Happy “Read an eBook” Day!!

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How are you enjoying your eBooks on this special day? Do you sit in a comfy spot? Do you share them with friends or students? See what others are doing on this day of reading here. We hope you use eBooks almost everyday in your classroom. Rourke has a robust list of titles to help you integrate eBooks into your classroom or library. After spending this special day reading, reach out to us for help on using eBooks in your school.

Happy Reading!

Colleen’s Classroom: Building Student Stamina

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Guest blogger and Rourke author, Colleen Hord, shares the struggles a new school year brings for students and staff. How can you get your students “back into the swing of things?” Colleen explains the importance of keeping a schedule and reading in the summer months.

Each new school year brings with it the excitement of the first day. By the end of the first day however, my excitement seems to wane along with my energy level. By the time I arrive home I’m too exhausted to think about cooking, my feet are killing me, and I am asleep on the couch by eight o’clock. What happened?  I didn’t have enough stamina to get me through the day.  

My summer schedule is much less demanding than the rigorous pace and routine I’m in when school is in session. Beach walks, book reading in the hammock, late nights and lazy mornings don’t do much for building stamina. Just like an athlete out of training, I was out of shape for the demands of a full day of teaching.

So what about our students and their stamina? If we, as adults, need to build up our stamina each year, it only stands to reason how much more so for our students. Many students don’t even pick up a book over the summer much less sit for any length of time. Our students need to be given opportunities to get back into shape and rebuild their stamina for the demands of their school day.

Teaching stamina has to be done in increments.  Athletes don’t reach their best performance all at once. They set and reset goals as they work toward their target. Students need to be given the same opportunity for building their stamina whether it is in reading, or staying on the page in writing.  Spending as much time on teaching stamina as we do other concepts is critical for successful learning.

 Stamina is sometimes overlooked as a building block for successful learning. With all that is being asked of our students, teaching them to remain focused and engaged is critical. Stamina is also needed when tasks are difficult. When our students have enough stamina to keep working on something even when it doesn’t come easy, we have given them a skill that will serve them not only in the classroom, but for life.

Next summer, I think I will give myself a couple of weeks to get in shape before that first day of school. Perhaps I’ll start by going to bed at a decent hour and getting up with the 6 o’clock alarm.  Maybe, just maybe, if I start getting in shape before school starts, I’ll have enough energy to go out for dinner and celebrate a successful first day.

SSR: What It Means and Why You Should Be Doing It

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Sustained Silent Reading (SSR) was a movement in the 1960′s and 1970′s where time was set aside allowing students to read; nothing else. There weren’t book reports attached or questions and quizzes. Students weren’t assigned a book but rather chose one that interested them. The goal was to create life long readers who found pleasure in reading. This movement is endangered if not extinct in many school districts. Why? Research at the time could not obtain data because they did not have a structure that was testable. Today everything is tested and there are many tests available to obtain data on programs such as SSR. So why aren’t there more independent reading programs in schools? Read what Joanne Yatvin, past president of the National Council of Teachers of English and Principal of the Year in Wisconsin, has to say about the matter here.

Meet Colleen

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Someone once said that if you do what you love you will never work a day in your life. If that’s true, then for the past thirty years I guess I haven’t been working.  I can’t think of anything more rewarding than being an educator. When teaching writing, my students love to hear about my book writing for Rourke and how I go through the same writing process as they do when they are writing in the classroom.

ColleenHord 009I received my Master’s degree from the University of Portland in Educational Leadership and I’ve had the opportunity to teach grades K-6 across the country. I have also served as a reading specialist, writing coach, vice-principal and staff developer.

When I am not with my students or collaborating with fellow teachers, I enjoy kayaking, taking long walks on the beach, and of course, reading and writing.

The New Debate: Print or eBook?

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Our new great debate in schools and libraries is whether print books or eBooks are best for the students. Financially, eBooks seem to be the best choice: There is no way to damage the book, it can stand the test of time, and many publishers will update the eBook or fix any mistakes electronically. But print books are real and can be touched, held, or hugged. There are more reasons why print is better for reading in this article found on SLJ’s website, Eight Reasons Why Print Trumps Digital for Reading by Annie Murphy Paul. What is your preference? Is your school or library looking to incorporate more eBooks into their collections? Whatever your preference, Rourke can help you find titles that are a perfect fit for your school or library.

 

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