All tagged Reading

Guest Post: Caroline Starr Rose on Young Readers and the Magic of Verse Novels

Today I'm thrilled to welcome to Clear Eyes, Full Shelves novelist Caroline Starr Rose, author of the critically-acclaimed May B and a new novel, Blue Birds, both middle grade historical novels in verse.

I posed this question to her: Some of my favorite verse novels are in the middle grade category--why do you think the verse format works so well for young readers? And she had a great answer for me!

Young readers are still open minded. They haven’t been around long enough to decide they don’t like a certain writing style before trying it. While I’ve heard adults talk about how strange a verse novel looks on the page and feels as reading material, I’ve never heard a kid say this. 

Links + Things: Colbert on The Great Gatsby, Mean Girling, The Importance of Pleasure Reading, Guinea Pigs in Outfits, Cheapo Books, Discounted Tablets + More

Better late than never, right? Welcome to this week's edition of Links + Things!

This week I've got a bunch of interestingness for you, including guinea pigs wearing cute outfits, a fabulous discussion of the practice of mean girling, the importance of reading for fun and some good discounts on ebooks and Nooks/Kindles.

This Week's Video of Awesome

I had to choke back tears of laughter watching Levar Burton explain The Great Gatsby to Stephen Colbert and Carey Muligan.

Required Reading

Reading for pleasure leads to greater self-understanding, the fostering of social relations, greater well-being, improved cognitive and academic development, and a higher disposition to participate in civic society…

The Canadian government's National Reading Campaign commissioned a study about the benefits of reading in terms of, well, its impact on society. What is most interesting is that it reveals that reading for fun reaps many rewards--yet another reason to think twice before deriding anyone's choice in reading material.

Links + Things: Goats Sing Your Favorite Pop Songs; A Closer Look at That First Book Infographic; Facebook's Sexism; Cheapo Books; and More

It bothers me that I even have to say this, but I must remind everyone that I link to things here because I find them interesting, thought-provoking or bring a perspective I hadn't thought of previously. Diverse viewpoints are important in this world of online media and social networking where issues are generally treated in a black and white, right or wrong manner.

Just because I link to something doesn't mean that I've "endorsed" (ha, funny word) the opinion.

Except the funny videos, of course--those I wholeheartedly endorse.


First, a bit of funny-slash-crazy to start. All week, my husband has been sending me links to videos of pop songs reinterpreted with, um... goats. Yes, GOATS!!! ​Screaming goats! My two favorites are below. The first is for Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer, the second Taylor Swift's I Knew You Were Trouble. I dare you to not die laughing.

Adventures in Substitute Teaching

 I love reading. I love words. I love the worlds created in my brain from images emanating out of words. That’s why I became an English teacher.

What a perfect job for me! I spent my career promoting books, themes, poetry, writing, thinking about literature—it’s such a complex and beautiful compulsion that I could, but won’t, go on and on and on.

Via Flickr Commons - A 1950s advertisement featuring the “ideal teacher.” Click through for image credits.

I retired three years ago and now revel in my free time to do all that I love: reading, writing, talking about literature, and gardening (which actually has nothing to do with reading). For me, this is fantastic, although I came to a point this fall where I decided I wanted to connect again with kids and young adults.  

I began substituting. Once or twice a week, I get to spend time back in the classroom—and I’m loving it.

One evening the phone rang with a request to substitute for a middle school learning resource room teacher. Ummmm… I taught high school students for twenty-six years, no middle school kids were ever part of my classroom teaching experience. I almost declined the job offer but pulled back a bit and thought,

“Wait a minute! What a snob I’m being. I’ve worked with so many students with reading and writing difficulties, with second language students and students who flat out don’t like English class. I’ve taught college prep classes too. I can do this!”

When I came into the classroom the next day, I was surprised that there were only six sixth grade boys. The “regular” teacher was there to greet me. When she discovered my background and experience she told me what reading she wanted done and suggested that I come up with my own writing prompts for the boys.

To my surprise, I had a great time with these boys, especially when it came to writing.

I had a couple of good ideas—or what I thought were good ideas—for prompts. Six sets of eyes stared back at me, none with with an inkling of inspiration. One boy took pity on me and signaled to me. When I leaned down to talk to him, he whispered to me his idea for a prompt,

“Tell them they’re trapped in the desert, the sun’s sizzling and they look up and see a sand dune that’s made of ice cream.”