And she’s only 11!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Another idea from last week’s Big Fresh newsletter from Choice Literacy came in the form of a blog suggestion. This post from Reading Vacation is a wonderful post to share with students OR parents. The post talks about how this blogger chooses appropriate books. . .but to completely understand why that matters, you need to know a little about the blog and the blogger. . .
Reading Vacation is a blog written by Melina, an 11-year-old girl who loves books, loves to read, and isn’t ashamed of either trait! Melina’s blog is a pretty typical book blog. She posts reviews, author interviews, and even hosts a few contests (which is interesting because she can’t even enter contests until she turns 13 in two years!). As a book blogger myself, I’m pretty impressed by the content that Melina posts. She offers honest reviews, with enough detail to give you a feel for the book, but without giving too much away. However, it is the teacher in me that is most impressed with this blog. I work with 10 and 11 year olds, and if they could write like this, I would be thrilled! While blogging isn’t a super-technical form of writing, well-written posts do require organization, attention to detail, and a firm grasp of grammar rules.

Ok. . .back to the point. . .
The post linked above explains how this 11-year-old blogger selects books that are appropriate for her. She is a fan of young adult literature, but admits that several YA books have too much swearing, too many romantic scenes that are too mature for her, or they may just be too scary.
Even if you only check out this post, Reading Vacation is worth a look. Melina definitely has her blogging figured out – a fact supported by the 624 followers she has acquired (as of 2/1/11) – and could provide a model or a resource for the ‘tween readers we work with!

Is It Really Appropriate?

Last week, I got my “The Big Fresh Newsletter” email from Choice Literacy, and I LOVE the concept this month. It was entitled, “What’s Appropriate?” As a fifth grade teacher, this is a question that is constantly at the forefront of book selection for my students. Even though most fifth graders think that they are “all grown up,” they just aren’t. I am a huge fan of Young Adult fiction (huge), but much of it just isn’t appropriate for fifth graders, and it certainly isn’t appropriate for younger kids.

One of my closest friends teaches first grade, and she encounters even bigger problems in this area. She often has parents saying things like, “But he/she can read at a 5th grade level!” Which leads me to the point of this post. . . Just because they can, does NOT mean they should! Much of the literature available for older readers has content that is either too advanced, too mature, or too complex for younger children. That is why the books are written for older audiences.
One of the links in this Big Fresh newsletter addresses this matter exactly (and in fact, is called, “Just Because They Can, Doesn’t Mean They Should”). Enjoy the read, and feel free to pass it on to parents!
Just Because They Can Doesn't Mean They Should: Choosing Age-Appropriate Books for Literature Circles
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