Hi friends! This blog is for teachers and families- all for the sheer joy of literacy. When we are enthusiastic about reading and writing our students and our own kids become excited to read and write. I hope that we all can be models for those in our care- how did you show your passion for reading, writing, learning, language, or words today?? It's in those small, daily moments that we teach kids to love literacy.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reading, Pinning, Doing (5)

It's a lazy, rainy day here in Oakland, California.

I just finished Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan. I enjoyed it a lot, even though it didn't give me the closure I wanted. The characters aren't very likable either. But, it felt real. Another reviewer said the characters feel one dimensional, but sometimes that's how you feel (or I feel) with my (beloved) family. You create patterns and expectations of behavior over years and years in relationship, and it's hard to break free of these behaviors- even when you try your darnedest. Family members almost become this caricature you've created and it's hard to see them any other way. This book, for me, was about finding happiness, peace with painful memories, and reconciliation.  There isn't one character you absolutely love- but I kinda like it that way- for this book, a least.
From Goodreads:The Kelleher family has been coming to Maine for sixty years. Their beachfront cottage,won on a barroom bet after the war, is a place where children run in packs, showers are taken outdoors, and threadbare sweaters are shared on chilly nights. It is also a place where cocktail hour follows morning mass, nosy grandchildren snoop in drawers, and ancient grudges simmer below the surface. As Maggie, Kathleen, and Anne Marie descend on Alice and the cottage, each woman brings her own baggage—a secret pregnancy, a terrible crush, and a deeply held resentment for misdeeds of the past.

By turns uproarious and achingly sad, Maine unveils the sibling rivalry, alcoholism, social climbing, and Catholic guilt at the center of one family, along with the abiding, often irrational love that keeps them coming back, every summer, to the family house, and to one another.

On January 1st I posted about a list of 10 books I wanted to challenge myself to read this year. See my Personal Reading Challenge. I think I'll start with The Story of Lucy Gault by William Trevor next.

Here's a preview from Goodreads:
The stunning new novel from highly acclaimed author William Trevor is a brilliant, subtle, and moving story of love, guilt, and forgiveness. The Gault family leads a life of privilege in early 1920s Ireland, but the threat of violence leads the parents of nine-year-old Lucy to decide to leave for England, her mother's home. Lucy cannot bear the thought of leaving Lahardane, their country house with its beautiful land and nearby beach, and a dog she has befriended. On the day before they are to leave, Lucy runs away, hoping to convince her parents to stay. Instead, she sets off a series of tragic misunderstandings that affect all of Lahardane's inhabitants for the rest of their lives.

ITunes U has a lot of great resources for life-long learners and teachers- all available to download for free. I was particularly interested in this series of webinars about teaching English Language Learners from the CA Department of Ed.
Improving Education for English Learners- Webinar available on ITunes U

 Also, I liked the idea of Sight Word Sandwiched from the blog, Buzzing Along in First Grade. I have a few 1st graders who are having a hard time learning their sight words, and thought this would be a fun and effective way to review the words quickly. Visit Vicky's blog to check out her other great ideas for teaching first graders how to read.