A new form of reading
I have finally joined the ranks of those with an eReader.
Yes, I know I am slow at adapting to the latest technologies, but I have some sound reasons. The main reason was a reluctance to buy any more books. I have many piles of unread books and magazines cluttering various parts of the house. I have been trying hard to get on top of these heaps of reading materials, but the list seems never ending. One day I will overcome this problem – I guess – though it has the benefit of never having to look far for something to read. (You are probably thinking that my house is a very untidy mess of books and magazines. Wrong. It is a quite tidy mess of books and magazines.)
But back to the eReader.
It was a freebie from my bank’s awards’ programme, a Kobo Aura. It was very easy to set up, and even easier to buy books. (Too easy, as my wife has discovered.)
My first book was The girl with the dragon tattoo, one I had been planning to read for some time. The reader is very easy to use and especially easy to read in bed. I recently read Peter Fitzsimons’ huge 800+ page tome called Gallipoli. I managed to read it partly in bed, but it was not really ever comfortable.
I won’t do a review of my first book just yet. I did find it a riveting tale and read it in only a few days. All I will say for now is that despite the compelling draw of the story I did not particularly enjoy the book. Sadism is not my thing, and several characters in the book are brutally sadistic in nature.
From that interesting read I have moved on to a second ebook, The Kite Runner. So far I am enjoying it.
Writing children’s books
I am currently visiting my grandchildren who live interstate. It’s a joy I have only a few times every year, but so interesting to see their development and to play with them a whole range of games. Their ages are 4 and 1, so they are still developing in many ways, especially in their imaginations.
One of the special delights is cuddling up for story time. Both parents are book lovers, so their home has many books. Family and friends have also made sure the two little ones have plenty of books in their lives. And to add to the wonderful books in the home, a new branch library has just recently opened up in an old church building five minutes’ walk up the road.
In reading books daily to the grandchildren – and sometimes several times a day – once again has impressed upon me the importance of reading in the life of a child. So much language development occurs in this pre-school period. So many books are rich in wonderful language. But more than that, there is so much cultural heritage which can be absorbed by the young, developing mind. There are also the many environmental concepts which can also be introduced through non fiction. Last night my grandson and I spent nearly an hour pouring over a book about farming; he lives in Australia”s largest city so this is an excellent way of talking about my heritage; I grew up on a farm.
The case for reading to and with children is so important and soundly supported by the research. What is less emphasised, I feel, is the importance of reading children’s books if one desires to be writing children’s books. Just like in the importance of books in the life of a developing child, so is the reading of children’s books vital in the development of the aspiring children’s authors. You cannot read too many, and there are so many wonderful children’s books out there now you will certainly be entertained for many years to come.
Reading children’s literature
One of the units of study I have lectured in at university this year has been Children’s Literature, with a particular focus on using children’s literature in the classroom. All of my students for this unit are teachers in training, all of them eager to gather ideas for incorporating literature in their future classrooms.
It has been a rewarding time for me as it has renewed my enthusiasm for reading children’s literature. When I was a classroom teacher, and earlier in my career when I was a teacher/librarian, I would regard the reading of children’s books as a professional requirement. I am a voracious reader, so this was no hardship. After one little forgettable incident, I resolved never to read a book to a class without having read it privately first. I still believe this to be a wise policy for any classroom teacher or children’s librarian.
In recent months I have read a wide variety of picture books, chapter books for emerging readers, novels for older readers and non-fiction for various year levels. Sadly, I haven’t had time to review any of them here. In time I hope to regularly get back to reviewing the books I read. In the meantime, if it has been some time since reading a children’s book, why not borrow a few from your local library? Many of the titles published in the last decade are fine examples of excellent writing; some are just as challenging to read as adult books. And often far more interesting and captivating.
If you read a good book that you’d like to recommend – children’s or other – write about it in the comments section. I’d like to know, and so would my readers, I’m sure.
Good reading – and writing.
Writing prompt: rainy days
I should take a photo of the rain pouring down outside, and the large puddle of water in our driveway. It is freezing out there, so I’ll just stay in my nice warm office and write about it instead. Take the easy option – quite a reasonable motto in this situation. Looking out of my window is not easy, what with all the raindrops pouring down the glass. So that eliminates taking a photo through the window too. Never mind.
Where I live in rural South Australia, rain is something to celebrate as we don’t often get downpours like we’ve had over the last 36 hours. Here in SA we often say that we are the driest state in the driest continent. It’s a claim which probably isn’t completely accurate, but we say it all the same. I don’t mind cold, wet winter’s days. It gives me a perfect excuse not to go out and weed the garden, or mow the grass, or chop the firewood, or fix that gutter, or… I think you get my point.
Instead, I like to stoke up the fire, make a good cup of tea and settle down with a good book. Or even an average book. Truth be told, I don’t get to do that as often as I’d like to these days. My writing takes up a good part of the day, my church involvement takes up some of every day, and now my lecturing position is further cutting into each day. Relaxing with a good book is becoming a luxury but it’s something I need to make sure I do. Taking time out to relax is important.
Writing prompt: what do you like to do on cold, rainy days?
Good writing – and reading.
About writing, reading and lecturing
Regular readers of this site must be wondering whether I’ve dropped off the planet.
Both of my readers.
In reality, this site still continues to chug along with a steady readership despite not having new articles posted regularly. It must have something to do with the content written and posted here over the last six years. I missed writing anything for this site’s 6th birthday on March 6th. Happy Birthday!
Over recent months I have still been writing and very busy on writing type activities. Late last year I was offered a lecturing position at the university where I recently achieved my Master of Arts degree. This has meant a great deal of time in writing and preparing the lectures. My lectures are designed to help students new to tertiary studies on how to research a topic and then turn this into an academic essay. I am pleased that this is going really well.
More recently I have been asked to lecture in children’s literature to student teachers studying at the same university. This is an area I am very passionate about and have significant qualifications in this area. Not only do I write children’s stories, I have 35 years of classroom experience in using children’s literature to enhance student development. Furthermore, about a quarter of that time was spent as a teacher librarian. I’m really looking forward to teaching this extra unit in second semester.
Another thing I have been doing recently is getting back to reading more books. Over recent years the amount of reading I have done has shifted from books to more online material. I plan to redress that imbalance in the coming year or so; there are so many great books that I haven’t read yet – or wish to reread.
Another pressure upon my time for writing here since January has been my church life. Our pastor resigned unexpectedly in January and as one of the Eldership team it has been my responsibility to see that programmes still continue to move along. This has involved some preaching – a sermon takes many hours to write and prepare – a few extra meetings, and writing material, including devotional style editorials, for our weekly newsletter.
I trust I’ll find time to add new articles here on a regular basis in the coming weeks and months.