Wednesday, May 17, 2006

What a lovely breezy day it is outside, with several sailboats going by, sails taunt in the wind. Whenever people hear I live in the Virgin Islands they say it must be wonderful. Well, it is - but only to a degree. When you live down here you aren't out on the sailboat outings to Buck Island to go snorkeling. You are working. And you aren't staying in a gorgeous beach front room at one of the local resorts - you are living in an apartment and worrying about if the water will run out in the cistern. The islands are the place to go on vacation or retire on, which is what Steve and I have in mind. The fun of the next several years will be visiting more islands to decide which one we not only like, but can afford to retire on. Then it won't matter to me that the Internet is down again and I have grading to do, or that the mail hasn't come in over two weeks - heck, nothing would be coming in the mail I would be worried about. But, at the moment the Internet is up and I have no grading due for the semester yet. And, to top it off I not only got a catalog and a magazine in the mail yesterday - I received a box from B&N as well. Life is good! :-)

The school year is coming to an end and the dreaded summer reading lists are being prepared. It isn't that there aren't great books on most of these lists - it is just the idea that the kids are then expected to choose their summer leisure reading materials from these lists. What happened to the lazy days of summer when kids/teens could go to the library and spend hours browsing the shelves, finding their books serendipitously? That's how we find some of the greatest reads of our lives - not from a list, but because we pulled the book from a shelf in a library or at a bookstore and started flipping through it - reading a snippet here and there. I love all the summer reading programs, but again we are "paying" kids to read. I know, I know - the kids/teens today are not like many of us were - we read for the sheer pleasure of reading and no one had to bribe us with a Pizza Hut coupon or any other prize to read. If someone had offered me something I would have wanted another book, just like the one by a favorite author, or another fantasy title with dragons, etc. I wish we could just immerse kids/teens in books via booktalks and other ways of introducing books to them and let them choose their own, from a myriad of choices. Not, read 5 from the list and you get this, etc. We are taking away the much needed skill of self selection of reading materials. Kids/teens assume someone is going to tell them what to read next - how about giving them a variety of books and letting them make their own choices? Why does that seem like such an odd idea today? Oh, yeah - may have something to do with the focus on standardized tests, where kids aren't expected to actually think. Okay I am getting off my soap box now!

For a fun reading experience for teenage girls who love the Sonya Sones books - offer Kristen Smith's The Geography of Girlhood, which takes Penny from 14-18. In verse format Penny responds to her sister's reputation in school, their father's somewhat controlling behavior, the lack of a mother role model, and her eventual ride on the wild side when she runs away, but just for a little while, with a bad boy. Each of the poems is titled - some of which certainly bring a smile to the reader's face. Smith writes screenplays, including Legally Blonde, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Ella Enchanted, all of which would be movies of interest to the girls as well.

It is only 10 a.m. and I have already drank two Diet Cokes and eaten more Hot Tamales than I would like to admit to. I keep telling myself that cinnamon is good for the digestion - overrides the # of calories in the candy! Now to find the top of my desk, which is covered with class folders from semesters present, past, and future!