Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Raise A Reader

Yesterdayday was Canada's National Raise-A-Reader Day. Canwest Raise-a-Reader is a national campaign to generate funds for local literacy programs and increase awareness about the importance of encouraging family literacy. The Raise-a-Reader program has raised $12.7 million for literacy beneficiaries across Canada since it began in 2002. Through the volunteer efforts of people across Canada, Raise-a-Reader is able to provide the necessary funding and resources to family literacy programs, libraries and school libraries in the greatest need. ... The CanWest Foundation

I have loved reading ever since I was a little girl, but I haven't had much time to read lately. Work-related issues have been so stressful, I come home from work and collapse in a heap in my big, cozy chair. I have had a couple of books on the go this summer, but I just can't seem to get to them. In fact, I have been too busy to blog, and I noticed my "followers" numbers are steadily decreasing, probably because I have not had a chance to visit anyone.

But in honor of Raise-a-Reader Day, I have a little quiz for everyone. Well, actually I pilfered borrowed it from one of our local newspapers, but I thought it looked interesting. I'll go first.

"What was your favorite book?" "Cannery Row" by John Steinbeck.

"Who was your favorite fictional character?" "Doc", the marine biologist in "Cannery Row", who is one of the most wonderful characters ever written.

"What book are you reading now?" "The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe" by J. Randy Taraborrelli. It is an unbelievably sad story about a woman who didn't believe in herself.

"Where do you like to read?" In my big, cozy chair, or in bed just before I fall asleep.

"Turn to the last paragraph you read, and type the first two sentences in the second paragraph." Also at this time, Marilyn continued to receive letters from her mother, Gladys, while in England. Gladys seemed somewhat better, judging from one she wrote, dated July 25: "I am very unhappy, daughter. I wish there was some way to join you in England where I am sure we would have a lovely time. May God be with you and may He find a way for us to be together again very soon. Love, Mother."

I have fears that computers, television and video games have taken children away from the world of books. I think it should be essential for all parents to turn off the electronics and encourage their children to read. The world of books is a magical kingdom that nothing else can replace.


Charles Gramlich said...

My favorite book is The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. My favorite character is probably Travis McGee from the John D. MacDonald series. And I read everywhere and anywhere.

Sarah Berthume said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deb said...

books are so wonderful...a great way to have an adventure with out leaving your comfy chair....

Susan said...

"What was your favorite book?" "To Kill A Mockingbird"

"Who was your favorite fictional character?" Scout and Gem Finch.

"What book are you reading now?"
Oh no! I am between books!

"Where do you like to read?" In bed before falling to sleep is the best.

"Turn to the last paragraph you read, and type the first second paragraph.""But when our sacred site was under threat, I had to find my voice. Our connection is far deeper than just with the land as our home: it is our family. It is our parents, our grandparents. When we pray, we say this is who takes care of us, who nurtures us. It takes care of us the same way a mother or a father would. And in return we make our offerings, we make our ceremonies to keep things in balance. I had to say something for the sake of my people, for the sake of our traditions, for the sake of our ancestors. My ancestors have struggled enough. They struggled just for me to be here, to draw my first breath of air. We can't have this anymore. We can't have this anymore."

Nicole said...

My mother always read to me as a child. I loved (and still do) Anne of Green Gables and the rest of the books in the series. She read them all to me and when I read them again when I was older I always thought of our time together.
I try to read to my children any time they ask me. We like to go to the book store and pick out a new book. I think it is time well spent with my kids.

I wanted to read the book on Marilyn Monroe but my library does not have it and current circumstances means I won't be buying it. I also belong to You leave books in public places with a note in them and whoever finds them can go to the website and put in the ID number of the book to see where it came from. I have yet to find one but I have left a lot around my town and I love to read the comments from the people that find them.

Whitney Lee said...

I cannot remember a time in my life when I didn't read. We traveled a great deal and books were something portable (& quiet). It didn't matter if it was the middle of the night on an international flight-I had my book.
I fear that you are right about electronics. Unfortunately they have taken the place not only of reading but of all sorts of physical activities as well.
I try to read with my daughter but at two she is much more interested in all the pictures. Still, it's a start. If she learns by my example she will be a voracious reader. These days she often climbs up on the sofa with me with one of her books in hand, and we cuddle as we silently turn the pages of our books.

TomCat said...

"What was your favorite book?" Stranger in a Strange Land.

"Who was your favorite fictional character?" Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.

"What book are you reading now?" The Return of Depression Economics and the Crisis of 2008 by Paul Krugman

"Where do you like to read?" On the bus.

"Turn to the last paragraph you read, and type the first second paragraph." I don't understand what the first second paragraph in the last paragraph is.

Land of shimp said...

Jo, never fear, there are still readers in the world! When kids grow up with books, they tend to continue to read. My son reads like a fiend, too.

"What was your favorite book?" There are too many to name! I'll go with Tom Wolfe's A Man in Full for right now.

"Who was your favorite fictional character?" At first I couldn't answer this for the same reasons, then I remember: Red from Berke Breathed's Red Ranger Came Calling.

"What book are you reading now?" The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I really like the authors ability to turn an unexpected phrase. It won the Pulitzer, and it's easy to see why.

"Where do you like to read?" In the family room, on the couch, or in bed.

"Turn to the last paragraph you read, and type the first second paragraph" "Damn it!" Sammy gave the door a feeble kick. "It's past noon and we haven't drawn a line. Christ!" They would have to go back to the Krammler Building and ask to work at the rutted tables in the offices of Racy Publications, a course that would inevitably bring them within the baleful circumference of George Deasey's gaze.

robert said...

So many parents told me not to read much with my small child, as he might become dizzy afterwards... well, until now we do read every evening before going to be one, two, three of his small books, some of them even more than once.
With regard to me: favourite book (always and forever) The unbareable lightness of Being, by M. Kundera; favourite character (always and for ever) Don Quichote, whom I represent many times quiet well.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Was Gladys Marilyn Monroe's biological mother, or the foster mother of Norma Jean Baker? I've always heard that she lived in many foster homes growing up.

My first love was Sydney Carton from "A Tale of Two cities." He was the man few have ever compared to.

susie said...

I think reading is the most important thing a child can learn. With the ability to read comes the ability to learn about anything and everything. That's why, even tho I don't have kids at home anymore, I have shelves of kids books for the grandkids when they come over, and I even check out kids books from the library for them.

My favorite book(s) are the Harry Potter books. I have read most of them several times. There is just so much that you can imagine while reading them.

Amy said...

"What was your favorite book?" Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. We just watched a great bio-documentary on PBS.

"Who was your favorite fictional character?" Cathy in East of Eden - I had dreams about her, so maybe she was the most memorable. I loved Ann in Ann of Green Gables.

"What book are you reading now?" The Wilderness World of John Muir, edited by Edwin Way Teale

"Where do you like to read?" In my favorite chair or outside under the umbrella.

"Turn to the last paragraph you read, and type the first second paragraph." From the top of a hill on the north side of Lake Mendora I gained a last wistful, lingering view of the beautiful University grounds and buildings where I had spent so many hungry and happy and hopeful days. There with streaming eyes I bade my blessed Alma Mater farewell. But I was only leaving one University for another, the Wisconsin University for the University of the Wilderness.

Firefly said...

We are very fortunate that both our kids love books and stories. Chaos Boy learned to read this year and is doing very very well at it, so it seems that he will enjoy reading as much as I do.

Russell said...

Bravo! One of the highlights of my week is getting a REAL New York Times and reading it. I don't like to read on the computer -- but I confess I am doing more of it.

Regardless, nothing beats spreading the paper out and reading it with a hot cup of coffee.

Likewise, I like having a book in my hands, turning the pages (which I do slowly) and just savoring the story.

Favorite book? That is like picking your favorite child! Well, okay, I only have one child....

I like Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser. But ask me tomorrow and I will probably have a different answer!

J Randy said...

Thank you so much for reading my book about Marilyn! I really appreciate it.

Shahid Mukadam said...

I like the concept of raise a reader. I stay in India...and for some reason...not many people read.....infact I am gonna suggest someone about this idea...lets see where we go...
Btw you got a gr8 blog

Jo said...

Charles, I have never read The Snow Leopard, and I have always meant to read it. Thanks for the reminder.

Sarah, yes, I have often thought the same thing. I try to avoid the Mommy blogs, however, :-)

Deb, I know...! When I was a child, I travelled the world through books.

Susan, "To Kill a Mockingbird" is one of my favorite books too. Russell did a post on it recently. That looks like a very interesting book you are reading now.

Nicole, if you lived near me, I would definitely lend you my Marilyn Monroe book. It is amazing. And yes "Anne of Green Gables" was on of my favorites too.

Whitney, it sounds as if you have started your daughter off with some very good habits. Books will become an integral part of her life, because of her early start.

Tom, sorry, that was a typo. I just realized that. Oops. I loved "Grapes of Wrath" too, but of course, it was written by my favorite author -- Steinbeck.

Alane, I am always looking for a good book to read, so I will take your suggestion of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay". Unfortunately, though, I seem to have veered away from fiction and read more non-fiction these days.

Robert, I had heard parents say that reading too much can strain your eyes, but never that it can make you dizzy. Goodness! And yes, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" was amazing, wasn't it?

Hearts, Gladys was Marilyn's biological mother, and they had a very strange love/hate relationship. They also looked very much alike, and were alike in many ways. Both of their stories are very sad.

Susie, yes, the Harry Potter books are fun, aren't they? I am finding that Phinnaeus looks through my bookshelves now when he comes to visit. And Marigold is reading the books for her age group, so it's great to see them reading.

Amy, "Angle of Repose" -- I'm going to have to look that up. Another great suggestion! And yes, East of Eden was a great book -- again by Steinbeck, my favorite author.

Firefly, oh yes, if you can get kids interested in reading at an early age, they will develop the habit all their lives.

Russell, I don't like reading on the computer, either, and I don't know how anyone can do it. I would never own a Kindle. And I love reading the newspaper, somewhere quiet, and going through all the pages.

J Randy, goodness! It's a wonderful book. It's by far the best biography I have read about Marilyn Monroe. What an interesting woman she was, and she never appreciated it.

Shahid, thank you! And yes, reading is very important. It would be wonderful if you could start the same movement in India. Keep me posted as to your progress. :-)

kenju said...

After I read Cannery Row, I devoured everything Steinbeck ever wrote, but I didn't like any of it better than Cannery Row. I think I'll find that one and read it again.

Jo said...

Kenju, omigosh, that comment could have been posted by me. I did the same thing. Have you read "Travels with Charley?"

TomCat said...

Steinbeck is high on my list too.

ivan said...


I fear you are becoming dyslexic.

Oh doG! :)

ivan said...


M. Kundera has shown that literature can truly amaze.

The film is also outstanding.

As one who has tampered with the Seventh Commandment, it is definitely a book for er, adults.

Nose_in_a_book said...

"What was your favorite book?" Sophie's Choice by William Styron

"Who was your favorite fictional character?"
I am torn between the bad witch in The Wickedest Witch in the World
by Beverley Nichols and Charlie in Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes.

"What book are you reading now?"
I have just finished The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. I was surprised by how accessible it was, considering it's more of a treatise than a novel. There were a few long boring speeches but for the most part I enjoyed it and it definitely makes you think about how society works.

"Where do you like to read?"
On the sofa, in bed, on the train, on a lawn...anywhere really. We're planning to buy an armchair soon and the main criterion will be how comfy it is for curling up and reading in.

Reading is hugely important to me and will feature heavily in how I raise my children. I think I will be quite sad if they don't keep the habit.