Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

The Other “F” Word

January 21, 2020

The first line in my well-received new novel is, “I’m so fat.”

It elicits cheeky giggles whenever I used to read it out. Kids are not used to hearing that word anymore and are especially surprised that a major character in a kid’s book nonchalantly expresses such a candid self-reflection.

By the end of the first page, my audience grows to love the character and appreciate his honesty. Cheeky giggles are replaced with unabashed giggles. Finally, a character that feels comfortable to express the thoughts that many of us feel on a daily basis – seems to be the consensus.

When I first started reading the then-unfinished manuscript, a student approached me and told me how much the character of Jake meant to her. She told me that she had been ignored and disrespected because of her weight and it was inspiring to see those very same students that have ostracised her completely warmed to the fat character and instantly accepted him. She told me it gives her hope that the overweight kid can achieve some positive attention for a change.

I asked her what her name was.

“Nina”, she replied.

I told her I would name one of the major characters “Nina” because her words had moved me so much.

Nina is probably an adult now and probably has no recollection of that day and the origins of her namesake in my book. But her reaction has not been unique.

As a teacher, I’ve had the opportunity to read my book to thousands of students along the journey. There is a good reason why the word “fat” is frowned upon and there is a logic behind society’s reluctance to explicitly draw attention to weight.

But fat people know they are fat and are looking for a character that can own up to it and then prosecute the case why being overweight should never overshadow a person’s spirit, wisdom and achievements.

Enter Jake Archibald and the book, My Favourite Comedian.

Thank you, Nina!

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

 

Is There Anything Better Than the Laugh of a Child?

January 17, 2020

 

They tell teachers to avoid showing too much personality and that a teacher’s humour can be seen as a weakness. It can lead to a chaotic and uncontrolled classroom.

But I don’t care. I’ll take my chances.

Humour, is essential to who I am as a parent, teacher and now, writer. I don’t seek the laughter of children in the same way as I seek their happiness, security and academic progress. But I certainly don’t believe in withholding humour from the classroom.

Watching the clip above, I couldn’t help but reflect on the amazing impact of a child’s uncontrollable laughter. One of my great joys has been sharing my book, My Favourite Comedian, and watching kids laugh throughout.

So, no, I am not shutting shop on laughter any time soon.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Why I’d Prefer Kids Read My Book in Print Than Digitally

January 15, 2020

My new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, is available in both print and digital form. My royalty is slightly better for digital purchases due to the fact there are no printing costs involved. But I would prefer that kids buy a physical book over a digital one.

I believe that reading from a physical book is better for kids’ eyes and for their comprehension of the material.

 

A recent article backs up my theory:

But Atkinson, who guesses that her family of four in Orinda, California, spends half their reading time with physical books, said that she has noticed a difference between how her son reads paper books and how he reads digitally. He has a tendency to skim more in Epic! “He might be more inclined to flip in Epic!, just flip through and see if he likes a book, skipping around. When it’s a physical book, he’s going to sit and read until he’s tired of reading. But in Epic!, he knows there are so many [books], he will read a little faster.”

According to San Jose State University researcher Ziming Lu, this is typical “screen-based reading behavior,” with more time spent browsing, scanning and skimming than in-depth reading. As reading experiences move online, experts have been exploring how reading from a screen may be changing our brains. Reading expert Maryanne Wolf, author of Proust and the Squid, has voiced concerns that digital reading will negatively affect the brain’s ability to read deeply for sophisticated understanding, something that Nicholas Carr also explored in his book, The Shallows. Teachers are trying to steer students toward digital reading strategies that practice deep reading, and nine out of ten parents say that having their children read paper books is important to them.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

 

All Students Can Achieve Reading Success

January 8, 2020

Some readers take their time to reach their breakthrough moment whilst others are hampered due to a lack of practice at home.

Phillis C. Hunter reminds us all that every child can succeed in their pursuit to become confident readers. Here she gives a brilliant speech that has inspired many a teacher.

One of the chief motivators in writing my novel, My Favourite Comedian, was to publish a book specifically designed to ignite disenchanted readers. I believe that a book that is both relevant to a child’s everyday experience and is packed with suspense and comedy is a good chance to engage even the fussiest readers. Additionally, the book should be suited to reading aloud and ensure that the dialogue isn’t swamped by descriptive overkill.

 

Special Announcement:

I am donating 100% of the royalties of my hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian, during the month of January to those affected by the devastating bushfires in my country, Australia. This book is perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. Please leave a comment to indicate your purchase. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Why I Am Giving Away 100% of My Book Royalties

January 8, 2020

The devastation of the bushfires in my country has been so tragic. Human and animal lives have been lost as well as homes and pristine bushland.

It is incumbent on me to do my bit. That is why I pledge to give away all of the royalties of my book to the Bushfire Appeal during the month of January.

Every cent of profit will go back to the people who need it more than I do.

The added bonus is that the book itself can bring a sense of joy and optimism at a time of great international insecurity. This book will hopefully provide children and their parents a welcome distraction from events such as the bushfires and Iranian conflict.

Leave a comment below to let me know you have purchased the book so I can start donating straight away.

Please support the bushfires. Every dollar counts.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. Perfect for children aged 9 to 14 and the ideal class novel for Upper Primary students. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

Reading Aloud Radically Improves Reading Skills

January 7, 2020

My new book, “My Favourite Comedian” was written specifically to encourage children to read aloud. Similarly, I have been extremely heartened to hear that parents are reading the book aloud to their children. I feel that reading aloud has been stigmatized unfairly when it is, in fact, a very beneficial mechanism for improved comprehension and greater reader engagement.

Courtesy of babble.com

1. It’s time spent together. Reading time is time when you’re focusing on no one else and nothing else but them. It’s impossible to read to your kid and look at your smartphone or watch TV at the same time. I read to each of my children separately before bed. This lets me spend quality time with them individually. It makes for a longer bedtime ritual, but I don’t care because I love it.

2. It’s a conversation starter. Books always give us a reason to talk with each other, even if we don’t feel like we have anything to talk about. It keeps communication open.

3. It’s a great way to talk about emotional health. We talk about the things that happen in the stories, how we would feel if they happened to us, and how we might deal with such events the same or differently. Books have helped me broach topics that I might not have thought to raise if it weren’t for the subject matter in the story.

4. It’s a great way to honor the individuality in your children. I read different things to my daughter than I do to my son. We go to the bookstore and they pick out books about topics about which they are interested. Through paying attention to what they want to read, I can learn more about what their likes and dislikes are, including what they might want to be when they grow up.

5. You can open up new worlds for your kids. Reading allows you to introduce your kids to things that their school curriculum just doesn’t have the time or perhaps even the interest to cover. My 6th grader has recently expressed an interest in industrial design, so I’m on a hunt for cool books about the design of cars and about architecture. Dear publishers: Please publish more books for young readers about these things!! We don’t just need stories about zombies and vampires. 

6. You get a wealth of information on where your children might need help.  Through reading aloud to my children I’ve been able to teach them the meaning of words they still didn’t understand. They have better vocabularies. They have better comprehension skills and understanding of abstract concepts. And reading allows them to excel not just in language arts, but in all of their subjects. I’ve been able to see when my daughter was ready to read on her own — she started pushing me out of the way and reading the words herself — and also to see if and when she needs help.

7. It can lead to a lifelong love of reading in your kids. If you do it right, by reading like you mean it — which means getting into the story, changing your voice to reflect what is happening and not droning on like you hate what you’re reading — your children will learn to love reading on their own. My 11-year-old has now read more than 25,000 pages in his lifetime. How do I know this? For fun, together we created an Excel spreadsheet (OCD, anyone?) where we record the books he has read and how many pages were in them. He loves that little sheet, because it gives him a sense of accomplishment and he can look back on all that he has read and remember his favorites.

 

Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can buy a copy by clicking on this link.

I am a Teacher and a Hypocrite

November 7, 2019

 

I have been reading my unpublished novel to my classes for the last 18 years. First as an unfinished manuscript, and later as a finished story.

I would always get the same question from my students – “When are you going to publish?”

I always dismissed the question. I told them that my chances of getting published were slim because first-time writers without a literary agent hardly ever get accepted by publishers.

In other words, I was making excuses.

Deep down I knew the real reason was fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of having your blood, sweat and tears in the public domain.

But earlier this year I had a reawakening. What a hypocrite am I! Here I am, day in and day out, lecturing the students about trying their best and following their dreams and I refuse to abide by my own tenets.

So I decided to get my book published. The best thing I have ever done!

In two weeks time, I will be in a position to officially share my hard work of almost two decades.

Finally, I can look at my students in the eye and tell them to overcome their fears without feeling like a hypocrite and a fraud.

 

Update: Michael Grossman is the author of the hilarious new children’s book, My Favourite Comedian. You can download a free ebook copy by clicking here or buy a copy by clicking on this link.

My Novel: 18 Years in the Making

November 6, 2019

 

After 18 painstaking years of drafts and edits, the launch of my young adult book, My Favourite Comedian, is only two weeks away!

This book is a labour of love for me, geared for my wonderful students, as I try to show them the immense power of good literature.

It is through them and their ongoing championing of the book that I have bitten the bullet and sought publication. They are the main reason I have made this available to the wider public.

Thank you for all the subscribers and visitors to this blog. I appreciate your patience during my hiatus. It’s good to be back.

I will be contributing regularly as I provide updates about my book as well as making commentary on all things education.

Stay tuned!

Strategies for Improving Reading Comprehension.

December 28, 2014

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Via Mark Barnes

 

 

Click on the link to read List of Kids Books that Would Make Great Christmas Gifts

Click on the link to read Helping Children Become Successful Readers

Click on the link to read Children’s Hilariously Inappropriate Spelling Mistakes

Click on the link to read How Spelling Mistakes can Turn a Compliment into Something Quite Different.

Click on the link to read Why Spelling is Important at Starbucks

Helping Children Become Successful Readers

November 6, 2014

 

A good clip by Phyllis C. Hunter.

 

Click on the link to read Children’s Hilariously Inappropriate Spelling Mistakes

Click on the link to read How Spelling Mistakes can Turn a Compliment into Something Quite Different.

Click on the link to read Why Spelling is Important at Starbucks

Click on the link to read The Ability to Spell is a Prerequisite for Getting a Tattoo (Photos)

Click on the link to read This is What Happens When You Rely on Spell Check


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