Sunday, April 12, 2009

What to Do Before You Drop Everything (and read)

Today, April 12, is DEAR day in the USA. DEAR stands for Drop Everything and Read.

Every day is DEAR day on the Book Chook blog. "Drop Everything" is the part I like: WHAM! drop housework, drop tidying your desk, drop cleaning out the vulture's cage (that's a King Vulture in the picture) - drop everything, and read instead. (Okay, maybe not drop your trousers or your pet rabbit!)

If you need to find something for you and your kids to read, here's what to do before you drop everything: 

Book Chook Methods for Finding a New Book

Browse at the Library or Book Store

I've found lots of great stuff to read this way. I just look along a shelf until I see something on a book spine that says "pick me up". I slide my bookmark into the row of books, so I can put the book back easily. After I've picked the book up, I read the blurb on the back, read some of the first page, maybe skim to another part of the book and read a paragraph or two. If I like what I see, I check it out. If not, I replace it on the shelf and pick up my bookmark for the next time.

The problem with this way of browsing is, it's time consuming. The shelf just has a row of books, usually in alphabetical order. The shelf doesn't know what sort of books I like to read. The good thing about browsing at a library, or a bookstore, is that it lets me hold the book in my hands so I can look at whatever I want inside it.

Browse Online

Amazon is a great site for online browsing. If you like picture books, you can enter "picture books" in the search bar, then use the Look Inside feature to get a peek inside the book. Lots of people write reviews on Amazon, or if you find a book you like the look of, you can open another browser window and search for a review by one of the great kidlitosphere reviewers.

The problem with browsing online, is that it only lets you look at certain pages, so you don't get to read where, or as much as, you want. And some of the sites are so huge, where do you start if you don't have much time?

Find Other Books You Like

There are several great sites online that suggest other books based on your child's preferences. At
Charles County Public Library for instance, there are 14 other books suggested for a child who enjoyed reading Captain Underpants. The Reading Zone has some great links, or try Scholastic's Book Wizard. Googling "readalike children" will bring lots more ideas.

Read Book Reviews

We all react to books differently. Some people like Enid Blyton's books. Some people think they should be banned. A book review is one person's opinion of a book. So how can a book review guide what I read?

It takes a little while, but after you've read several pieces by the one reviewer, you start to get a "feeling" as to whether or not you agree with their opinions. Of course, it will never work all the time, but there are blog reviewers whose recommendations I take seriously, because they "match" with mine on other books we've read. I try to read several reviews about a book I'm considering, so I can make an informed choice.
Kidlitosphere Central will start you on a journey to find blog reviewers you like. 

Phone a Friend

This includes friends in real life, as well as online friends. Your local librarian and book store owner will do their very best to find something you would like to read.

Book Chook Combo

This is my favourite method of finding new books. I start at one of the
great children's literature blogs and find a book I like the sound of. I search for it online to get some more feedback. Sometimes the publisher's or author's own site will tell me more. Then I open my local library's database and search for it there. If it's available, I reserve it. If not, and I really want to buy it, I search for local or online places to get it and make it mine, all mine!

Now you can Drop Everything, and READ to your heart's content!
(Photo credit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/dracobotanicus/3392148880/)

6 comments:

  1. I'm in the U.S. and I didn't even know it was DEAR day. Thanks!

    Recent blog post: If You Think Your Kids Are Funny...

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  2. There are so many special days, weeks, months, Corey - it's hard to keep track of them!

    Recent blog post: What to Do Before You Drop Everything (and read)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jen Robinson13 April, 2009

    Thanks for another great post, Susan, and for the Kidlitosphere portal references, too.

    Recent blog post: Drop Everything and Read Day

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  4. I'm off to read your DEAR post right now, Jen!

    Recent blog post: What to Do Before You Drop Everything (and read)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cathy C. Hall14 April, 2009

    When I worked in the schools and it was DEAR time (every day for 20 minutes-if a student didn't have his book, he'd have to read his textbook or maybe the dictionary), kids would scramble around and pick up books off the floor, from their neighbor's desk, the trash can...you get the picture. I'd walk around the classroom, checking my studious little readers, and lean over casually and turn the books right side up :-)

    Recent blog post: Finding Something Friday on Bella Online

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh Cathy, that made me laugh so much!

    Recent blog post: What to Do Before You Drop Everything (and read)

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