Friday, September 14, 2012

An amazing far

First, I want to say that I am in love with brussel sprouts. In case you were wondering.

Second, I want to tell you that schools all over the country are eliminating read alouds from their literacy hour. Even in kindergarten. Because kids in America don't know how to read, so we shouldn't read aloud to them. It's a waste of time. (please note the sarcasm)

For something related, here's an interesting op-ed piece on the Chicago Teacher's Union Strike:

And here's a quote from the President of the CTU:

"This fight is for the very soul of public education, not just in Chicago but everywhere. We did not start this fight, but enough is enough." 

I have to say, I agree. Chicago's mayor is proposing that fifty percent of a teacher's salary be based on their students' standardized test scores. Can you imagine what that classroom would look like? Lots and lots of passages and multiple choice questions. In my mom's school district, the teachers in K-6 are no longer supposed to have the kids read entire novels. Just passages. NO MORE NOVELS! This is because the kids lack reading skills. 

DON'T THEY KNOW THAT READING NOVELS IMPROVES READING SKILLS? And no kid is going to learn to love reading by reading passages. 

And does anyone realize the amount of money it costs to constantly test these kids? Millions. It costs our educational system millions and millions of dollars to constantly administer these multiple-choice, standardized tests.

And here's one more beautiful thought I got from Eva Timothy off facebook:
"If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea." 

Can you imagine what would happen if we taught our children to yearn for the vast and endless sea of learning and knowledge? Instead of trying to shove the tools they may or may not need to acquire this knowledge down their throats? What would happen???? 

Phew. Enough of that.

Now I want to tell you about this book I'm reading:

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

I don't love the cover, but it's YA, historical fiction, Nazi's, spies, a fabulous first person narrator, a mystery. It took me a good twenty pages to really fade into it—the text is really dense on the page, and this is a book that will make you think—but that's a good thing, right?

One of my favorite things about a book that's not so easy to read is how hard it is at first to fall into the language, but then suddenly you are reading along and your brain has switched over. Like subtitles on a movie, only much, much more fulfilling. I haven't finished the book yet, but I couldn't put it down last night until my brain was so fuzzy with tiredness, I had to. Talk about yearning for vast and endless seas...

Code Name Verity
Here are some reviews: (I love the last one—a fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel. Someday I want to write a book that's a fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel.)

“A carefully researched, precisely written tour de force; unforgettable and wrenching.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“[Code Name Verity] is outstanding in all its features—its warm, ebullient characterization; its engagement with historical facts; its ingenious plot and dramatic suspense; and its intelligent, vivid writing.”
The Horn Book (starred review)
“A fiendishly plotted mind game of a novel.”
The New York Times Book Review --

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