I recently released a new book for children ages 2-8 called GRADY GETS GLASSES. Grady is a rabbit who lives with his mom and dad and baby brother, and he gets glasses. In 72 lines of verse, Grady explains the entire concept of glasses to a child: nearsighted and farsighted; how glasses help a person in everyday life; and how to take care of one's glasses. A simple concept? maybe. But with rhymes and adorable illustrations that make kids want to see and read more, the book is a real hook for making kids want to read, and making kids love reading is (and has always been) a personal goal.
I was a voracious reader as a child. I LOVED escaping into worlds unlike my own, where I could be both the hero and the heroine; the detective and the victim; the teacher and the student. My small town had a bookmobile that came to the Natrona Heights Plaza two times per week. The librarian of the bookmobile chose specific books for ME- and I loved them all. My vision deteriorated steadily for years because I read so much. It came as no surprise when I became an English teacher and taught high school for 37 years. I reveled in figuring out anticipatory sets and teasers to get students to read. For many of my former students, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD will always be their favorite book, just as it is mine. They became engaged readers during the time we were reading that particular novel as a class, and they found out how much pleasure (and knowledge) reading can provide.
I am currently setting up dates to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at elementary schools around the area, as well as globally, through virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom (http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/ and Twitter- @Fieldtripzoom.) The part of this whole experience that I like best is this: I get the chance to help students- even reluctant readers- to enjoy reading!
Reading is the MOST fundamental of all skills, yet 32 million adults in the US (14 % of the population) cannot read. (Source:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/06/illiteracy-rate_n_3880355.html ) Take a look at these startling facts from the same source: According to the Department of Justice, "The link between academic failure and delinquency, violence, and crime is welded to reading failure." The stats back up this claim: 85 percent of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, and over 70 percent of inmates in America's prisons cannot read above a fourth grade level."
What can we do as teachers? We must work harder to show students that reading is worthwhile. We must never give up on a student because he or she "doesn't care." We must look for and discover reasons WHY our students are not successful readers, and help those students to overcome their issues. Dyslexia? PDD? ESL? I believe that one teacher can make the difference in the entire outcome of a child's life, and that in the truest sense of these six words, not in the political sense, that no child should be left behind. I encourage teachers to host reading workshops during lunch and recess; to encourage peer tutors; to work with the school psychologists and special education teachers; and to do everything in their personal realm of power to help students to learn to read.
And what about parents? Emilie Buchwald said, "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." Teachers can send home suggested book lists, or better yet, create a classroom lending library for parents who need a nudge in the right direction. When children see parents reading, they should follow suit.
In closing, I hope that all teachers will share not only their love of reading with their students, but also their passion for reading, which enhances both knowledge and opportunities.
If you would like me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES in your school- in person, or virtually, please send me an email at email@example.com Please check out Grady's website at www.gradygetsglasses.com
As always, I welcome your comments or suggestions.
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies avaialble for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org . The website www.gradygetsglasses.com IS UP AND RUNNING!!!. Signed copies ARE available!
Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl
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