Maurice Saxby – A real inspiration to all Teacher Librarians – and to this Nanna as well!

Maurice Saxby spoke at the Awards Night for the School Library Association of NSW on 30 March held at the Children’s Bookshop at Beecroft.

In 1955 Maurice Saxby was the second Teacher Librarian ever to be appointed to a school in New South Wales. He has inspired teachers and Teacher Librarians for many years and his book “Give them wings” impelled many to offer exciting opportunities for children to experience literature.

He spoke of his own encounter with books and reading as a young boy and told us of the influence of the special teachers he had as a child – who inspired in him a love of literature simply by reciting a poem or leading a discussion.  Teachers, parents and even ‘Nannas’ still do this today but we now have at our fingertips so many rich resources to extend these experiences even further.

Maurice told us why reading literature is important: “Apart from what we see about human beings when we read and what we find out about life, we’re attuned to story and to the shape of story and to the way words work.”

The night of the awards I went to stay at the home of my son where I regularly read books to my two granddaughters and we make up and enact imaginary stories. With renewed energy to instill a love of literature and reading into the lives of these two little girls, aged two and four, I seized hold of opportunity and here is what enfolded the next morning.

As usually happens, the four year old commandeered my iPad to open a folder full of books and activities selected for her. The younger two year old went for my iPhone where she too knows how to open relevant folders and spends a lot of time looking at family photos and videos of herself in particular! This photo was not “set up”!

 

 

 

 

 

Miss Four had, on a previous occasion, asked me to get the “Playschool App” as she had seen it advertised on Playschool and it had cool puzzles in it! I had done so and she now was looking at a previous episode of Playschool she had found on the app – streamed live from the ABC website. She was watching the reenactment of “The Hare and the Tortoise” and we discussed the meaning of the fable and the saying  “Slow and steady wins the race”.

 

 

I was a little dismayed to find there was no print copy of the story in this home to read to the girls – Nanna will have to rectify that!

 

 

Later I took the girls outside to play.

“Lets play races”, said Miss Four…

”I’ll be the tortoise and you can be the hare,” she said to her little sister.

“Well, we’ll need a washing basket and some ears,” I said.  So she ran off and came back with some ears out of the dress-up box – left there from Easter bunnies last year. The washing basket was emptied and straps were attached to it by her mother.

With very little help from Nanna the story was enacted – again and again! The little hare asleep on the mound of the basketball stand was just beautiful… then she awoke just in time to see the Tortoise win the race!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later in the day when the technology was again “picked up” Miss Four asked if there was a book app for the Hare and the Tortoise. I found a traditional version with original pictures as well as a more modern version. Both offered read-a-loud support and some interactivity. A couple of dollars later we read both versions together and Miss Four mastered all the activities – while Miss Two once  again watched herself in family videos on my phone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An exhausted Nanna was sure by the end of the day that both girls had encountered literature in many engaging ways – a day we will all remember! Thank you Maurice!

 

 

 

 

Library Lovers Day @ Broughton: Speed Dating with a difference

After discussion with the English teachers, it was decided that Year 9 would take part in our literacy event for Library Lovers Day and the launch of the National Year of Reading – Speed Dating some carefully selected books!

Fiction, Non fiction, graphic novels, biography and even poetry books were gathered and set on the tables. Students read a book for 5 minutes before rating it and moving to another table and repeating the exercise.

Students enjoyed eating a chocolate heart during their first ‘read’ and many rated their ‘dates’ with the top option on the rating sheet: “I have had a wonderful time! Could we please meet again very soon”. There were also some honest students who opted for the rating “That seemed like a very long five minutes. You’re just not my type!”

This was a very successful and interesting way to expose students to genres and books they would never have found on the shelves or tried to read. Hopefully some “lonely” books will soon be borrowed!

Read a book – Give a book

Here is a great idea as we embark on the National Year of Reading!

“We Give Books is a new digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don’t have them, simply by reading online.

We Give Books combines the joy of reading with the power of helping others, providing a platform for caregivers and educators to inspire children to become lifelong readers and lifelong givers.

…Simply choose the charity you want to read for and then select the books you want to read. For each book you read online, we donate a book to a leading literacy group on your behalf.”

Read Fiction – The research says it all

The Harvard Business Review has a post pointing to research that shows the benefits of reading fiction.

“Over the past decade, academic researchers such as Oatley and Raymond Mar from York University have gathered data indicating that fiction-reading activates neuronal pathways in the brain that measurably help the reader better understand real human emotion — improving his or her overall social skillfulness.”

For Australians 2012 is the National Year of reading. Emphasis will be placed on this in this library blog as we endeavour to focus on the benefits of reading and especially to gather and share the research that will promote reading for information needs and also for recreation.

Read more…..

2B finish the year with Winnie the Pooh and the Hundred Acre Wood

2B and their teacher Mrs Kate Bradley, enjoyed a Literature Unit on Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne.

They discussed all the characters and their relationship with one another dealing with issues such as tolerance, perseverance and friendship.

Ultimately the children created five characters of their own and then wrote poems and stories about each one. A model for each character was simply crafted out of a bottle and was “dressed” with its own carefully designed emblem to indicate something of the personality.

The ‘characters’ and associated writing were then displayed in the outdoor IRC area, which is currently awaiting renovation. The “wasteland” of weeds and tall thistles became the Hundred Acre Wood and, with their wonderful imaginations activated, the children eagerly drilled holes in the hard clay next to their ‘characters’ to insert a stick to support their pieces of writing. Some children preferred to tie their writing to the fence. Most of them proudly brought their parents through the IRC and out to the back enclosed area to show them their work.


Is the ‘book’ dead?

We are in the middle of a very successful Book Fair where students are pouring into the IRC and dragging in their parents after school – to purchase books!
The success is largely due to the fantastic “Book Talks” by Murray from Scholastic. The books came alive as he spoke about them.
Even more exciting was the new merging of book and web as he demonstrated the “Clone Wars” website where students can interact choosing their own adventure/ending through gaming on the website then reading the resulting text page given to find out what happens next.
Reading books is certainly not dead or even dying at Broughton – but promotion of reading is very important. As technology and books merge an exciting future is developing.
This clip is worth watching:

Book Week! “One world, many stories”

Displays, online activities, and an author visit set the scene for a week long focus on books and reading.

Children’s author and humanitarian refugee worker Andrew McDonough visited Broughton for two days. On the first day he spoke to Year 11 about his work with refugees as they come into Australia. He then spoke to Years 7 & 8 about writing and illustrating books for children.

Andrew McDonough returned for another day and spoke group by group to the whole Junior School (K-6) about his writing and illustrating. His story telling was amazing and he demonstrated some of his digital illustrating techniques.

Studyvibe: learning to suceed at ‘crunch time’

Join this site to learn about study skills and share with other students. It is a collaborative learning space targeted at Primary and High School students. Read and share about ‘Learning Styles’, motivation, memory, researching, referencing and much more.

Books or ebooks?…. or both?

Our students have just had three weeks of holidays. Staff have been back for a Professional Development week, learning new technologies, planning and building the learning community here.

Our IRC has a comprehensive print collection but digital ebook resources for some curriculum areas are being purchased as funds allow. According to Kindelizaton: Are Books Obsolete? by Stephen Krashen,  the sales of paperback books are declining in comparison to the sale of ebooks.  This is based on the Amazon sales figures for January 2011 compared to January 2010. The point is made in this article that ebook readers and ebooks are less available to students of “high poverty families and under-funded libraries” and states that Ebooks are allowing the print-rich to get even print-richer”.

On the other hand in the Sydney Morning Herald on 21 July, 2011 an article by Faith Sands looks at the merits of books and compares the reading experience of books with that of ipad and ebooks. Her opinion is that “There’s no substitute for books”.

As we constantly weigh up library budgets and the reading experience versus convenience and innovation, research based decisions have to be made.

Vote for the ‘best-dressed’ Phoebe!

Recently our K-2 classes took part in the National Simultaneous Storytime event. They enjoyed the book Feathers for Phoebe by Rod Clements and each class then decorated their own class “Phoebe”.  We would like everyone to vote for the best-dressed Phoebe and a prize will be then awarded to the winning class! Voting closes on 20 August with prizes being awarded in Book Week.
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National Simultaneous Storytime: “Feathers for Phoebe”

At precisely 11:00AM today our Kindergarten to Year 2 students gathered for a story. The picture book Feathers for Phoebe by Rod Clements was selected by The Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA) to be read simultaneously across Australia – the aim being to improve literacy and promote reading.
The students were totally engrossed in the story which was shown digitally and each of the nine classes left with a little grey bird and a packet of feathers to go towards an ‘outfit’ for Phoebe. These will enter the “Best Dressed Phoebe” competition and be judged next week. As they left teachers could be heard muttering “…hot glue gun” and “wait till you see ours” ; so next week we should have a wonderful library display!

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