Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Read Gujarat - Cultivate Reading Habits

Some time ago, I referred to Encourage reading , Trouble shoot areas, choosing Books and reading aloud.

As summer time will be a 'Read Gujarat' Initiative by CM Narendra Modi, some thoughts on reading as you encourage and motivate kids to form the habit of reading.

I find many parents who approached me for Library class, want their children to form the reading habit and have mentioned that they have laid rules for reading and television viewing.

I think, Reading should not be a forced activity but made interesting by narrating, communicating, expressing and showing pictures in the book. Discovering books in a Library or at a store should be a routine. Encourage children by talking 'just books' with added Scrap book fun. Children love to draw and add color while they write a review or part of the story. Even games are fun while reading. Making spelling games, board games, cards and so on. Reading should never be serious and this is no learning. Let kids lighten up. Stories and comics are meant to be fun together. Some kids love fiction, some like poetry whereas some like non fiction. Let the child make his choice.

The most important factor is setting priorities and setting example. If a parent or a teacher is not into the habit of reading, they fail to make it 'fun reading' and even make boring sessions for the kids. Children who see the adults reading follow the footsteps as they are prone to imitate elders. Setting reading priority is even more essential part because reading habits are formed through setting of routine reading sessions. It can be once a week, two hours of every day, half an hour to two.

Moreover, We need to encourage children to write 'Weekly review Journal' of stories they've read with a simple jot down in the scrap like: (It can be a daily review too)

Name of the Book
Name of the Characters in the Book
Best Part I like
Hard Words in the Book
My Opinion or Moral of the story
Lastly, Sign of the Student and Teacher's sign.

Once a week, one review writing and you have 52 reviews ready in a year. Even if the child skips writing, at least there will be 25 book reviews written - five may be beginning efforts but the remaining will be written properly with a little bit of help from the parent or teacher. I have students who've submitted 40 reviews + in a year. In the process, the child improves on reading, narrating and even sharpen language skills and handwriting. If a student dislike review writing, there should be an option to write a letter to a friend telling about the story. Here's Swagat Page with list of students who've read +25 and +40 reviews. You can submit reviews to Kidsfreesouls and get into Global List of Readers on Kidsfreesouls.

Engage kids for creativity with many related activities as reading alone is not enough and it may end up a boring activity. Let the creative juices flow and gradually, the habit of reading is developed! Another idea is for Literature reads. Explore the Literature section of Kidsfreesouls and follow the tips here. Kidsfreesouls has conducted Literature Projects and Fairyland Projects - creative ideas always do help.

Btw, here's a video on Choosing Books and Reading aloud in Kidsfreesouls You Tube.

As most of the children appear for exams in April, here's wishing all the best luck and meanwhile, I chart out all the book recommendations, drop in back to read more on the blog.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids
Guardian of Angels: A Practical Guide to Joyful Parenting


Monday, March 22, 2010

The Woods are Lovely, dark and deep, And I have promises to keep....

"The woods are lovely dark and deep,
And I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep"
- Robert Frost

Robert Frost, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, was born on 26th March 1874 in San Francisco, California, USA. The U.S. Congress voted Frost a gold medal "in recognition of his poetry which has enriched the culture of the United States and the philosophy of the world". (Read more here)

Btw, did you know, Robert Frost wrote a new poem entitled "Dedication" for delivery at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961, but never read it, because the sun's glare upon the snow blinded Frost from seeing the text. Instead, he recited "The Gift Outright" from memory.

I guess, poets are born and totally, a game of word play, rhyme and reason. When I started writing poetry, I referred a lot of poetry books in my Library and later, set to make my own creation which sometimes took an hour or two to pen down a few lines!!! It had to be original, it had to have rhyme schemes, it had to convey a message because when a poet writes, the thoughts flow in those lines. Knowingly or unknowingly, while people write poetry on the web, I have noticed that many of them reveal their inner mind and psychology is all that works to find the character behind those thoughtful revelations.

You can find my Poetry pages and Poetry learning (More will be added soon) and even teach kids on 'How to write Poetry'. If you have written a poetry and wondering what to do (even after putting on Facebook or sending thru mails) - here's Kidsfreesouls 'Your Poetry' Pages for you. Maybe, be an Inspirational Poet too:-)

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Friday, March 19, 2010

This week in environment: Healthy snacks for kids & ewaste of electronics

The recent Earth Talk Question-Answers :

I see a lot of “healthy snacks” being marketed for kids that list “natural flavors” but don’t identify them. Should I use these products?- John Stein, Methuen, MA

"Christine Steendahl of Kid Approved Meals stresses the importance of teaching kids which snacks to eat and which to avoid early in life so that they can sidestep obesity and other health problems altogether. Fruits, nuts and dry cereals, for example, are good alternatives to chips and other junk food."

I work for an office equipment company selling copiers, fax machines, computers and printers. Each year new models come out making old ones obsolete. As a result, we have loads of trade-ins with nowhere to go. What can we do with this old equipment? -- Jeff P., Worcester, MA

"The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition reports that 70 percent of the heavy metals in U.S. landfills are from discarded electronics. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans trash two million tons of unwanted electronics each year -­ six times the amount they recycle.

- In English In Spanish

- ilaxi patel

Newspaper for Kids

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In Environment:Plug in Prius and on Snow removal

The Environment Weekly column, here's this week's two questions in case you missed reading on Kidsfreesouls.

When the plug-in Prius is released, how much electricity will it use? Will my electric bill double if my Prius is plugged in each night? Or will the increase be minimal? Also, will all this recharging put a strain on the existing electricity grid? -- G.C. Marx, Colorado Springs, CO

"According to the blog, electric cars and plug-in hybrids (those that have been converted by owners) currently average about two cents per mile to recharge, while gasoline-only cars average about 10 cents per mile to refuel. Pictured: a Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid demonstration program vehicle at the 2010 Washington, DC Auto Show."

What are the environmental impacts of all the de-icing and snow removal taking place on roads everywhere in the wake of all the recent storms? -- Benjamin P Sander, via e-mail

"Besides salt, removed snow contains accumulated amounts of antifreeze, engine oil, rubber and metal deposits from tire wear, and heaps of plastic litter, cigarette butts and other waste -- all poisonous to local ecosystems no matter where it ends up."

Read the detail answers In English In Spanish

Mistakes and they're apt to happen when we work on deadlines! The last post spoke on different category which do not fall under this blog - hence the delete. You can find the same here.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Women's day - Equal rights, equal opportunities, Progress for All

International Women’s Day is observed on 8 March. The theme of the 2009 observance was “Women and men united to end violence against women and girls." This year, the theme for 2010 is, "Equal rights, equal opportunities: Progress for all" - This year marks the 15th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. In recognition of this important anniversary, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – which is observed worldwide on 8 March – is "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All". says Ban Ki-moon, UN Secreatary General in the recent video on You Tube . It inspires to women to strive for equality and opportunity. It reminds of the rights to women.

In India, women are more likely to get educated with the 'Education for all' and the 'Save girl child' campaign doing its social cause to balance the ratio of girls and boys apart from providing rights to girls to be born and see a beautiful world. Death in childbirth is a common problem all over the world. Violence against women remains a shameful deed and crime is on a rise with abuse power taking its toll on women. The need of the hour is to focus on Security and build peace, sustainability and development.

The decision power of women is sort for as women are more involved in outer issues than home alone. 33% of women will hold place in Indian Parliament as Women's Reservation Bill is to be declared on Women's Day. For more on this, find on Google Search. I am hopeful that India will celebrate an exclusive women's day this year with the passing of the Bill. This day, reminds me of my first media article on Woman, published in print newspapers - Sambhaav and The Times of India. Also, memories of the two Awards that I received to honor me as Outstanding Journalist and Outstanding Personality. Here's International Women's Day page on Kidsfreesouls.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for kids
Author of Guardian of Angels

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Dr Seuss 'Cat in the Hat'

On March 2, 2010, Fans of rhyming and poetic Author paid tribute to the classic works - Dr. Seuss, a children' author and pop culture icon of all times who would have been 97 years on 2nd March 2010, if he was alive today. Theodor (Ted) Seuss Geisel, has over 60 children's books to his pen name. Sixteen of Seuss' works appeared on the 2000 Publisher's Weekly list of bestselling children's books of all time.

He has written and illustrated popular books such as "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas", "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish", Green Eggs and Ham", "Oh the Places You'll Go" and "Cat in the Hat". The Cat in the Hat catapulted him from pioneer in children's literature to definitive children's book author illustrator, a position he has held unofficially for many decades since.

Students in classroom enjoy the English text lessons especially "Cat in the Hat" and "The Grinch who stole Christmas."

Dr. Seuss' works have become so popular that they've become theatrical adaptations for both screen and stage, including the "Cat in the Hat" movie starring Mike Myers, the "Grinch" movie with Jim Carrey and a plethora of TV cartoon versions.

Btw, First Lady Michelle Obama celebrated Dr. Seuss Birthday by reading 'The Cat in the Hat' to over 200 local elementary school students at Library of Congress.

- Read more on Editor's Desk (Blog) at Kidsfreesouls. Watch the video as Michelle Obama reads to school children and You tube video and links to March Calendar and Projects.

- ilaxi patel
Newspaper for Kids

Monday, March 01, 2010

Code Red - Holi is shrugging off evil....

Holi mein tum karo total masti, Aur tumko mile sabka pyar aur dosti...Khushiya ho overflow, fun kabhi na ho low....That's wishing a splashing Holi with colors of love, colors of life.

Have a 'Code Red' or Code color Party. Wear Red. Decorations be red, appetizers be red with Tomato juice, food be red like pastas, pizzas, chinese cabbage, fruit be red like apple or strawberry and music too - All red like 'Code Red, Bad Boys Red, and a music score dancing tune be red like 'Red Red wine by UB40'

Whatever the theme, it's never ever late for a colorful Holi festival as it continues hours of celebrations. Apart from other tales than King Hiranyakashya and Prahlad, Holi is also associated with Dol yatra, rocking image of Krishna-radha and in UP, the legendery home of Radha, women go to Nandgaon, home of Krishna and challenge men to throw colours on them. Radha was a great devotee of Krishna. Some mock at the Radha Krishna affair which is total ignorance of their beliefs and misinterpretation, making them see the materialistic world instead of a divine submission to the godhead.

Here's Radhe Krishna pages and at a time when Holi celebrations is held, it is not all about materialistic world but merge into love to shrug off evil, banish hate and spread happiness around.

- ilaxi patel

Newspaper for kids