Librarians guide readers by interest not level

The creators of the “F&P Text Level Gradient™” state that their system should be used as a tool to help guide students to books with an appropriate amount of challenge.

“We designed the F&P Text Level Gradient™ to help teachers think more analytically about the characteristics of texts and their demands on the reading process, and the A to Z levels were used to show small steps from easiest to most difficult. The goal was for teachers to learn about the characteristics of each level to inform their decisions in teaching…”

Fountas and Pinnell agree that their levels were intended to label books, rather to assist teachers in finding the right books for their students based on how difficult the books are to read.  They never intended these levels to be used to label students, they certainly never expected students to be choosing their own books based on these levels.  It was their intention that students would choose books based on their interests, perhaps it would be above their reading level, perhaps below their reading level.  If the book was above their reading level then they might have an opportunity to expand their interests, expand their reading ability.

These creators make a very good point, choosing the material that you want to read, then discussing it or disseminating that material in some form even writing or drawing about what you have read, allows you to not only be interested in the material but to become a part of the experience.  *I do firmly believe that allowing students to choose their books helps to obtain their interest.  I do also believe that there are some books that students need to read in order to form a more complete picture of the world  and culture as a whole.*

Fountas and Pinnell also say that it would be a good idea to speak with the parents in a way that allows them to understand the progress that their child is making with reading.  To show progress, to help the parents understand how their children are progressing, what their interests are, and how involved they are with their reading.  *Realistically there are some students that will never ‘love’ reading.  I do firmly believe, as a librarian, that this is just because they haven’t found their genre yet…but considering how many times I go genre hopping I am not the right person to ask about not loving reading.*

  • I enjoyed this article, it really does point out the fact that as humans we tend to focus on a single aspect and intend to use that as the sole aspect of judgement.  We tend to take the lazy way out, to try and use a single tool to slot people.  I think that much of this is due to a plethora of students and a dearth of time.

What are Libraries For?

This is an interesting article, almost more about the filmmaker than about the library.  Many of the views expressed were thought provoking.  I had never considered a documentary as more of a vaccination than as an informative tool, but it makes sense.  Once you have heard about a plight and learned about it you feel more informed, you don’t do anything about it, but it is an informed inaction.

*I agree, libraries are much more than just books.  Admittedly, sometimes we are struggling to help patrons find what they need in this time of too much digital access.  However, just now I helped a pre-teen find some scary books for her sister (we settled on Christopher Pike).  I love teaching my crafting classes, helping people use computers, teaching older ladies/gentlemen to e-mail their children, and more.  Almost as much as I enjoy helping people find a book that they enjoy reading or information on a topic they are studying.  I love libraries in all of their forms.*

Selfie Factories

This was a very thought provoking article.  Much of the gist of this article is about defining art.  To a very real extent the question “What is Art” helps people to identify if the backdrop they are using for their selfie is just like one of those screens that photographers pull down to create a background or is the backdrop they are using “art”.  Personally I can see some snobby art critic saying that the Ice Cream Museum is just like Chuck E Cheese but snobby.  I can also say that an elephant waving a brush around isn’t art, it’s just a waste of paint.  (but the art critic would be all over me for that one).

If I have the ‘intention’ of creating art and they just so happen to be great backdrops for selfies, then they are still art.  If I have the ‘Intention’ of creating art but happen to make sure that they are great backdrops for selfies, then I’m a sellout.  (especially if I cannot afford to make my dream come true and have to find sponsors.).

To me this is very reminiscent of a discussion I once had with an English Professor at college.  She was telling me what the writer intended when they used the metaphor of…something to represent..something (not a metaphor girl, me).  I asked her, “Do the writers actively think of all of these interpretations when they write their piece?”
To clarify it was a short story, not a poem.

Her answer, “No, not usually.”

So, like in novels, the art critics are interpreting these installations and (at least some) are not calling them art based on their own arbitrary definition of art.  Stop limiting people based on your very limited definitions.  Let them express themselves and help others express themselves.  100 people can look at a selfie, when asked to describe the selfie you will get 100 different answers.  Just because these exhibitions are interactive and allow people to capture a wonderful memory doesn’t make them any less art than the elephant with the paintbrush…maybe even more since the exhibitions were at least created by a human being.

In the Age of Screen Time is Paper Dead?

Not really, research seems to show that writing notes in the long-hand format enables better retention of the material.  Instead of trying to write out the entire lecture the student is forced to think about what the important parts are, therefore listening better.

In a digital age everything is very expensive, both to purchase and then to maintain.  Paper doesn’t need upgraded (very often, unless you’re doing a resume or something).

There are also concentration, retention, and other issues touched on but not fully explored in this article.  Between attention span issues, how social media and other immediate forms of entertainment are  ruling our lives is it any wonder people have a hard time finishing books?

*Even when I was in high-school (17 years ago). while computers were just becoming the dynamos they are now. people had a hard time finishing books.  Many of whom have become very successful individuals.  With the advent of computers and how pervasive they are in our everyday lives it becomes harder and harder to retain an attention span.  I find myself getting ‘bored’ with things much more quickly than I used to.  This is not due to actual boredom, there is too much to do, but rather with over-stimulation.  There Really is Too Much To Do, or Learn, or Read.  Faced with more choices than I feel I can make sometimes I get paralyzed with indecision.  I think this happens with technology, taking notes, reading, learning, any of it.

When typing up notes on your computer, you think about that cute dress you were looking at earlier, or you’re wondering if you’re going  out with friends that night.  Previous generations would put a note in the margins of their notes and remember to look later, or ask if your friend is up to going out. Now you flip over to facebook or IM and while you’re checking on your plans you’ve just missed ten minutes of notes that will be on your final exam.  Or you’re so busy trying to type the notes word for word you miss the important point that the next couple of lectures are going to hinge around.  Computers are great, but how they actually effect our learning processes still needs to be discovered.*

Meet the Font Detective who Ferret Out Fakery

This was certainly an interesting article.  Any thoughts that I had (which had never occurred to me) about forging any kind of document have gone out the window.  The hours that it would take for me to find the ‘right’ font would probably negate any potential benefit.

All jesting aside, it is fascinating that individuals are willing to dedicate themselves to learning about fonts and how to identify their many differences.  This does give me some peace of mind that individuals typing up false documents and pre dating them will be caught.  Often individuals make up nonsense and expect people to take them at face value.  It is reassuring that some are trying to prevent that from happening.

10 Best University Libraries

This article is sub-titled Prettiest University Libraries.

The 10th is a school where the library doubles as a dorm, this design library is pretty and apparently huge.

The 9th is at the University of Chicago, with its stone walls this imposing structure is reminicent of an old castle.

8 is the library named after Dr. Seuss, no surprise.

7 Art library in Boston looks like a cathedral.

6 is an amazing library designed to fit in with Navajo traditions and featuring lights in the shapes of constellations.  Very neat.

Library at Cornell University looks like a whimsical literary wonderland.

4 library at Columbia, looks like the white house or another stately old (imposing) building.

3, University at Washington, another cathedral.

2 Yale- neat, very imposing looking with the big glass structure in the middle.

1 Johns Hopkins, this is what you think of when you picture a university library.  Cathedral Ceilings, sure, but each with a floor packed with books.  Yum!

4 Witchy Books To Look Out For This Fall by S. Zainab Williams

 Halloween is just around the corner, I cannot wait to read myself into the spirit.

Akata witch series, now I have to find a new series to get addicted to.  The first book is about a Teen New Yorker transplanted in Nigeria where she is bullied by her classmates.  She finds friends and her power in the first installment, the author of this article is looking forward to the second installment.

Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman, this looks like a really good book.  Apparently it is the prequel to Practical Magic by the same author.  This sets up the information about the curse, and how certain circumstances can shape your future.  Since I’ve never read Practical magic, I might have to start with Rules of Magic.

A Secret History of Magic by Louisa Morgan looks to be an interesting historical fiction novel.  A family of witches keeps up their traditions after the matriarch dies but the magic seems to have left them until one particular member of the family enters the circle.  This might be interesting in the way that the Discovery of Witches was interesting, but not to my taste.

Basic Witches is a non-fiction book about witchcraft that is coming out this fall.  If you’re into this as a religion, or just as a quick way to get something you desire, then this might be a good read for you.  I’ll keep my witchcraft to the realm of Fiction, thanks.