Posts tagged ‘imagination’
I always wanted my kids to be readers. Actually, let me rephrase: I was determined that if I did nothing else in my career as a mother, my kids would be readers. My own “book lover” credentials are pretty solid – editor dad, literary agent mom, elementary school career spent holed up in a closet writing (bad) poetry. Throw in the fact that I put books in the same category as food and water, and that pretty much sums it up.
I can’t say there was a real philosophical underpinning to my determination to transfer my love of books to my sons. I just knew they
HAD to be readers, because that love of reading would connect us always. And I knew it was good for them without having googled a bunch of educational research.
I’m sure there are many paths to the same result. This is what I did, and how it worked. - Anna Barber, Scribble Press co-founder and CEO
- Be a reader. I regularly, consistently, frequently read in front of my kids. I read memoirs on my iPad, the New Yorker, The New York Times, paperback business books, hardcover fiction from the library. They have always connected “Mom reading” with “Mom relaxing.”
- Read out loud. I do this sporadically. I mean, I work and have a crazy life, and sometimes can’t stomach even 20 minutes of Mary Poppins or whatever it is. Or I’ve been talking all day and just don’t want to hear my own voice anymore. I know parents who have read all of Harry Potter out loud. Good for them – I can’t imagine. We read the first book, plus a few others – enough to make it a regular thing.
- Have lots of books around. Books are home decor, they are a fingerprint, a personal history. While I love my iPad (and my Kindle and my Nook too) kids engage better with the actual paper copies that don’t also come loaded with Angry Birds. Make sure the lower shelves are full of stuff they might like – your old geology textbook, an Encyclopedia, picture books, comic books, whatever.
- Don’t be precious about what they read. You may have a vision of your ten-year old digging into Tolstoy, but be happy when he turns down a tv show to read Captain Underpants. It’s going to lead somewhere good, I promise. The potty jokes can’t go on forever.
- Go to the library and check out a ridiculous amount of books. This is something we’ve done consistently, every two weeks, for years. I let each child check out AS MANY books as he wants. They love the freedom of picking something because they MIGHT be interested – with no pressure. It’s a treat. As a side note, pay your late fees and round up. Donate if you can. We need our libraries.
- Talk about reading as a reward, not work. If you say “read 30 minutes then you can play,” you are sending a different message about reading than if you say, “clear your plate from the table and then you can read.” Scheduling reading time, hoping it will then stick, doesn’t work – in my experience.
As I sit here typing this my eight year old is reading THE GREAT BRAIN and my six year old is reading a book about Stink, Judy Moody’s little brother. It wasn’t always this way. They weren’t so excited to go to the library the first 20 times. I stuck with my program, and about two years ago the light went on for my older son. Just last month, it happened for my younger one. ”Mom?” he said. ”We are rich in books.” Yes, I said. Yes, we are. And there is no better way to be rich.
Hope everyone had a great summer! At Scribble Press, we’ve stayed busy working on some exciting things, including a brand spankin’ new INSPIRATION STATION! We created the Inspiration Station because we wanted to give kids more tools – fun pictures, drawings, words and other materials – to help spark their imaginations and creativity in an inviting setting. Hopefully all the things they see will aid in their own self-expression!
Here’s a little tour of what you’ll find at the Inspiration Station:
Laminated photo cards – You’ll find hundreds of photos to help develop the who, what, where, when and why of a story, or just to help with illustrations. Elephant in a dress, anyone?
Story starters, twist ideas, and synonym cards – “And then, all of a sudden, I sprouted wings.” Now you’ll never run out of interesting plot turns or get stuck thinking of the perfect word to describe something.
Inklings – These cards provide step by step drawing instructions for dozens of popular items, from spaceships to castles to dolphins.
Story stones – For the more tactile scribblers, each hand-painted stone contains a single word to help get those creative wheels turning!
What do you think of Inspiration Station? We’re always looking for new things to add, so please share your ideas!
One of the great things about kids is their wild imaginations. Not only do they have hilarious and unique ideas, they aren’t self-conscious like most adults grow to become. For the most part, kids don’t care if their stories sound silly or are too fanciful – they just want to have fun and share their ideas. It’s this combination that makes reading all our kid authors’ books so enjoyable, and seeing their faces when they receive their published copy so exciting.
Here are a few funny excerpts from some of our most popular books from our library of books by kids, for kids:
Katie Short Legs by Amy
The old couple named their child Katie Short Legs because she was so short and they liked the name Katie.
The Time I Went Real Wrong About Tights by Alex
I scoured through my closet of 156 pairs of tights. I looked at some purple and pink tights – a little too flashy. My poodle tights? Too girly. My candy cane tights? No, too winter holiday.
Happy Birthday Aunt Tricia by Emilia and Valentina
You’re pretty like a rainbow. You smell like a birthday cake.
Another Chance by Daniela
Then Olivia put on sparkles and sparkles and sparkles and sparkles and just so many sparkles!
To read more stories by kid authors, check out the Scribble Press eBook library. It’s free to read and download eBooks, and we’re adding new stories every day!
So, I recently watched J.J. Abrams’ speech on the Mystery Box. Here’s the gist: Grandpa gave Abrams a box and it’s gone unopened for decades. His conclusion? Sometimes the best mysteries are the things you’ll never answer.
For someone like myself, and the generation of kids who were bottle-fed instant gratification, there is almost instantaneous frustration at not having answers at the fingertips. We tear open gift wrap, peek at the endings of books, and google breaking news events to imbibe facts before they’re even verified. Our appetite to know now is insatiable. So, when our first ever mystery class at Scribble Press began with the arrival of a mysterious box, I was not sure how the students would react.
I was pleasantly surprised.
With detective pads inside, the package instructed students to begin honing their detective skills in order to solve the mysterious disappearance of Miss Mia Terious and a collection of priceless books from the Library of Congress. That the box and subsequent letters with clues had no postmark did not seem to bother anyone. Instead, everyone has managed to suspend disbelief and join us on our leisurely stroll through a slowly-unfolding story. It’s refreshing. Every week, the kids take out their magnifying glass and examine clues as the adventure inspires their own creative endeavors.
Writing is so amazing that way. It’s a journey that can’t be rushed. Like any good detective, we must unravel the story in our heads before it meanders its way onto the paper. When we make time to let it happen organically, the results are extraordinary. Our mystery writers this semester are thinking critically about how the pieces of the case fit together; at the same time, they are filing away devices that may enhance their own tales. I liken my job to that of Dumbledore – I get to teach the magicians the magic. It’s fun to be a writing instructor.
Of course, next week, there is a box arriving for the kids with the singular instruction that the package NOT be opened until December. Will the heretofore unseen frustration flood our class or will the kids embrace the pace of a story not meant to be consumed in one sitting? Something tells me we’re going to be okay.
Let’s face it. The moments before the wrapping paper is torn away are the best. I intend to help my students milk it. After all, the anticipation, the unknown, the possibilities of what may come – they are the stuff of great storymaking.