Monday, 16 November 2020

READING IS FOR LIFE

“Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn
As a parent or teacher, you may be confused. You want your child to become a good reader but dont know what to do to help them. Occassionaly we are bombarded with news about how children cannot read and you fear that your own children too, may struggle or perhaps they are even struggling  but you are afraid to interfere because you are not quite sure what to do and you have been told that teaching reading is a teachers' job in the school. But we all know that this is not true.

It is important to note that reading is fundamental to success in life. Its that simple. Reading opens the door to virtually all other learing. You have to be able to read to learn Mathematics, science, cre and everything else. Basically you have to be able to read to succeed. Poor literacy leads to unemployment, poverty and crime.  Please note that reading is not an isolated subject but a critical means to an end. That end is a productive, enriched life in which your child can master complex information, pursue passions, and make a decent living. Reading opens the world of the mind to your child and greatly increases her llife prospects. there is no doubt about it, the biggest gift you can give your child is a love of reading. 

If children dont understand what they read , they are not really reading. if they dont unlock meaning as they read , the words become a boring babble and they will never read well or enjoy reading .So how is meaning unlocked? How do we ensure our chilren learn to read?

We start by understanding that good readers use the following 7 keys to unlock meaning.

1. Create mental images : Good readers create a wide range of visual, auditory and other sensory images as they read and they become emotionally involved with what they read. (do you ask your children to tell you about the pictures they see?

2. Use background knowledge: Good readers use their relevant prior knowledge before, during and after reading to enhance their understading of what they are reading. (do your children have enough back ground knowledge?)

3. Ask questions: Good readers generate questions before, during and after reading to clarify meaning, make predictions and focus their attention on what is important. (please do not stop your children from asking questions)

4. Make inferences: Good readers use their prior knowledge and information from what they read to make predictions , seek answers to questions, draw conclusions, and create interpretations that deepen their understanding of text.

5. Determine the most important ideas or themes: Good readers identify key ideas or themes as they read, and they can distinguish between important and unimportant information.

6. Synthesize information: Good readers track their thinking as it evolves during reading, to get the overall meaning

7. Use "fix-up" strategies : Good readers are aware of when they understand and when they dont. If they have trouble understanding specific words, phrases, or longer passages, they use a wide standing range of problem - solving strategies including skipping ahead , rereading , asking questions , using a dictionary and reading the passage aloud

lets use this strategies. Lets get reading.

Remember you can like us on facebook @inspire nyeri or @ inspirebeyondbooks.com

The librarian @ INSPIRE

Lots of contribution of thoughts from the book

" 7 keys to comprehesion: how to help your kids read it and get it" by Susan Zimmerman , and Chryse Hutchins 

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Helping your child to become a reader

 "As parents, the most important thing we can do is read to our children early and often. Reading is the path to success in school and life. When children learn to love books, they learn to love reading." - Laura Bush

You could say that your baby starts on the road to becoming a reader on the day they are born and first hears the sound of your voice. Everytime you speak to them, sing to them , and respond to the sounds they make, you strengthen your child's understanding of language. With you to guide them, they are well on their way to becoming a reader.

To understand the connection between a child's early experiences with spoken language and learning to read, you might think of language as a four -legged stool. The four legs are talking, listening , reading and
writing. All four legs are importan; each leg helps to support and balance the others. Remember you dont need to be the best reader to help - your time and interest and the pleasure that you share with your child as part of reading together are what counts. Also keep in mind , however , that children don't all learn at the same pace. And even though they learn new things, they may have their own favourite books and activities from earlier that they still enjoy. You are the best person to decide which activities will work best for your child.

Children become readers step by step. By age 7, most children are reading. Again , some take longer than others , and some need extra help. when children receive the right kind of help in their early years, reading difficulties that can arise later in their lives can be prevented. Remember , every step a child takes toward learning to read leads to another. Bit by bit, the child buids the knowldge that is necessary for being a reader. 

Step 1. Talk and listen

Scientist who study the brain hae found out a great deal about how we learn. They have discovered that babies learn much more from the sights and sounds around them than we thought previously. You can as a parent, help your baby by taking advantage of her hunger to learn. 

From the very beginning, babies try to imitate the sounds that they hear us make. They , "read" the looks on our faces and our movements. That is why it is so important to talk , sing, smile,

and geture to your child. Hearing you talk is your baby's very first step towards becomeing a reader, be

cause it helps them to love language and learn words.


As your child grows older, continue talking to them. Ask them about the things they do. Ask them about events and people in the stories you read together. Let them know that you are listening carefully to what they say. By engaging them in talking and listening , you are also encouraging your child to think as they speak. In addition , you are showing that you respect her knowledge and her ability to keep learning . 

The librarian @inspire community library


Monday, 21 September 2020

When Children choose literature - how to get your children reading

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood


Choice is vital to successful reading. When children choose books they are interested in reading, they will read them. Choosing their own books encourages them to assume ownership of their decisions and take responsibility for their own learning. Children should choose a book because they are interested in it, rather than because the level of difficulty seems exactly right.

Parents and teachers should note that offering choices give a certain amount of ownership to the children. That small investment of giving choice keeps them interested in the subject at hand, and keeps students motivated on the topic. Required or forced reading can be very boring. It is a challenge to keep students moving forward in a book they show no interest in, even if the book is required reading

When students have the opportunity to read for pleasure, offering a wide selection of books is critical. Children today have dozens of options for how they can spend their time. Choosing the books they want to read puts that activity to the top of the list. Spending time reading for pleasure, on a topic they enjoy, encourages them to read more. More frequent reading offers a wide variety of benefits, including building a more extensive vocabulary. While having a library in the home is ideal, introducing students to the school library and the public library will help with that diversity of options.

When students read, they want the experience to be more than a required activity they have to perform. The material they are reading should be something they enjoy, not a checkmark in a box. The issue of whether a book is too easy or too difficult is secondary to a personal decision made out of interest. The art of making a wise book choice isnt innate. It may mean learning strategies that will improve the childs ability to choose books that will challenge his or her reading abilities.

When working with children on their book choices, brainstorm with them, the type of books they would enjoy reading. Discuss with them the many different types of genres available such as poetry, mystery , adventure , non fiction, humor etc. Discussing the different kinds of available literature also

guides a parent or teacher or caregiver to what children are interested in. 

Also an important thing to note is that peer influence is a powerful force in the child's world of reading


as it is in the adult's world. 

Freedom of choice is a privilege at any age. Along with privilege comes responsibility . Choosing
literature out of personal preference and desire encourages children to become aware of the importance of their choices in their daily lives. They are choosing different people, places , and things to read about. These choices allow children to step in and out of wonderful worlds filled with unique people and situations never before experienced in their own lives. Choice is important because the p
ower of story plays such a significant role in a child's life. What children learn about the world so often come chiefly from the books they choose to become acquinted with. So choice is vitally important. 

The librarian @inspire community library


Wednesday, 2 September 2020

How to get your children to love reading - THOU SHALL NOT JUDGE without knowledge of reading behaviour

There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book.” – Frank Serafini

The golden question is, 😏 how do i know what my child will read? Since there is no way of determining by the level indicated on a book, a reading level can only be considered as a suggestion. Readability of a book, often refers to what words a child can recognize and/or sound out, but is not necessarily an indicator of what a child comprehends. In other words, just because a child can say a word doesnt mean he knows what he is saying , and when looking for books, we need to put this in mind. 

Did you know, children listen on a much higher level than they read themsleves. Did you also know that a books readability does not take into account any motivations for reading? A book written " on a level" that holds no interest to a child will be much less pleasurable than a book that speaks to a child. The behavioral consequences of reading a book at a level that holds no motivating force will be the same as that of an overly difficult book: a reading turn-off. If a child is higly motivated to experience a book that is above their  level, they will likely seek help in comprehension by asking another reader or by applying strategies such as guessing from context or using a dictionary (which is something that we should encourage). If the child can successfully find that help, the book will in fact be readable and also stretch their vocabulary, word skills, and attention span. and if your highly capable child chooses a low level book, perhaps they will be using it toward higher-level motivations such as integration and invention, or maybe she just needs a reading ego boost or is reading purely for entertainment (so please dont discourage them). 

The danger of relying on levels occurs more often when the level indicates the book is below a

reader. this nasty attitude separates the reader from the artist and serves the reader poorly. The process of leveling usually displaces picture books from the hands and hearts of older readers (includiing adults), even though an excellent picture book can model the highest forms of narrative and visual art.

The more exposure to a print a child experiences, the more likely it is that he will be able to read well. Trust that an enjoyable quantity of quality chidren's books at a variety of levels should yield favorable test results. The key is basing selections on your own child's motivations . 

Reading levels may indeed be useful suggestions when trying to find materials for children with special and frustrating reading challenges such as dyslexia or word recall problems. Reading levels are also useful for children in the midst of emergent literacy.  These children learn sight words and gain confidence from the repetitions and controlled vocabulary found in early reading books. But children who have advanced beyond emergent literacy should not have anything further to prove outside of the sustained motivation to read, which we , as adults, are in part responsible for cultivating, and which all books potentially can fertilize. Too much attention to book levels can create unnecessary dependency on others to determine appropriateness of material. Nobody knows your child better than you do, except maybe your child, so there's your expert consultant. 

You can encourage children to seek help as they read, you can read aloud to children, you can use reading to share in the thoughts and lives of others. When you look at reading as an experience in which there is a constant flow of support, communication, even socialization, as i have suggested, levels fall into perspective.

                                                      The bottom line is, dont let somebody else's way of determining your a reading system define your child, and dont let reading levels level your child's love of reading. 

 Feel free to air your views. Do you think telling your children no or yes to a book affects them? how do you determine what your child is reading?

Remember that INSPIRE library is here to help. We have books of all ages and we work with your child to help them love reading 

The Librarian

credits to Esme Codel for her wonderful thoughts on reading .

Friday, 28 August 2020

What motivates children towards reading ? THE THREE I's

 "The more you read, the better you get at it; the better you get at it, the more you like it; and the more you like it, the more you do it." - Jim Trelease

 readingThe three I's that get your children reading are INTEREST, INTEGRATION AND IINVENTION

lets take a look at what they are as explained by Esme Codell😊

Interest: Interest motivated reading is when a child seeks out reading materials for information and enjoyment. It is the motivation for pleasure reading. Maybe its enjoying a book after seeing a related movie, wanting to read material that a parent or teacher has shared or pursuing a book that helps in pursuit of particular interest. Anything we do for pleasure can have emotional effects: smiles, laughter, tears; the feeling of being less alone; the sense that time is flying; the thrill of new ideas and dreams. Anything we do for pleasure is also likely something we will want to repeat in the future, so even though interest is the simplest motivation, it is also the thing that gets them there. It is a lucky child who is allowed to choose his own books without judgment and whose parents and teachers suggest books solely to make the day more pleasant. It is through the freedom of choice that the child becomes self –actualized as a reader and is more likely to read for a lifetime.

Integration: This is about connecting literature to all areas of interest and learning. Integrated reading happens when a child is convinced to use reading as a springboard into other subjects. Integration takes books into the real world, where life is not separated into subject areas and where things are made and done. Your child may read a nonfiction book because of interest in the subject, but the outcome such as how to work with a recipe may result in experiences that reach far beyond the pleasures and boundaries of the printed page. #letthemread

Invention: Invention motivated reading does not only reflect the many aspects of the book, it showcases the many faces of a reader. In this kind of reading, the child allows the writing to influence his ideas but not dictate the final product. They take the reading and invent something of their own. Reading that initiates or inspires invention may also elicit responses that have a very indirect relationship to the book such as imitating small personal qualities of admired characters. Reading that motivates may be the most powerful of all. It is such reading that helps children experiment and ultimately decide what kind of people they want to be. In other words, it is such reading that helps
chiildren invent themselves. The book holds the child's interest, the child sees possible connections to the world beyond the book , and then the child decides to use that interest and insight to create something new. Invention motivated chidren arent just reading books. They are doing books, living books!.

in conclusion

Helping children to read more is the first step to success, so all motivations are valid.  In combination , they are building blocks to a lifelong love of reading and learning and a sense of competency that may translate into higher grades and better success with other challenges. In combination, they create a fourth I , IDENTITY: I am a reader. I am a lover of books. I can get the information i need from words. I have the power of literacy.

As a parent be on the look out for what motivates your child to read. Work with it and remember there is no shortage of books because INSPIRE library is a call, a text and email away. We can organize how to get books into your childrens hands.  


The Librarian

email, leave a comment letting us know your questions or suggestions on reading, or follow us so you can get updated on the next article

Monday, 24 August 2020

How to get your child to love reading - Reading aloud WORKS

 "Few children learn to love books by themselves. Someone has to lure them into the wonderful world of the written word; someone has to show them the way." - Orville Prescott (a father who reads to his children)

We want to make you the hero of your children's reading experience. Therefore this week we will equip you

with a few strategies to give you confidence that you will prevail in your efforts. First on this list of strategies is ......(you guessed it.....straight from the title..........) READING ALOUD. 

Literature based learning (especially during this time when kids are at home)  involves maximizing the potential of what we already have in place,  using our homes, and libraries like INSPIRE. All these places have doors and we need to hold them open in such a way that children can walk through and find a lifelong love of book. AS THE GROWN UPS IN CHARGE, you will win the keys to those doors if you .... READ ALOUD to your children. 

This activity involves nothing more than reading a book out loud to a child (probably everyday but we will allow you to go with your pace here.) The child may follow the text in your copy of the book, or in his or her own copy or  may just listen to the sweet sound of your very beautiful voice when you are reading. It is just this simple. It does not require any paperwork or special training and asks nothing of the child but a little attention. In fact lets just say that it is so easy on everyone's part that it is hard to believe an activity like this could yield results that verge on the miraculous.

Jim Trelease in his book the read aloud handbook (which is an excellent read for both teachers and

parents and can be found at INSPIRE library ) establishes that sharing books in this very way 

1. conditions the child to associate reading with pleasure , an association that is necessary in order to maintain reading as a lifelong activity .

2. Contributes (amazingly) to background knowledge for all other subject areas, including science , history ,geography, math etc

3. Provides the child with a reading role model 

4. Creates empathy toward other people because literature values humanity and celebrates the human spirit and potential, offering insight into different life styles

5. Increases a child's vocabulary and grammar and has the potential to improve writing skilss (please lets avoid using baby language like gugu gaga while speaking to babies)

6. Nurtures emotional development and improves self esteem

7. Creates a strong bond between parents and children. 

Looking at this list of benefits which was much longer, reading could be a type of education in itself . 

Key note

Reading aloud need not be stopped just because a child is older. More mature readers still need the flow of discussion to encourage prediction skills, to understand character development , to determine cause and effec. They seriously benefit from the model of an adult reading with proper paciing and attention to pronuciation and punctuation and leart to troubleshoot by watching an adult. 

A worthy mention

Read aloud has the power not only to sustain but to resuscitate an interst in and affection for books for children of all ages (those who were asking now they have a fun solution of how to excite your kids to read)

A love of reading and a strong ability to read can be a compass leading children to the information they need to survive or to live better and leading them to a view of themselves and others that reaches towards the horizon. 

like a very important point

Anyone who reads to a child can be assured that on some level they are giving a child the best tha can be offered, whether they child attends public, private or home school.

Again we thank Esme Raji Codell, and Jim Trelease who put such great thinking into words and even if we add our own we know they are the real geniuses in books that have changed the world . This books deserve a worthy mention here "The Read-Aloud handbook and How to get your child to love reading - a parents guide"

THE LIBRARIAN

WE want to thank our worthy readers and those who have given back such wonderful feedback. Keep it coming.

In the same spirit of reading to children we wonder if we could ask you to do something for us. We are looking for an orginal story to highlight on our "We can write wonderful original things segment coming soon." We would love to be the ones to give you the title. Here it goes

  

" I live in Africa. Recently due to covid issues and the fact that i have no reason to hide in the bush because the number of people coming to see me has gone down, i have recently acquired a very weighty issue. I am a hippopotamus and i need a diet plan. Can you write one, send to the librarian and save me from myself? - yours the hippo who lives near a water body in the bush. Yes ..that one"

Thursday, 20 August 2020

HOW TO GET YOUR CHILD TO LOVE READING - Connecting your children to Authors


 "To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables

Books can be found everywhere....but today we shall be looking at teh kind of books and reading materials you can find readily available at bookshops and ofcourse libraries like INSPIRE . These books, and i will point out here, that we are looking at childrens books,  have clearly designated authors and illustrators, with characters that usually appear in print before they appear on a television screen.  Take note, that in these places , you will find every genre and every subject that you have ever thought about for kids here, many at a level of quality that actually rivals or exceeds that of adult literature - only speicially designed with children in mind and encompassing so much energy, joy , and imagination that these elements become the criteria for excellence.

The Author 

it is our duty and right to constantly remind children that authors and illustrators are real and singular people with intentions, we will not only be giving children the books, we will be giving them the people behind the book. (I am sure if you were to write something earth shattering good, you would want us to definately know your name) And if you were to talk about reading, you will be definately talking about connecting the two. 

In making this connection, the most important question we should be asking ourselves and ofcourse the children is, "why did the author write this?" "what do you think the author wanted to share?" and simply by asking those two questions, you connect the child across time and space with this real person, this author , who had something to share , and cared enough to share it. It also opens up a world of picture books to older readers, because any reading is made more sophisticated when this relationship is addressed. 

a little explanation

The connection between the author or illustrator and the young reader is a particularly remarkable relationship in which an adult trusts a child with all sorts of dreams and stories and memories and confidences and explanations (because basically that is what books are about). For many children, this relationship with an author may be the first emotional bond shared with an adult outside her own family and community and because of this small thought expressed here, the whole idea should not be taken lightly. 

a point of understanding 

If your child understands that a book is an extension of an author, then your child will also understand that he may not always connect with an author's style (parents and teachers please take note), just like he may not always like everybody he meets. And he will understand that he can always get another book and read what someone else has to share. With the right guidance and some freedom of choice, he will find authors he likes. Most problems arise when too many mismatches in terms of books are assigned to a child on a daily basis (and here is one reason why a child would hate reading) or if the literature made available to that child is of poor quality or incongrueous with the child's ability and interests (sigh) . When this happens, no one can accuse a child of being unjustified if he forms negative associations with books and takes that bloodcurdling leap into the world of "I HATE READING".

To make that relationship between author and reader possible , people in the position of matching children with books are responsible for making informed choices so that the children are matched appropriately, so that they are most receptive to what the author or illustrator is trying to communicate. This is only difficult if you 

a) dont know the body of literature available 

b) dont know the child or 

c) dont have access to books.

(remember , INSPIRE IS HERE TO HELP incase you have ticked a, b, or c)

It is my hope that now we all know this , we will be better able to match children with books. We also want to thank Esme Raji Codell the author of "How to get your child to love Reading " for writing this particular book that has such great ideas - even if we added a bit of our own thinking . 

you may comment on the article and give us more points on how we can get our children to love reading. 

The Librarian