Tag Archives: parents

World Read Aloud Day

February 16th is World Read Aloud Day. I will be celebrating this day by reading aloud via Skype to as many classrooms as I can. Last year I read to 15 schools on 3 continents over 24 hours. I’d love to include your school in this year’s celebration. If you are a teacher of students between 3rd and 8th grade and you’d like to share some reading excitement with your class please get in touch as soon as possible so I can fit you into my schedule.

My newest novel The Turn of the Tide will come out in paperback on Valentines Day and in honor of that I’ll be giving away one of my paperbacks to the first ten teachers who schedule a free Skype visit for World Read Aloud Day.

You can use the contact me feature on the website or email me at rosanne@rosanneparry.com

World Read Aloud Day is sponsored by Lit World and they have a pretty impressive slogan:

Read aloud. Change the World.

World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries thanks to people like you who participate and spread the word across the globe!

If you are not a teacher I hope you will honor the day by choosing a book or poem you love and reading it to somebody you care about. My mother read poetry aloud to me her whole life long and those are some of the memories of her that I treasure the most.

Things Amazon will never do

Today is Indy Bookstore Day and neighborhood bookshops nation-wide are doing things to celebrate.Unknown-4 I thought I’d mention, not what Annie Blooms, my neighborhood indy, is doing to celebrate the day, but what Annie Blooms does every day and has done for more than three decades. Things Amazon will never do for you.

Make you a cUnknownup of coffee.

Even Amazon’s much anticipated drone delivery is not going to deliver you a piping hot cup of coffee. Its true that you can buy a latte at the in-store coffee shop at Barnes & Noble. Powells was the industry leader in bringing a coffeeshop into the bookstore. Guess what? The coffee here is free. Always has been. Pour yourself a cup. Settle in. We’ve got all day to spend with you.

Entertain your children while you shop

Our rocking dragon has been keeping toddlers and preschoolers happy for decades. There’s a bin of toys under the board book shelf along with kid sized tables and chairs.  It’s safe, it’s clean, and there’s not a single video screen or electronic gadget to distract your kids from the important business of play.

Provide window art for the neighborhood.

We support a regularly rotating visual feast on your walk to the dog park, a new theme every other week or so.IMG_1423 Here we are celebrating Black History month and  honoring the Charlie Ebdo victims.IMG_1336

 

This visual feast is brought to you by our very own bookstore artist, the amazing…drum roll please… Kate Stone!

Support local schools and libraries

We are always happy to welcome teachers to our store. Glad to chat with you about that special book for a particular student. Love to give you a heads up on the newest book from your favorite author. And if you are using the book in your classroom, there’s a teacher discount. Though Annie Blooms has not done this in the past, many children’s bookstores will help you host an author visit to your school. Oh yes, and your local bookstore pays taxes to support your local school district and public library. Amazon? Not so much.

Host live author events

We host about a half dozen author events a month. That’s an hour worth of entertainment with some terrific talent both local and distant. We feature authors of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, adults books and children’s, debut authors and veterans of 50 books or more. Do we charge for these events? Nope. We’re happy to celebrate the books and author we love.

Offer meeting space for your book club

Unknown-1Have you always wanted to start a book club but dreaded the work of having a crowd of people over to your house? We love crowds of people! Our cosy loft is ready and waiting for the book club of your dreams. And when you’ve settled on your next title, we’ll gladly order everyone a copy and extend our usual book club discount.

Send presents for you child’s birthday

Hoping to instill the love of reading in the children and grandchildren in your life? Us too. Sign up for our birthday club and we’ll send your children a birthday postcard and gift certificate every year until they turn twelve.

Special Orders

Having trouble finding a book? Can’t quite remember the title or the author? No worries. We’ve got several data bases and a staff full of avid readers who probably know the book you’re thinking of. If it’s in print we can probably get it for you.

 Presents! Oy!

images-1Need some help brainstorming the perfect gift for the quirky child in your life, the persnickety aunt, the edgy nephew, the grandpa who’s read everything? Let’s talk. There’s a just right book for everybody and we’ll help you find it and wrap it up. Dashing to a last minute birthday? Call us and we can have the perfect picture book wrapped and ready for you!

But best of allimages

We are here. In your neighborhood. Every day. Stop in. Chat. Browse. Pet our store cat Molly. Not just on Indy Bookstore Day but every day.

 

Returning Librarians to my School District

A few years ago my children’s school district faced a catastrophic shortfall in their budget. The cuts that followed were many and painful, among them the loss of every single certified teacher librarian in the largest school district in Oregon. Fortunately our funding crisis is over and we’re in the happy position of deciding how to expand services. After some very eloquent 5th graders testified to the frustration of going to the school library only to find the door locked, I added some observations as a former student, a parent, a 20 year volunteer, and a visiting author.

What I had to say may be applicable to your home school district so if you are fighting this battle in some other place, please feel free to borrow my words. If you are a parent or student in the Beaverton School District, you have one more chance to make your voice heard at a budget meeting at 6:30pm on the 20th of this month at school district headquarters.

Here are my thoughts on why my own school district needs a certified teacher-librarian in every school.

1.Teacher support

As a visiting author I am in hundreds of schools all over the country. I work with grade school, middle, and high school teachers to encourage reading and writing and generate excitement for literature. Everywhere I go I meet English and reading teachers who are genuinely excited to do the higher level reading work that new standards ask of them. They want to delve deeper into texts of all genres. They are excited to bring students the best and most current books. But not every book stands up to higher level reading. The Wimpy Kid franchise, for example, is not up to the task. In order to find the books that will bear greater scrutiny and model the best and most elegant use of language, you’d have to read several hundred books each year. It’s wildly impractical to ask every single English and reading teacher to do this every year.

A certified teacher librarian is the person well qualified to winnow the enormous variety of current books to the 30 or 40 strongest candidates so that each teacher can choose from among the best of the best. They are also the ones with the resources to help teachers find books available in translation, audio, and ebook to accommodate the needs of a diverse population.

2. Loss to private schools

There are dozens of private schools within Beaverton’s boundaries. All of them have full time teacher-librarians, and that is a huge draw. It was not always so. When my parents were choosing between public and parochial schools for me they looked at the options and saw, on the one hand, a parochial school that would see to my spiritual development and had significantly smaller class sizes, and on the other hand, a public school with a well funded library and a full time librarian. They chose public schools. The parochial schools in the area are expanding, and we stand to lose high achieving students and highly involved parents if we don’t provide school libraries. Having been in several Catholic schools over the last five years, I’ve seen relatively small libraries with limited technology. But they have a full time teacher librarian and children have full access to that smaller collection. The Beaverton school district libraries far exceed most private schools in the size and quality of the collection but that vital asset is currently behind a locked door.

3. Supporting growing diversity.

Our school district has recently become a majority non-white district. This coincides with a moment when publishers are highly motivated to publish titles with multicultural characters. Looks like a win-win situation. But if nobody is there to buy the books with non-white characters, publishers will stop making them. There is a huge need for kid’s books with non-white characters. At the moment, 90% of titles have a white protagonist. That’s a ridiculous figure and the only reason it’s true is that those books consistently sell. In order for an authentic body of literature to take root for the young readers we have today is for well funded school libraries to buy the books that reflect their populations, and make sure that kids find the books that mirror their own experience and speak to their own values. We could make a huge difference in providing a legacy of inclusive literature for children.

4. Supporting family literacy

One of the things I’ve seen in talking to immigrant students, not just in Oregon but all over, is that for many of them the school library is their only library. Whether the issue is transportation or fear of library fines or reluctance to register an address publicly, lots of kids only have access to free books through a school library. One of the strongest factors in predicting whether a child will read on grade level is access to books in the home. Our families no matter how poor or disadvantaged want to support their children’s reading. By keeping the school library behind a locked door, we deny them the number one tool in learning to read: books!

A fully funded and staffed school library supports literacy better and more efficiently by enabling the student and parent to do their share of the work. With English language learning families we have a golden opportunity in the years when parents are motivated to read aloud to their children. A teacher-librarian is in the position to put into the hands of these families the books and audio books that will, not only support the child, but lift the literacy of the parent. Then we have both higher performing students and more empowered and engaged parents–a win for the entire community.

Please consider testifying in support of fully funded and staffed libraries at the Beaverton School District Administration Center at 6:30 on Monday April 20th. 16550 SW Merlo Road, Beaverton, OR  97003.

If you are not in the Beaverton School District I hope you will consider advocating for school librarians in your home district.

 

Supporting the Avid Young Writer in your Life

Although I’m still relatively new to being a published author, I’ve already done more than a hundred school visits. They are often long days, but I find them energizing and they really motivate me to finish the next book. Often a teacher catches my eye during a visit and wants to have a word with me about a student. Almost every time it’s an avid writer who produces volumes of stories or poems—finished, unfinished, skillfully written or simple, wildly creative or somewhat familiar. And what they want to know is what to do with all that writing.  images-1Teachers are great at teaching children who can’t write or won’t write or need lots of support to write. I am routinely impressed by the dedication of teachers I meet. So they can see that the avid writer needs guidance, too, but they are often at a loss about where to begin. Parents of these kids are often equally in the dark—proud, but unsure of how to best support a budding author. I have four kids myself, some of whom are avid writers so it’s a topic I’ve given a lot of thought. Here are three things you can do to nurture the young writer in your life.

  1. Help them save and safely store their work.

I’m bad at this myself. I love my stories but I don’t take very good care of them.  Unknown-5One of the most helpful things a teacher or parent can do is set up a file to keep stories both those finished and those abandoned. Most working writers begin as many as a dozen stories for every story they finish. So it isn’t important for your avid writer to finish every project they begin. Learning when to set aside a story that isn’t working is an important skill, too. But many times a writer will return to an old idea with a fresh insight and make a new story from one that wasn’t working before. Sometimes a character that didn’t work on a first try is exactly what you need in a different story. So having those files accessible is a gold mine. If your students write on a computer, getting them in the habit of a daily back up to a disc or thumb drive helps. Because thumb drives are easily lost, it’s also good to email a file and store it at the email account.

  1. Help them find with a time and place for writing.

imagesWhen writers get together, one of the most common topics of conversation is the struggle of finding a time and place to write. Some young writers are great at tuning out their surroundings and writing wherever they are—school bus, dinner table, math class. This of course has problems of it’s own.  But students who need a little privacy to write may need help finding a quiet corner of the classroom or an undisturbed nook in the house, and a few free afternoons a week.

I know a 4th grader who came to school one day on fire with a great idea for a screenplay. She begged her teacher for time to write it and he agreed, letting her use the class computer through all the lessons, recess and even lunch that day. In five hours this girl wrote the first three and a half acts of a screenplay. In the last half an hour of the day the teacher asked her if she could show at least a part of her work to the class so they could see what a screenplay looks like. She chose a scene she wanted feedback on and got the class to read the roles out loud. As a result a half dozen other kids got the screenwriting bug for a few weeks. A gift of time like that is a rare and precious gift for a young writer and went a long way to helping this child believe she could be a professional writer some day.

Instructional time is precious and extra curricular activities are valuable, too, but for the avid writing child nothing is so enriching as simply the time and place to create something new.

  1. Help them find a writing community.

absolutely-truly-9781442429727_lgI don’t know a single author who works alone. Most of us have critique groups or at least a writing partner. They are people who help us work out all the many details of writing well. It means the world to me that if I’m stuck I can call on my neighbors Heather Vogel-Frederick, author of Absolutely Truly, or Susan Blackaby, author of Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox, and go out for coffee and just talk through a writing problem.Unknown-4

For young people community can be hard to find. A teacher who is aware of two or more avid writers might encourage them to join the newspaper staff or school literary magazine. Younger students might find kindred spirits in a Newbery Club or on a Battle of the Books team.

The connection need not be formal and organized. I met two eighth grade cousins on a school visit who have an ice cream date every Sunday after church to work on the YA novel they are writing together. Some kids enjoy fan fiction websites because they create a sense of community and offer a place to share work.

Some communities are wonderful about offering writing opportunities for children and teens. Here are two of the best children’s writing communities here in Portland, Oregon and I hope you will add your local resources in the comments.

League of Exceptional Writers.

Every Second Saturday from 2 to 3 at the Powells Bookstore on Cedar Hills Blvd. in Beaverton from October to May.

Come meet your fellow writers, learn the craft of writing from amazingly talented and friendly authors, bring your own work to share and get feedback. Anyone ages 8-18 is welcome.

We have two sessions left this school year. April 11th Anne Osterlund will talk about developing strong characters. On May 9th Fiona Kenshole will talk about the role of literary agents in the book world.

Young Willamette Writers

First Tuesdays of the month from 7 to 8, the young Willamette Writers meet in their own space during the meeting of the adult Willamette Writers. They practice the craft of writing in the company of great writers from all over the region. The meeting is held in the Old Church on SW 11th and Clay in Portland.

If you’ve got a great kids writing group in your town, please share in the comments!