English 341: It’s Like This

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Author: jhays11

Procrastination

Procrastination

YES– I’m a procrastinator. Please forgive me, I know we are all feeling the time crunch here. haha

I read Bone Gap for my chapter book, and I have to say I like it the best out of all the books we’ve read so far. I am normally one to pick up a boring memoir or some new science research text (yeah I know it’s weird, but I like to learn), however this book was refreshing. The author uses so much imagery and the “conversational” type of dialogue between characters. It was so easy for me to picture in my mind the characters, the scene, their gestures, and honestly it was fun. The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the beginning of the book. I was confused– and not in the “oh I need to keep reading to find out what happens” kind of way. Honestly, if I started reading this five years ago I probably would’ve put the book down. I know I’m sounding dramatic– it wasn’t that bad but I just normally don’t pick up these kinds of fiction novels. The beginning does show her amazing gift of descriptive imagery writing, but I was pretty much lost. Then she jumped to another character in the next chapter which didn’t help. There are different chapters that switch the narrative to a different character. Once I got used to this, I liked it. It kept me paying attention. It was almost like the switching of scenes in a movie. When I got deeper into the book it sucked me in like some mysterious portal. I was up all night pretty much. The ability for a book to take you into another world is essential for children’s literature. When you escape in a book, it becomes addicting and you almost forget you’re even reading. This is what we want– students addicted to reading, to become the “wild reader” that Miller describes.

I also believe this book puts an awesome label on fiction novels. When I think of fiction novels, I think of sci-fi crap. However, this book has changed my mind. This book is fantasy– there are things that you just know could not happen. But, when I was reading, I truly felt like they were happening. I mean if that’s not good writing I don’t know what is. Young adults need this “believableness”  in a novel because I feel like they need to be able to relate to it. When it sounds like it could maybe possibly one day happen, then maybe, just maybe the young adults will still have enough imagination to let themselves believe it could happen. This young adult stage is difficult because they’re slowly losing that imagination that the children have, and are beginning to become interested in relationships, adventure, sex. This book has the best of both worlds.

*Creative Title*

*Creative Title*

Sorry my brain is not on a creative level right now… Lol

 

I am reading Brown Girl Dreaming and my initial thought was “WTF is going on”– so yes I was a little confused. The poems are each their own individual story, and I didn’t know this at first. I kept trying to link the previous poem with the next ones and  try to find some chronological order, but I failed. However, once I gave up trying to do this the book became much more enjoyable. It was like I was reading each one with an open mind which gave me a new experience each time. I believe when using this in a classroom it would be a good idea to maybe pick through a couple of poems at first. Let them have the open mind of each individual poem without having them be confused on whether or not it’s in chronological order. Then, read it front to back– maybe as a whole class. It is an interesting book in that it has the possibility to bring up a lot of issues, such as segregation, racism, and family problems. I would definitely suggest this book for a middle school to high school class. I believe the form/structure  also contributes to making it a higher level reading. The lines weren’t too long and didn’t rhyme, but I found myself reading the poems over and over again, or even just reading super slow. But I think that’s just how all poems are supposed to be read!

 

 

Cento by me:

We call him Daddy

This is what our mother calls him

“Ya’ll know how much I love you?”

Do all the preaching and praying you want

but no need to do it for me.

and now coming back home isn’t really coming back home at all.

 

Even the silence has a story to tell you.

Just listen, listen.

Creating Wild Readers part 2

Creating Wild Readers part 2

Chapter 2 of Reading in the Wild embodies the importance of choice within the wild reader. It begins with a quote from Neil Gaiman that I thoroughly enjoyed:

“Read. Read anything. Read the things they say are good for you, and the things they claim are junk. You’ll find what you need to find. Just read.”

From this quote I got a sense of whatever you choose to read is fate. When you pick up a book it’s because it spoke to you. When someone suggests a book to you, maybe you’re supposed to read it, or when someone doesn’t suggest a book to you maybe you’re supposed to read that one, too. Reading is a freedom we have, and choosing what to read is almost like the manifest destiny of literacy. Children should explore their “new world” and the only way to do this is to pick up a book and start reading — just read.
This freedom of choice can be a difficult concept for students to grasp and they probably will become overwhelmed with so many different books they can chose from. This is where the teaching comes in. Students need to start developing their literacy identity! and one way to do this is to have a strong identity yourself (as the educator). This way you can role model for your students. However, Miller keeps a significant prominence on teaching students how to chose their own books. I believe this is extremely important — kind of like the Chinese proverb “give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime”. It is easy as a teacher to give them a book you know they will enjoy, but they won’t always have someone there to put great books in their hand. We must show them how to do this themselves so they can carry this trait with them for the rest of their lives.

Miller outlines how to teach students this skill in a very sequential way. First, we must give them the knowledge they need about books. She goes into a lot of detail on this step: author information, genre, how to navigate a library, how to build a reading community (my favorite). Once they gain this knowledge they can then make a good choice on their own. Then, when they make a good choice, and enjoy a book they chose, it builds their confidence. They gain a positive reading experience and begin to trust their own intuition. Once they trust themselves, they become wild readers!

Now I would like the bring up something I thought was sceptical in Miller’s second chapter. Not that I don’t agree or am spiteful, I just thought it was an “out of the blue” abstraction. On page 66 she is talking about readers in her class that are at a higher level of reading and to make sure you have books in stock that register with them. Then she jumps to this statement: “If a parent or administrator questions a particular book, I can justify why the book sits on our shelves”. It seems as if Miller might have had this kind of problem before. As future teachers, we are constantly reminded of the horrors of parents like they’re some crazy beasts of no nature breathing down our backs, staring at us through the eyes of their children, and haunting our every move. Believe me, I am sure there are going to be parents like these, and I’m all for contacting the administration of Chico State for the possibility of adding “Concepts in Psychopathic Parental Actions” in our liberal studies pathway. I guess what I am saying is I wish I knew more about what Miller dealt with and how she handled these circumstances — how these situations can affect not only the students but her career. As teachers we are going to be walking on eggshells, and having a classroom library can open up opportunities for parents/administration to judge our teachings as wrong. Miller states that if “parents disapprove of a book their children bring home, encourage students to chose something else”, however for some reason I don’t think it will be that simple.

Creating Wild Readers

Creating Wild Readers

The first concept in this book that I resonated with is the quote by young adult author John Green which states that “reading forces you to be quiet in a world that no longer makes a place for that” (p. 6). I feel this is extremely relevant to society as we know it today. From the day we were born we have been measured up, weighed, and compared. Our worth is only as good as what we do, make, and believe. Children are taught that they need to worry about their future, and contemplate their past, when reading can quiet the noise and bring you into the present. Miller then explains how reading centers her, and she is a better teacher because she reads. I understand reading may not be for every student. However, it is essential as a teacher to show them the benefits reading can have not only in education (which is a little more obvious) but in everyday life as an escape. She explained these people that read to escape as a “wild reader”, which I thought was clever.

Teaching this (to be a wild reader) would be much more difficult than it seems. I mean kids have so much going on — sports games, chores, friends, etc (Miller put some quotes from her students explaining why they don’t read often). This is why I really enjoyed all of her strategies to get them thinking about reading and how much they do/don’t read. One example is the use of what she calls “edge time” (another colorful vocab term) which is the small gaps throughout the day that you are caught waiting — such as before a doctor’s appointment, or during a little sister’s soccer game. Teaching the students take advantage of their excess time for reading can create a wild reader.

One thing that I thought was conflicting is her use of a “Reading Itinerary” which she explained as a “reflection piece, not a new version of the reading log”. However, in her example itinerary on page 20/21 looks a lot like a reading log to me. The log contains sections for length of time reading, where you read, what day you read, for the child to fill out. I feel like this is basically a reading log, even though her intentions for the log is different. She explains how she doesn’t grade the logs or even consistently do them throughout the year, but uses then as strictly a “self-awareness tool”. As I agree with her intentions, I think maybe this should be modified a bit.

Cinderelly- Cinderelly

Cinderelly- Cinderelly

Making pottery? Now that’s just crazy
Golden dung is even madder
There is no tomb of distressed women
Or insecure mistresses slicing off their heels
But only a fine prince
Falling for a scullery maid

~Jenny from the Block~

~Jenny from the Block~

Well my laptop decided to delete my whole post before I got to publish it, so here I go again…

My name is Jennifer Hays, but you can call me Jenny. I was born in Alameda and raised in Lakeport (very small town near Clearlake). There wasn’t a lot of opportunities where I came from, and not much was expected of me let alone any of the children. Many of my friends I grew up with are either pregnant, addicted to drugs, or growing marijuana. Luckily, my parents and my teachers expected much more from me, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.

I am now a senior here at Chico state, and should be graduating this semester! My major is Liberal Studies with a minor in Psychology. I am also currently applying and preparing for the credential program next year. I moved to Chico following my older brother (and to be closer to my boyfriend at the time). However, I ended up falling in love with the City of Trees. I have had some of the best experiences of my life here and have met people that are now my best friends. After my time here in Chico, I aspire to travel. I have taken some interest in either joining the Peace Corps or even just moving out of the country for a while.

Reading to me is essential to your growth as a person. I personally chose to read for intellectual purposes. I enjoy reading to gain knowledge. I guess you could say I just love to learn. I have done some reading for entertainment purposes, however educational reading is the most important for me. My grandmother was a poet, and wrote binders and binders of poems. Some of them were published as well. Creative writing is interesting to me and I enjoy writing it more than reading it! Lol