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.

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.

How Audiobooks Made Me Appreciate Non-Fiction by Yaika Sabat

This is a good article to introduce you to a new format, or rather an old format that you might not have considered before.  This author has trouble reading non-fiction books.  Not that she lacks the desire, interest, or intellectual capacity, they just tend to be a bit dry and hard to get through.  I find myself with the same problem.  Like this author, I tend to look more toward the fiction books, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, etc.

This author emphasized that the reader (voice actor/actress) can make a difference in your reading experience, just because you dislike one voice actor doesn’t mean that the entire genre is bad.  I know that the voice actress that helped create the early Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich was not to my taste. Eventually then switched voice actors and now I really love listening to the new installment in this series.

If you are having trouble getting through non-fiction, detective novels, epic fantasy, science fiction, or another genre then try listening to Audio books.  (maybe not romance unless you can take hearing graphic sex explored…found that out the hard way, fortunately there was  ‘skip ahead 30 seconds’ button….hit that 4-10 times and you’re usually past the graphic bits. )

In recent months I have found that Audible has access to the Great Courses.  I love the idea of listening for 20+ hours at the same price of a 7+ hour book.  (I’m a bargain hunter at the root of it which is why I like libraries *free* best of all).  Now that the author of this article informed me that The Devil in the White City is about H.H Holmes and the Chicago World Fair I have that waiting for me….just as soon as I figure out where Overdrive downloaded it to on my iPad.

Happy Reading!

Thirteen Reasons Why Censorship Won’t Help by Amy Diegelman

This article begins in a fascinating manner, where an individual who is staunchly against censorship admits that a book disturbed her enough that she had to carefully consider her opinions.  The book in question almost seems to romanticize/justify a suicide.

Ultimately she realized that pulling the book would not end the behavior.  The behavior was a result of a deeper question/problem that needed to be addressed.  Banning books, restricting access, etc. are just band-aids; short term solutions that allow us to ignore the “Gaping wounds” in a community.

I cannot agree more.  There are so many problems, mostly in my opinion, due to a sense of entitlement and lack of communal feeling, that society is broken right now.

How Ancient Legends Gave Birth To Modern Superheroes

This article is a review of the book “The Evolution of the Costumed Avenger” By Jess Nevins.

After the introduction an excerpt from the book is presented, this excerpt begins the exploratory process of this text by challenging all ‘definitions’ of superheroes.  A bit dry for what most people would think of as a ‘fun’ read but this certainly does set up the tone and premise of the book.

A quote from the author Nevins is: “A lot of previously ignored or overlooked characters become fair game when we talk about the lineage of the superhero. I think redrawing the boundaries is important, because now we can see that the superhero wasn’t a 20th-century invention, but rather the weaving together of many different heroic traditions that date back centuries or even millennia, and the recapitulation of a wide range of historical character types.”

This is a fascinating analysis of superheroes and the historical characters that influenced, consciously or subconsciously, their creation.  If you like DC, Marvel, etc, and/or history, myths, legends, etc. then this will probably be a fascinating read.  Some day when I am feeling more philosophical I will have to go over this text and find out where some of my favorite heroes come from.

Book to TV Adaptations

Often books get turned into movies and occasionally into a television series.  This is a list of those that will be coming out this year.  It is interesting to see which authors have had thier material picked up, JK Rowling; Niel Gaiman; Lemony Snicket; Margaret Atwood; and more.  Another tidbit is that a number of these are being created by ‘non-traditional’ networks.  BBC is picking up Rowling’s series (Written as Robert Galbraith), Starz is premiering the Gaiman Series, Netflix Lemony Snicket; Jay Asher; L.M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables); and Hulu is adapting A Handmaids Tale by Atwood.

Okay, Starz and BBC are probably not considered non-traditional networks but I would have thought that Niel Gaiman would be produced by the BBC.

This will be a very interesting year for television and books.