flores' response in a heartbreaking Facebook post afterward.

"Today while delivering mail to his apartment complex, I saw him reading ads, and then he asked me if I had any extra mail he could read," Lynch wrote. "He told me his wish is to have books to read. I told him the library had many, but he said they don't have a car, and couldn't afford the bus."

Lynch then asked his Facebook friends if they could spare some books for Flores:

"Most kids his age want electronics! It's great to see his desire, and you should have seen him beam when I said I could help!"

"He's counting on me," he concluded, "so I'm counting on you!"

Lynch thought the Facebook post might bring in 50 to 6o books, he told local news outlet KSL. But his request went viral.

People from around the world, including the U.K., Australia and India, have sent books, Lynch said. He told The Huffington Post hundreds of books have been delivered to the boy's door so far, with hundreds more likely on their way, and he's amazed at the generosity.

"I'm stunned and humbled by what happened," said Lynch. "I deserve little credit."
He has a message for everyone who has sent in a book or contributed:
"Its [sic] all of you who cared enough to do something about it that are the true heroes of this story. Bless you all, and thank you all so much!"

When books first started arriving, Flores was in disbelief. "They said, 'These books are for you,'" Flores told Salt Lake City's Deseret News on Sunday. "I thought they were mistaken, but they were for me." He said he can't wait to share the books with other kids, and has promised to read every last one.

MORE ON: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/boy-asks-mailman-junk-mail-books-read_55b6b002e4b0224d88338ba4

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Raising Healthy Readers: How to Get Kids Hooked on Books

Want to help your kids become readers? When they’re little, give them board books and read aloud to them. When they’re bigger, get them library cards, and leave books in every room. If your kid becomes an enthusiastic reader, start a parent-child book club, and seek out author events at community bookstores. Even if your kids aren’t natural bookworms, let them see you reading newspapers, magazines, and books. Give books as gifts too, whether to newborn babies, college grads, or friends turning fifty. If children see that you value books, sooner or later, they may just acquire a taste for reading that will serve them well all their lives.

  • read with your children
  • get them a library card
  • leave books and magazines around
  • keep a reading record or journal or start a book club
  • set designated reading times and let kids see you read

  • criticize their reading choices
  • tell them a book is just for girls or just for boys
  • make it too easy for kids to play games instead of reading
  • make a child feel bad about not being a bookworm


Do read with your children

It’s never too early to read to your kids. Did your mom or dad read to you? If so, it’s probably a sweet memory. Reading to babies and kids gives you a time of closeness and helps kids build vocabulary from the start. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud to your infant. Give your baby board books, not just rattles or stuffed animals. Snuggle up with your infant or toddler and enjoy reading together.

Do get them a library card

You know the expression “like a kid in a candy store”? Libraries are even better for growing minds and bodies, and a child with a library card feels empowered. How often do kids get to choose what they want to read and exercise free rein? Next time you have an extra hour while you’re waiting for a sibling to finish tutoring or swim practice, spend it in the library. It’s a cozy, happy, place and a good habit to instill. (Bookstores are great too!)

Do leave books and magazines around

Many parents lament that their school-age kids don’t read for pleasure. The solution may be simply to leave the right “bait” around. Even kids who think they don’t like to read will succumb to a strategically-placed Snoopy, Spiderman, Sports Illustrated, or Seventeen on the kitchen counter or in the bedroom or bathroom. Girl magazines are like catnip for preteens. If you ask your teen daughter if she’d like a copy of Girltalk or a subscription to GL or Seventeen or Teen Vogue, she may say no. But if you leave a copy at her bedside, she’ll jump in. Make it easy for kids to dive into reading.

Do keep a reading record or journal or start a book club

Some kids get motivated if you write down the names of the book they read or put gold stars on calendars. Other families find that starting a book club can make a big difference. Get a book club going with each of your children when they are old enough to read longer books. Pick a book that is a good fit for both you and your child based on age and interest. Going for a classic can never hurt, like Charlotte’s Web or The Giver. Avoid heavy reads or school books. The goal is to bond over books.

Do set designated reading times and let kids see you read

Why not establish a family reading time during which everyone reads for thirty minutes? After dinner? Before bed? Sunday before brunch? Turn off the electronics please. When kids see parents curled up with books (or even newspapers), they know their parents value reading.


Do not criticize their reading choices

Rather than tell a child that a book is too easy for him, just let him enjoy reading. There’s nothing wrong with getting lost in comic books, graphic novels, sports biographies, etc. and a boy who learns to enjoy reading will be an adult who cares about books. And when a book seems too hard or too advanced or adult? Okay, in this case, say, “I bet you’ll like that even more when you are older” and steer them to more age-appropriate fare.

Do not tell them a book is just for girls or just for boys

No one tells girls that Harry Potter is for boys only, and you shouldn’t tell a boy that a book is just for girls. In fact, when a boy reads a book about girls, even a diary, this can help him learn more about the wider world. Girls and boys can learn a lot from whatever books interest them, and when there are strong male or strong female characters, so much the better. Look too for books with diversity and multicultural settings and characters. Reading is learning.

Do not make it too easy for kids to play games instead of reading

If you automatically hand a child a phone when he or she acts bored or fussy, the child will quickly get used to playing games. If, however, you hand little children books rather than devices, they’ll read instead of play. Some families keep devices on high shelves to help kids resist temptation. Strive to make it easy for kids to develop the habit of reading and harder for them to get into mindless games.

Do not make a child feel bad about not being a bookworm

If your child is not a natural born reader, that’s still OK. Some kids have other strengths and passions. Keep encouraging reading and keep tempting reading material handy. Is your child reading a book in English that interests you? Great. Ask about it in a friendly casual way. In general, your goal is to help your kids feel good about who they are and to help them become their best selves.


Some kids are born bookworms. Some need a little encouragement. If you read to your child and have family reading times and leave enticing books around, your reluctant reader may just come around. Anna Karenina, anyone?

REFERENCE: https://expertbeacon.com/raising-healthy-readers-how-get-kids-hooked-books#.VlUXpXYrLcd

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

17 Books Bill Gates Thinks Everyone Should Read

While Bill Gates has a schedule that's planned down to the minute, the entrepreneur-turned-billionaire-humanitarian still gobbles up about a book a week.

Aside from a handful of novels, they're mostly nonfiction books covering his and his foundation's broad range of interests. A lot of them are about transforming systems: how nations can intelligently develop, how to lead an organization, and how social change can fruitfully happen.

We went through the past five years of his book criticism to find the ones that he gave glowing reviews and that changed his perspective.

'Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012' by Carol Loomis

Warren Buffett and Gates have a famously epic bromance, what with their recommending books to
each other and spearheading philanthropic campaigns together.

So it's no surprise that Gates enjoyed "Tap Dancing to Work," a collection of articles and essays about and by Buffett, compiled by Fortune magazine journalist Carol Loomis.

Gates says that anyone who reads the book cover-to-cover will walk away with two main impressions:

First, how Warren's been incredibly consistent in applying his vision and investment principles over the duration of his career;

[S]econdly, that his analysis and understanding of business and markets remains unparalleled. I wrote in 1996 that I'd never met anyone who thought about business in such a clear way. That is certainly still the case.

Getting into the mind of Buffett is "an extremely worthwhile use of time," Gates concludes.

'Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization' by Vaclav Smil

Gates says his favorite author is Vaclav Smil, an environmental-sciences professor who writes big
 histories of things like energy and innovation.

His latest is "Making the Modern World." It got Gates thinking.

"It might seem mundane, but the issue of materials — how much we use and how much we need — is key to helping the world’s poorest people improve their lives," he writes. "Think of the amazing increase in quality of life that we saw in the United States and other rich countries in the past 100 years. We want most of that miracle to take place for all of humanity over the next 50 years."

To know where we're going, Gates says, we need to know where we've been — and Smil is one of his favorite sources for learning that.

'The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History' by Elizabeth Kolbert

It can be easy to forget that our present day is a part of world history. Gates says that New Yorker
writer Elizabeth Kolbert's new book "The Sixth Extinction" helps correct that.

"Humans are putting down massive amounts of pavement, moving species around the planet, over-fishing and acidifying the oceans, changing the chemical composition of rivers, and more," Gates writes, echoing a concern that he voices in many of his reviews.

"Natural scientists posit that there have been five extinction events in the Earth's history (think of the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs)," he continues, "and Kolbert makes a compelling case that human activity is leading to the sixth."

To get a hint of Kolbert's reporting, check out the series of stories that preceded the book's publication.

'Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises' by Tim Geithner

Gates stood at the center of an enormously complex system as CEO of Microsoft. Timothy Geithner
did much the same as US Treasury secretary — and saw the structure fall down around him during the financial crisis.

"Geithner paints a compelling human portrait of what it was like to be fighting a global financial meltdown while at the same time fighting critics inside and outside the Administration as well as his own severe guilt over his near-total absence from his family," Gates says. "The politics of fighting financial crises will always be ugly. But it helps if the public knows a little more about the subject."

"Stress Test" provides that knowledge.

'The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined' by Steven Pinker

In "Better Angels," Harvard cognitive scientist Steven Pinker branches out into the history of the
most contentious of subjects: violence.

Gates says it's one of the most important books he's ever read.

"Pinker presents a tremendous amount of evidence that humans have gradually become much less violent and much more humane," he says, in a trend that started thousands of years ago and continued until this day.

This isn't just ivory-tower theory. Gates says the book has affected his humanitarian work.

"As I'm someone who's fairly optimistic in general," he says, "the book struck a chord with me and got me to thinking about some of our foundation's strategies."

'The Man Who Fed the World' by Leon Hesser

Even though Gates can get a meeting with almost anyone, he can't land a sit-down with Norman
Borlaug, the late biologist and humanitarian who led the "Green Revolution" — a series of innovations that kept a huge chunk of humanity from starving.

"Although a lot of people have never heard of Borlaug, he probably saved more lives than anyone else in history," Gates says. "It's estimated that his new seed varieties saved a billion people from starvation," many of whom were in India and Pakistan.

Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Congressional Gold Medal for his efforts — and is one of only seven people to receive that honor.

For Gates, Borlaug is a model in getting important work done in the world.

"Borlaug was one-of-a-kind," he says, "equally skilled in the laboratory, mentoring young scientists, and cajoling reluctant bureaucrats and government officials."

Hesser's "The Man Who Fed the World" lets you peer into the personality that saved a billion lives.

'Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street' by John Brooks

Back in 1991, Gates asked Buffett what his favorite book was.

To reply, Buffett sent the Microsoft founder his personal copy of "Business Adventures," a collection of New Yorker stories by John Brooks.

Though the anecdotes are from half a century ago, the book remains Gates' favorite.

Gates says that the book serves as a reminder that the principles for building a winning business stay constant. He writes:

For one thing, there's an essential human factor in every business endeavor. It doesn't matter if you have a perfect product, production plan and marketing pitch; you'll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans.

Learning of the affections that Gates and Buffett have for this title, the business press has fallen similarly in love with the book. Slate quipped that "Business Adventures" is "catnip for billionaires."

'The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism' by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Like us, Gates is fascinated by the way Theodore Roosevelt was able to affect his society: busting
trusts, setting up a park system, and the like.

For this reason, Gates appreciates how Goodwin's biography uses the presidency as a lens for understanding the shift of society.

"How does social change happen?" Gates asks in his review. "Can it be driven by a single inspirational leader, or do other factors have to lay the groundwork first?"

He says that TR shows how many stakeholders need to be involved.

"Although he tried to push through a number of political reforms earlier in his career," Gates says, "[Roosevelt] wasn't really successful until journalists at 'McClure's' and other publications had rallied public support for change."

'The Rosie Project: A Novel' by Graeme Simsion

Gates doesn't review a lot of fiction, but "The Rosie Project," which came on the recommendation of
his wife, Melinda, is an oddly perfect fit.

"Anyone who occasionally gets overly logical will identify with the hero, a genetics professor with Asperger’s Syndrome who goes looking for a wife," he writes. "(Melinda thought I would appreciate the parts where he’s a little too obsessed with optimizing his schedule. She was right.)"

The book is funny, clever, and moving, Gates says, to the point that he read it in one sitting.

‘On Immunity’ by Eula Biss

Even though the science all says that vaccines are among the most important inventions in human
history, there's still a debate about whether they're a good idea.

In "On Immunity," essayist Eula Biss pulls apart that argument.

She "uses the tools of literary analysis, philosophy, and science to examine the speedy, inaccurate rumors about childhood vaccines that have proliferated among well-meaning American parents," Gates writes. "Biss took up this topic not for academic reasons but because of her new role as a mom."

‘How Asia Works’ by Joe Studwell

Joe Studwell is a business journalist whose central mission is understanding "development."

The Financial Times said that "How Asia Works" is "the first book to offer an Asia-wide deconstruction of success and failure in economic development."

Gates says that the book's thesis goes like this:

All the countries that become development success stories (1) create conditions for small farmers to thrive, (2) use the proceeds from agricultural surpluses to build a manufacturing base that is tooled from the start to produce exports, and (3) nurture both these sectors with financial institutions closely controlled by the government.

‘How to Lie with Statistics’ by Darrell Huff

Published in 1954, "How to Lie with Statistics" is an introduction to statistics — and a primer on how they can be manipulated.

It's "more relevant than ever," Gates says.

"One chapter shows you how visuals can be used to exaggerate trends and give distorted comparisons," he says. "It's a timely reminder, given how often infographics show up in your Facebook and Twitter feeds these days."

‘Epic Measures’ by Jeremy Smith

Reading this biography was especially meaningful for Gates because he's known its subject, a doctor named Chris Murray, for more than a decade.

According to Gates, the book is a "highly readable account for anyone who wants to know more about Chris's work and why it matters."

That work involves creating the Global Burden of Disease, a public website that gathers data on the causes of human illness and death from researchers around the world. The idea is that we can't begin finding cures for health issues if we don't even know what those issues are.

Writes Gates: "As Epic Measures shows, the more we make sure reliable information gets out there, the better decisions we all can make, and the more impact we all can have."

‘Stuff Matters’ by Mark Miodownik

If you're like most people, you use steel razors, glass cups, and paper notepads every day without thinking much about the materials they're made of.

In "Stuff Matters," Miodownik, a materials scientist, aims to show you why the science behind those materials is so fascinating.

That premise might sound similar to "Making the Modern World," a book by Gates' favorite author Smil, which Gates has also recommended. But Gates says the two works are "completely different." While Smil is a "facts-and-numbers guy," Miodownik is "heavy on romance and very light on numbers," potentially making "Stuff Matters" an easier read.

Gates claims his favorite chapter is the one on carbon, "which offers insights into one atom's massive past, present, and future role in human life."

‘Hyperbole and a Half’ by Allie Brosh

It might be hard to imagine Gates curled up with a book of comic drawings. But "Hyperbole and a Half," based on the blog by the same name, is more moving and profound than it is silly.

The stories and drawings in the book are based on scenes from Brosh's life, as well as her imagined misadventures.

"It's funny and smart as hell," Gates writes, adding that "Brosh's stories feel incredibly — and sometimes brutally — real."

Gates was especially moved by the parts of the book that touch on Brosh's struggles with severe depression, including a series of images about her attempts to leave an appropriate suicide note.

It's a rare book that can simultaneously make you laugh, cry, and think existential thoughts — but this one seems to do it.

‘What If?’ by Randall Munroe

Another book based on a blog, "What If?" is a collection of cartoon-illustrated answers to hypothetical scientific questions.

Those questions range from the dystopian ("What if I took a swim in a typical spent nuclear fuel pool?") to the philosophical ("What if everyone actually had only one soul mate, a random person somewhere in the world?") Each question was posed by a different reader, and Munroe, a former roboticist for NASA, goes to the greatest lengths to answer it accurately through research and interviews.

Gates writes:
The reason Munroe's approach is a great way to learn about science is that he takes ideas that everybody understands in a general way and then explores what happens when you take those ideas to their limits. For example, we all know pretty much what gravity is. But what if Earth's gravity were twice as strong as it is? What if it were three times as strong, or a hundred? Looking at the question in that way makes you start to think about gravity a little differently.

For anyone who's ever wished there were someone to indulge and investigate their secret scientific fantasies, this book comes in handy.

‘Should We Eat Meat?’ by Vaclav Smil

Gates isn’t shy about proclaiming Smil, a professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba, his favorite author. In fact, he's recommended several of Smil's books before.

As usual, Gates writes, Smil attacks the issue of whether humans should consume meat from every possible angle. First he tries to define meat, then he looks at its role in human evolution, as well as how much meat each country consumes, the health and environmental risks, and the ethicality of raising animals for slaughter.

Gates, who was a vegetarian for a year during his 20s, is especially impressed by how Smil uses science to debunk common misconceptions, like the idea that raising meat for food involves a tremendous amount of water.

In fact, Gates writes:
Smil shows you how the picture is more complicated. It turns out that not all water is created equal. Nearly 90 percent of the water needed for livestock production is what's called green water, used to grow grass and such. In most places, all but a tiny fraction of green water comes from rain, and because most green water eventually evaporates back into the atmosphere, it's not really consumed.

Overall, the book left Gates feeling that eventually, "the world can meet its need for meat."

REFERENCE: http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-gates-favorite-books-2015-10

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Picture Books that Model Perseverance

It’s Picture Book Month and I have picture books on my mind. I am beginning to think in lists. Often. It may be a syndrome. Picturebooklistitis? Something like that.

On Friday, I had some parent meetings in the a.m. It was lovely to talk about students who have demonstrated improvement in goal areas due to persistence, determination and creative approaches to problems. Heading home, after school, I started thinking about picture books on this theme of persistence.

What exactly was I thinking about? All of the synonyms for perseverance: persistence, tenacity, determination . . . But also being able to solve problems with creativity or a different/unique approach. A lot of it has to do with being able to focus but also being able to think outside of the box. Sometimes it is just about, simple but tough, hard work and diligence.

I think all of these picture books highlight a particular aspect of this theme and in their own way, model perseverance.

Twenty favourite titles:

These ten beauties:

And ten more:

Twenty picture book titles that model perseverance:

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Rosie Revere, Engineer written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov

If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Rosyln Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth by Marie-Louise Gay

Ice by Arthur Geisert

Flight School by Lita Judge

A House in the Woods by Inga Moore

The Mighty Lalouche written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds 

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires 

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead

Oscar and Hoo written by Theo and illustrated by Michael Dudok De Wit

Queen of the Falls by Chris VanAllsburg 

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Ten Birds by Cybèle Young

In case you’ve missed them, I have been making more lists:

Picture Books that celebrate courage

Picture Books to make you giggle

Happy Picture Book Month!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Best of the Best Business Books for the Ages

Best of the Best Business Books for the Ages

By Dan Coughlin

In my lifetime I’ve read over 500 books. Recently I put together a list of 110 recommended books that I called “Business Books for the Ages.” You can see this list, which represents 20 percent of all the books I’ve read, on my Web site.

I then decided to narrow that to the ten books that I felt were the most important business books for readers to dig into. Now that was an even more challenging assignment. It represented less than two percent of all the books I’ve read. I decided to choose ten topics (okay, actually fourteen), select one book for each topic and then provide a brief explanation as to why I selected it. Here goes

The Ten (okay, fourteen) Most Important Business Books for the Ages

Less is More by Jason Jennings. Jason is the master at finding companies that are truly productive, narrowing his list to the absolute best of the best and then immersing himself into researching what makes those companies truly extraordinary in the area of productivity. I think you will find this book to be of tremendous practical value.

Walt Disney by Neal Gabler. Since I believe that perseverance is of utmost importance in creating a great business and a great career, I found this book to be amazing. Disney’s creative mind was a big part of his success, but a bigger part was his absolute willingness to persevere no matter what obstacles he faced. Stubborn, yes; legendary performance, double yes.

Overcoming Obstacles
Personal History by Katherine Graham. Greatness is also derived through overcoming massive obstacles. When she was 46, Katherine Graham’s husband, Phil, committed suicide. Suddenly she was the publisher of theWashington Post with exactly zero experience in any aspect of publishing a newspaper. Through exceptional courage and tenacity she vaulted the paper onto the national stage and became one of the most powerful women in the world.

Born Standing Up by Steve Martin. This is the extraordinary story of the eighteen years that Steve Martin invested to go from being a comic newbie to the most popular stand-up comic in history. My favorite quote in the book is from E.E. Cummings who wrote, “I am abnormally fond of that precision which creates movement.” It is this pursuit of precision that generates extraordinary business results in every industry.

Positioning by Al Ries and Jack Trout. The brilliance of this book is in its simplicity. Ries and Trout explain that every buyer carries categories around in his or her head, and that for every category there is always a ranking of the products or services within that buyer’s head. The key is to have the first or second position in the minds of buyers for the category you want to be known for.

Inside Steve’s Brain by Leander Kahney. This is a remarkably useful insight into the management approach of Steve Jobs, who guided Apple to fundamentally change three industries: computers, music and cell phones. I found it to be extremely helpful in multiple areas.

The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan. Greenspan does a spectacular job of explaining the impact of emotions, particularly exuberance and fear, on the economy and financial decisions. From this book, I learned the psychology of results and the importance of staying logical with results and not getting emotional.

The Snowball by Alice Schroeder. Extraordinary in its detail, this book provides the reader with a deep understanding of Buffett’s approach to investing, which he cultivated over a period of more than sixty years. It’s quite long, but it moves very fast and you will walk away with powerful and practical insights on what types of organizations to invest your time and money into.

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. Goodwin is a gifted writer, and this is her greatest book. It is a magnificent example of how completely different types of members can make for an exceptionally powerful team. One of Abraham Lincoln’s greatest contributions to America was his willingness to assemble the best team he could and constantly work to make it better.

Getting Started in Consultingby Alan Weiss. In times of great economic change, many successful executives decide to start their own consulting practices. They find purpose in leveraging their knowledge and experience in ways that can help other people achieve their desired business outcomes. Alan Weiss is the world-wide guru on how to make this happen, and this is his finest book, which should be renamed, What to Do From the Day You Start Your Consulting Business to the Day You Retire.

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Not only is Friedman a compelling writer, but his travels and ongoing diary make the concept of globalization real and accessible. This book is a masterpiece in explaining how interconnected the world of products, services and producers really are.

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. This is Drucker’s shortest and finest book. Chapters two and four are particularly useful in explaining how leveraging strengths and optimizing priority management can generate extraordinary results.

Only the Paranoid Survive by Andy Grove. Perhaps Grove’s greatest contribution to business was his explanation of strategic inflection points and how they provide extraordinary opportunities for strategic growth. Times of great systemic change, like the era we’re living in now, provide great opportunities to step back and find better approaches to the marketplace.

The Greatest Miracle in the World by Og Mandino. This is the shortest book on my list, but it was critically helpful to me during two key transitions in my career.

I hope you find this list to be of as much value for you as it was for me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Instilling Perseverance In Children

Perseverance means having the self-discipline to continue a task in spite of being confronted with difficulties. As Albert Einstein once said, "It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."

The following classroom activities can be used to promote perseverance in students:

Thinking about perseverance.
Lead a discussion about what perseverance means and does not mean. For example, it means to keep working until the assignment is complete, instead of trying only a few times and quitting. With students' help, list the steps needed to learn a new skill such as riding a bicycle, learning to swim, or memorizing the multiplication table.

Abraham Lincoln and Perseverance
Abraham Lincoln once said, "People are about as happy as they make their minds up to be." Share that quote with students. Also share that Mr. Lincoln experienced many successes in his life, but he also failed in business in 1831, was defeated in his bid for a seat in the legislature in 1832, lost his bid for congress in 1843, lost his run for the Senate in 1855, and was defeated for Vice President in 1856. Yet, in 1860, Mr. Lincoln was elected President of the United States. List and discuss the qualities he must have had. For example: positive attitude, tenacity, diligence, courage, boldness, self-discipline, and determination.

Others Who Showed Perseverance
Have each student write a report on a person of their choosing who demonstrated perseverance. Some examples include: Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Thomas Edison, Harriet Tubman, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Mother Teresa, Madame (Marie) Curie, Ray Charles, Rosa Parks, Lance Armstrong, or Christopher Reeve. Have them answer the following questions in their reports:

  • How did he or she show perseverance?
  • In what ways are you like the person in your report?
  • In what ways are you different from that person?
  • What did you learn about yourself from writing the report?

Stories of Perseverance
Read aloud (and perhaps invite students to act out) stories of perseverance. For example, you might share The Tortoise and the Hare, The Little Engine That Could, or any other story that has perseverance as a theme. Arrange children into groups and challenge them to write a simple poem, a song, or a short story that exemplifies perseverance. Have them perform their works for each other or for children in lower grades.

Perseverance in the News
Have students locate newspaper or magazine articles concerning a person who demonstrated perseverance after experiencing failure. Ask them to report what they learned.

Feelings of Perseverance
Have students write or draw a picture illustrating a time when they persevered and succeeded even though they felt like giving up. Then discuss the feelings associated with their achievement, for example: pride, happiness, self-confidence, and self-esteem.

Perseverance Role Plays
Invite students to role play -- or to use puppets to role play -- situations where individuals demonstrate perseverance. Examples: a child who stutters and keeps trying to speak fluently, a child who has learning problems yet puts forth much effort to learn, a student in a wheelchair who tries to do new things.

Persevering In Spit of Obstacles
Lead a discussion on how negative comments from others can influence a student's attitude toward learning. Discuss what children can do to prevent these remarks from hindering their efforts. Talk about ways one can be successful in spite of them. (For more ideas, see Encouraging Thoughts.)

Perseverance Role Models
Invite a respected community member who overcame obstacles to speak to your students about his or her life. Ask the individual to discuss the principles that led to his accomplishments. After the visit, have children compose and send a thank you card or letter.

Easy vs. Difficult
Ask students to create lists of things that are difficult for them to do and easy for them to do. Then discuss the fact that every child has strengths and weaknesses; if children keep trying to do things on their difficult lists, they will most likely be successful.

Planning to Persevere
Brainstorm and list obstacles, habits, and attitudes that prevent people from accomplishing their goals. Then have the children write down or draw a picture of what they want to be or do when they grow up. Arrange students into pairs and have them share their ideas. As a group list, generate a list of "general steps" needed to fulfill their dreams.

Life Stories
Have students create a list of questions that they would like to ask an older relative or family friend. For example:

  • What was the most important thing that you learned from your mother or father?
  • What values are most important in your life today?
  • What are you most proud of doing?
  • Tell about a mistake you made. What did you learn from that mistake?
  • Describe a time when you kept trying even though you felt like giving up.

After completing the interview, have the children write a report on what they learned.
Since perseverance is a necessary ingredient for student achievement, it needs to be encouraged. Helping children learn to be patient and to persist in spite of failure are attributes that will contribute to their future success.

See more at: http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/columnists/davies/davies006.shtml#sthash.4m6H01uD.dpuf

Monday, October 12, 2015

Elementary Teachers Share Their Favorite Children’s Books

I’ve asked some elementary teachers from Kindergarten all the way through 5th grade to share their favorite children’s books of all-time.   Keep reading to see what teachers chose as the best children’s books!

These teachers have been reading children’s books almost daily for years, so I know it was hard for them to narrow down their list of favorites. Keep on reading to see which books made the cut as their favorite children’s books! 

Cheri~ Kindergarten

1. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

This is an awesome book for younger children.  It comes with a song that is very catchy where your child/student will be singing a long and eventually be able to retell the story.   This book also teaches colors and has a great moral.

2. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin

Another book written by Eric Litwin similar to the origninal Pete the cat.This one teaches numbers with a subtraction element.

3. All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon

This picture book is awesome and has great illustrations. It’s very poetic and implies that the world is all of us and we need to take care of it.

4. All Fancy Nancy books  by Jane O’Connor

I haven’t read all of these; however, I do like that they teach all kinds of vocabulary and even explain it. Girls tend to like these books as the main character is rather “girly”.

Kelly~ 1st Grade

1. I Don’t Want to Go to Bed! by Julie Sykes

This story has repetitive text and bright illustrations. It has some great messages- it is best to follow instructions to start with, and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The kids always like the bush baby!

2. Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra

This one is fun! It has rhyming text without being mind numbing. The crocs in the story are very zany, and I love the tricky monkey. The kids and I love saying ‘sillabobble sea’ most of all. The kids like counting the crocs at the end!

3. Little By Little by Amber Stewart

I read this the first week of school and display it where it can be easily referred to all year.  It reinforces my message that you don’t learn to read overnight, but by taking small steps toward your goal, working hard and never giving up. The kids really seem to get it.

Felicia~ 1st Grade

1. Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Aweibel

2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Leslie~ 1st Grade

1. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

2. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes

3. Owen by Kevin Henkes

Dianne~ 2nd Grade

1. Tough Boris by Mem Fox

2. Koala Lou by Mem Fox

3. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Jan~ 3rd Grade

1. Frindle by Andrew Clements

A story that has fun with words. Kids at this age like words. This story builds on this and allows them to think about derivative of words and even how they could create a word and think about its use.

2. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks

A great read-aloud with characters that really come alive within the text. Great vocabulary development. Children love the plot and predicting what will come next.

3. The Castle in the Attic  by Elizabeth Winthrop

A great follow-up to Indian In the Cupboard. I like to compare and contrast characters, setting, and plot between this book and the book above.

Paul~ 4th Grade

1. By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman

This is a really incredible depiction of the California Gold Rush. The two main characters, Jack and Praiseworthy, are constantly coming up with clever ways to get themselves and their friends out of trouble. Kids learn about the Gold Rush even though they just think they’re reading an entertaining book.

2. The BFG by Roald Dahl

3. Bandit’s Moon by Sid Fleischman

Also centered around the Gold Rush, Bandit’s Moon tells about the infamous bandit, Joaquin Murrieta. The story shows things aren’t always as they appear, as Joaquin turns out to be a caring man who was wronged. It doesn’t take long before you’re cheering on the ‘bad guy’.

Moya ~ 4th Grade

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

 I like to begin the year with this book as my read aloud. It has short chapters and beautiful illustrations. It appeals to both boys and girls.The kids love it while we’re reading it together, yet it is not a book they often choose to read on their own.

I have many girls who are always asking me for new series books. These are two of their favorites:

Twice Upon a Time #1: Rapunzel, The One With All the Hair by Wendy Mass

Twice Upon a Time #2: Sleeping Beauty, The One Who Took the Really Long Nap by Wendy Mass

 There are other books in the series but these are the two I have. I encourage the girls to read the actual fairy tale before reading these books.
Another series my girls like is The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley.

I think the girls like these because they are related to fairy tales, but set in modern time and there is a lot of adventure and mystery.

The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1) by Michael Buckley

READ MORE: http://buggyandbuddy.com/elementary-teachers-share-their-favorite-childrens-books/