Family and community literacy updates

Bookwagon in November

We were caught by the time change this week.  By 5:30, children were peering hopelessly into dark boxes of books and asking, "Don't you even have a flashlight or something?"  Time to dig out the lights, I guess.  In any case, it was an okay night.  We picked up another new family.  I lent a pile of those Sookie Stackhouse / True Blood novels that have gotten so popular.  Junie B. Jones was, I guess, the other big draw of the night.

In other news, we're quickly getting booked up with Christmas parties and workshops and such.  In fact, I think I have exactly two free weekends between now and Christmas.  In some cases we're reading, in others offering our craft-art-book-blanket corner.  We're giving away books in one neighbourhood, and maybe contributing to a basket in another....  I'm not sure how much I enjoy these things, but I do value the chance to talk with some parents we might not otherwise see.

Finally, a young mom who struggles with reading stopped by to see me. She returned the PRACE Pageturners I'd lent her as well as some children's books.  (Though not all - her young son steadfastly refused to give back Five Little Monkeys.)

She told me things were a little better, and she identified some strategies she was using.  She let her son hold his own book when she read another to him, which worked out for both of them.  She had purchased a "hooked on phonics" type kit (I only winced a little).  She pre-read books with her partner and had him help her with difficult words.  She had created a list of irregularly spelled words.

All this was great stuff, and I told her so, adding only that it would help if she wrote something everyday.  "Like a diary?" she asked.

"Sure," I said.  Then, suddenly uncomfortable with the prospect of having recommended maudlin journaling, I added, "Or about the birds in your yard everyday.  Or about your son.  Or the weather - you can write about anything."

"Call," I said, "if there's anything we can do to help" - knowing she never would.

Well, okay.  In terms of family literacy, things are better for her than they were before.  That's not nothing.

One last note.  I've been a little off blogging for a month or so.  There are a couple of reasons for that - some more dramatic and interesting than others.  One of the ordinary but dominating reasons is that Google redesigned Blogger, making it extremely unresponsive (i.e., things don't work when you click) and unpleasant to use.  In fact, I've giving serious thought to making the jump to another platform - which, in practical terms means Wordpress, I suppose.  I'd been staying with Google in the hopes of eventual, tighter integration between the several tools I find useful (Youtube, Picasa, Docs, etc.) and Google+, but...  that seems less and less likely as Google (like everyone else) steadily retools to be mostly about audio-visual presentations in a mobile format.  I'll keep you posted, of course.  Just an FYI.  If you're going to start blogging, I can no longer recommend Blogger as a useful platform.

Bookwagons after dark

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