My New Book Living More Than OK

My New Book Living More Than OK
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Monday, July 27, 2015

Encouraging Reading to Improve Futures

With my college students I encourage them to read as it is important for their minds and their futures. I often am greeted by stares and replies that reading is boring. I believe that response is the result of years of mind numbing television that is passed off as entertaining. I try to emphasize to them what Dr. Ben Carson says about reading, “Reading activates and exercises the mind. Reading forces the mind to discriminate. From the beginning, readers have to recognize letters printed on the page, make them into words, the words into sentences, and the sentences into concepts. Reading pushes us to use our imagination and makes us more creatively inclined.” That quotes is from Dr. Ben Carson’s book, Think Big: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence. That quote and Dr. Carson’s life are examples of how reading is a foundational block to success.

In my recent reading about reading I came across thoughts from two books at my local library that encourages reading in young people. The first book is Born Reading, by Jason Boog. The subtitle is very important is this era where reading is becoming less and less of a passion. His subtitle is “Bringing Up Bookworms in a Digital Age – From Picture Books to eBooks and Everything in Between. For the sake of a brighter future of humanity we need more bookworms.

Jason shares a major impetus for writing the book was his desire to share his passion for reading with his daughter. In the introduction of the book he discusses a study “How to Make a Young Child Smarter” in a 2013 issue of Perspectives in Psychological Science that showed increases in a child’s IQ through interactive reading. The article stated the earlier the better. So much of the book discusses interactive reading. This shows the importance of parents taking time to read to their children. Then when the children begin to read have them join in by reading aloud to the parents. The interaction increases by using the reading time to discuss the story or material that is being read.

Over the years we have often used after dinner time to read through a book as a family. Often it was our daughter doing the reading or we would take turns reading sections of book we were working through at the time. As Jason emphasizes, our reading time would include questions afterwards or sharing what the reading was about. That increases the effectiveness of interactive reading.

Jason discusses electronic readers and mentions research and even thoughts from App designers that encourage limiting the use of electronic devices with young children. He mentions a quote from one librarian that mentions how tablets have become the new babysitters. I see this in children in therapy whose parents complain they only want to play games on tablets and not do anything else. Yet who is allowing the children to be on the tablets gaming all the time? Parents need to take charge and have young children do more than stare at the tablets continually. I enjoyed reading Born Reading and thought one way to turn our faltering country back to a creative and critical thinking pro-growth country, would be to give every parent this book as they leave the hospital with their new born child.

Another book that was a standout in encouraging reading is Raising Ravenous Readers by Linda Schwartz. It focuses in on children 8-12. The book is more a variety of activities to help promote reading. Two major focuses of the book was to help young people find material to read based on what they are interested in. I know many college students have told me their struggle with reading was in school always being forced to read material that did not interest them. This can be turned around if in the important ages of 8-12 students are introduced to libraries and finding books on topics that interest them. Linda Schwartz promotes the use of libraries in her book.

She also like Jason Boog, emphasizes the importance of interactive reading in making some time as a family for reading. Have conversations with children about the books that they are reading. A passion for reading can be developed by simply reading to children for 20 minutes a day. I like how she emphasizes libraries but she also importantly mentions visiting children sections of bookstores. I remember hearing a story at a counseling convention of how for a contest, one small town school had winners in a state poster contest. The winning students received Barnes & Noble gift cards. The principal took the students to the nearest big city that had a Barnes & Noble store. She said the students had never been in a bookstore before and were amazed. So, opening young children’s minds to bookstores helps to build a passion for reading as well.
Bookworms need to keep multiplying by encouraging reading. The two books listed here can help in giving you ideas on how to encourage reading in young people in your sphere of influence.

Reflection: Who inspired your love of reading? How can you encourage a new generation of bookworms in your sphere of influence?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Still Time for Summer Reading

I was in my local New Braunfels Public Library just the other day and picked up a “Every Hero Has A Story” bookmark. That is the theme for library Summer reading programs this year. When I picked it up, I realized I had not done my early Summer plug for library reading programs in my blog this year. Actually I am surprised that the Summer is half over. With our trip to Australia and my intense final classes for my Ph.D. and formulating my dissertation question and topic I forgot about the reading programs.

The librarian I spoke with did tell me they were having a good year with the reading program here in New Braunfels. Here is the link to the New Braunfels reading program - What I like to see is that they offer the programs for children, teens and adults. I am glad my coursework in my Ph.D. is over, so next year even though I will be busy on my dissertation I can go through the 2016 reading program in the adult category.

I decided to look up my hometown of Barberton, Ohio library’s program to see what they were doing for their reading program. This is the link to the Barberton program - . I noticed they link a series of activities that go along with their reading program for children and early teens. I remember fond memories of going through their reading program when I was in elementary school. That is when I began my love of reading. The program opened my mind up to various types of fiction such as the Hardy Boys mystery series. I also enjoyed reading stories about different parts of the world and differing cultures. I would not be the same person I am today if my mother had not encouraged my participation in the Barberton Public Library reading program. It is a reminder of how small events in life can have lifelong impacts years later.

Most reading programs are wrapping up at the end of July. It is important to note though that school does not start until the end of August. So if you missed the reading programs there is still time to visit your local library and pick some books of interest for reading on a Summer day or weekend. Also remember as well, the library is there year round for you to keep reading alive in your life throughout the year.

Reflection – Do you encourage your children or grandchildren in Summer reading programs at your local library? You can help in building a positive habit in their lives. How about yourself? Check out the various programs for adults in your local library? There are book clubs and reading challenges for adults throughout the year.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

More Australia Dream List Enjoyment

I received an email wondering why my blog stopped. Part of the problem was coming down ill after vacation. I have been battling a light bronchitis so energy has been low so priority has been my counseling job and my PhD classes. While Australia is fresh on my mind, I wanted to write up the second part of my thoughts.

First of all I wanted to mention some of the people we met along the way. Meeting people was one reason for going to Australia. One person in particular is a friend of our daughter. His name is Mathew, a wonderful Christian man originally hailing from India. His knowledge of the Adelaide area helped us to maximize our time there in seeing various sights from Victor Harbor to Kangaroo Island.

Through Mathew we met others such as his house mates who guided us to a beautiful overlook to see a sunset. We also on vacations enjoy visiting churches so we attended Unley Christian Chapel. Here is their weblink to learn about their church and to view pictures of these welcoming folks- We enjoyed the fellowship with the church members and after church one family invited us out to Dim Sum at a local Chinese restaurant.

In the Rundle Mall area there were a variety of street performers sharing their talents with the crowds walking from shop to shops. One of the musicians I spoke with was Andy Salvanos who was playing the Chapman Stick. He was born in Sweden and had done bass guitar session work in Los Angeles here in the states. He now was enjoying life in Adelaide. Here is his website in case you would like to listen to his music -

My favorite part of the trip to Australia was Kangaroo Island. We stayed overnight at Seal Bay Cottages. After a refreshing nights rest my wife and I woke up early and saw a couple of kangaroos hopping by the cottage. We went to a honey bee farm as it was named Clifford's Honey Farm. Since my third grade teacher was Mrs. Clifford I could not pass that up.

Of the various locations we saw on the Island, Flinders Chase National Park, was the most spectacular. The coastline with the seals resting on the rocks and the Remarkable rock formations was amazing to view. The views reminded me of the awesome God of Creation I serve. I know others would just believe it was caused by random chance over millions of years but my viewing the beauty of it out points to the more probable cause of a Creator behind it all. If you are going to Australia I would highly recommend take the extra effort to go over and enjoy Kangaroo Island.

Hope you have enjoyed some of the photos.

Reflection: Have you added Australia to your Dream List? Reflect over your most memorable vacations. What was your favorite part of them? Did you meet any interesting people who stood out to you?