Monthly Archives: January 2016

Why should you read?

Hi everyone! I hope you all are enjoying the snow and maybe even doing some reading too! When it snows I always like to sit by a window with a warm blanket, some hot chocolate and a really good book. Not only is reading a great pastime during these winter months, but reading is actually good for you, too. There are more benefits to reading than just taking your mind on an adventure, and I would like to share some of them with you. I looked up ten long term benefits of reading on lifehack.org and this is what I found:

  1. Mental Stimulationmental

Your brain is one of the most important muscles in your body, and just like any other muscle, you should exercise it daily. Reading is good for this because it will actually prevent or slow down the process of memory loss. Who knew?

 

  1. stressStress Reduction

If you find yourself stressed with school or homework, reading is a really good and quick fix. Now, I don’t recommend skipping your homework just so you can read a good book, but if you find time for reading I would definitely take full advantage of it.

 

  1. Knowledgeknowledge

Reading helps you learn new things everyday. Even if you read a fiction novel, you are still learning. You may read something that changes your perspective on things in real life or you may come across a word you’ve never heard before, which leads us to the next point.

 

  1. Vocabulary Expansionvocab

You can read a variety of books that use words that are not something you hear in everyday conversations. Reading teaches you a lot of things and new words are one of them. If you find a cool word that you’ve never heard before while you’re reading, you might want to look up the definition and use it in a conversation, impressing all your friends with your vast vocabulary.

 

  1. Memory Improvementmemory

Reading actually helps you remember things! When you’re reading a book, you are making your brain remember small, seemingly meaningless details of plots and characteristics, without even thinking about it. I have a question – how many of you can actually remember almost all of a book you haven’t read in years? I know I can, and it’s all because your brain gets better and better at remembering things and making connections to things in everyday life when you read. This will help you remember what your teacher was talking about when it comes time for a test or quiz.

 

  1. thinkingStronger Analytical Thinking Skills

Have you ever read a book and you think, “Wow that was a really bad book,” or “That book was fantastic”? Well, when you read you are able to pick out certain aspects of a character or plot that really spark your interest or really make you never want to pick up a book again. If you continue reading, you learn more and more about the kind of things you like or dislike and doing this, you are able to ask yourself questions like, “Why do I like this?”  or “Why does this plot make me want to throw this book across the room?” Reading helps you form logical opinions and shape your mind into understanding things you may not have understood before.

 

  1. Improved Focus and Concentrationfocus

In this day in age, our attention is constantly being pulled in thousands of directions. You might be watching tv in the living room while your mom is trying to talk to you from the kitchen, but you can’t understand her because your dad is talking on the phone and your sister is in her room blaring that new song that has been on the radio for weeks. When you are totally engrossed in the-best-book-you’ve-ever-read-in-your-life, you are more likely to slow down and focus all your attention on that book. This will help you in the classroom while your teacher is teaching or while you’re taking a test because you have already taught your brain to focus on one thing.

 

  1. writingBetter Writing Skills

Books can be written in many different styles and each time you read, whether you do it on purpose or not, you take away a little bit of that author’s style. This helps you with your own writing because if you’ve read enough, you know what sounds good and what doesn’t.

 

  1. Tranquilitytranquil

Reading calms the mind and the soul, unless you decide to read something scary. Reading something peaceful and happy will allow your body to be peaceful and happy, too. Reading is a stress reducer and it will actually make you feel better on the inside.

 

  1. Free Entertainment

funHave you ever heard that reading is like watching tv in your head? I would totally agree with that statement because if a book is written well enough, you are able to picture the characters and the setting in your mind. Think of a library as Netflix, just for books. You get to go on this really cool adventure with these really cool characters, just like watching a tv show.
So I hope this new-found information has sparked your interest to read this week, because I know I will be reading! Reading is so good for you! Pick up a good book this week and keep in mind all the benefits of reading it.

-Emma

Best Children’s Books of 2015

If you’re anything like me, you have read tons of books over the course of the past few years. Some were good, some were bad and some were the best books you have ever read in your entire life! Books allow us to travel to new places and see new things without having to leave the comfort of our own home. I read some amazing books last year and I am sure you did too, and if you are like me, you want to start the New Year strong with a really good read. Since we are not too far into 2016, I wanted to give you all a list of books that were noted as the “Best Children’s Books of 2015” by The Washington Post.

So here goes:

If you are anywhere from 8 years old to 13 years old and looking for a fiction novel, you might like one of these.

TheMarvelsThe Marvels by Brian Selznick

“Two seemingly unrelated stories–one in words, the other in pictures–come together. The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.”

 

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-GarciaGoneCrazy

“Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern are off to Alabama to visit their grandmother, Big Ma, and her mother, Ma Charles. Across the way lives Ma Charles’s half sister, Miss Trotter. The two half sisters haven’t spoken in years. As Delphine hears about her family history, she uncovers the surprising truth that’s been keeping the sisters apart. But when tragedy strikes, Delphine discovers that the bonds of family run deeper than she ever knew possible.”

 

echoEcho by Pam Munoz Ryan

“Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.

Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.”

 

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca SteadGoodbyeStranger

“Bridge is an accident survivor who’s wondering why she’s still alive. Emily has new curves and an almost-boyfriend who wants a certain kind of picture. Tabitha sees through everybody’s games—or so she tells the world. The three girls are best friends with one rule: No fighting. Can it get them through seventh grade?

This year everything is different for Sherm Russo as he gets to know Bridge Barsamian. What does it mean to fall for a girl—as a friend?

On Valentine’s Day, an unnamed high school girl struggles with a betrayal. How long can she hide in plain sight?”

 

ReturnToAugieHobbleReturn to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith

“Augie Hobble lives in a fairy tale—or at least Fairy Tale Place, the down-on-its-luck amusement park managed by his father. Yet his life is turning into a nightmare: he’s failed creative arts and has to take summer school, the girl he has a crush on won’t acknowledge him, and Hogg Wills and the school bullies won’t leave him alone. Worse, a succession of mysterious, possibly paranormal, events have him convinced that he’s turning into a werewolf. At least Augie has his notebook and his best friend Britt to confide in—until the unthinkable happens and Augie’s life is turned upside down, and those mysterious, possibly paranormal, events take on a different meaning.”

 

If you are looking for some good non-fiction reads, you might enjoy one of these.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret Historymostdangerous of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin

“On June 13, 1971, the front page of the New York Times announced the existence of a 7,000-page collection of documents containing a secret history of the Vietnam War. Known as The Pentagon Papers, these documents had been commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. Chronicling every action the government had taken in the Vietnam War, they revealed a pattern of deception spanning over twenty years and four presidencies, and forever changed the relationship between American citizens and the politicians claiming to represent their interests.”

 

funnybonesFunny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh

“Funny Bones tells the story of how the amusing calaveras—skeletons performing various everyday or festive activities—came to be. They are the creation of Mexican artist José Guadalupe (Lupe) Posada (1852–1913). In a country that was not known for freedom of speech, he first drew political cartoons, much to the amusement of the local population but not the politicians. He continued to draw cartoons throughout much of his life, but he is best known today for his calavera drawings. They have become synonymous with Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.”

 

Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti   terribletyphoid

“What happens when a person’s reputation has been forever damaged?

With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon by the Sibert medalist and Newbery Honor winner Susan Bartoletti looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary’s controversial life.

How she was treated by medical and legal officials reveals a lesser-known story of human and constitutional rights, entangled with the science of pathology and enduring questions about who Mary Mallon really was.

How did her name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary?”

 

boyschallengedhitlerThe Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club by Phillip Hoose

 

“At the outset of World War II, Denmark did not resist German occupation. Deeply ashamed of his nation’s leaders, fifteen-year-old Knud Pedersen resolved with his brother and a handful of schoolmates to take action against the Nazis if the adults would not. Naming their secret club after the fiery British leader, the young patriots in the Churchill Club committed countless acts of sabotage, infuriating the Germans, who eventually had the boys tracked down and arrested. But their efforts were not in vain: the boys’ exploits and eventual imprisonment helped spark a full-blown Danish resistance.”

 

 

When I was in elementary and middle school I had great librarians who helped me pick out some of the best books I have ever read, and I am sure your librarian is just the same. I like to think of librarians as the people you can go and buy plane tickets from because they are the ones who “put you on a plane to any universe or society you want to go to.” You decide you want to travel back in time to 1984? They’ve got just the book for you. You want to read an adventure book all about dragons and knights and saving the world from giants and trolls? I am 100% positive that they can find you exactly what you’re looking for. Books are our ways of seeing and thinking about things in a new light. We get to be a part of a whole new world and experience things we would never have gotten to without reading. So, what new and exciting adventure will you be going on today?

–Emma

Hello!

We are trying something new! We are going to post a weekly blog with tips, activities, book reviews, and anything else that we think will be helpful as you prepare your teams for competition.

If you have something you would like for us to research and post, feel free to let us know.

If you are a blogger and have something you would like to share, send it to us and we may be able to publish it as a ‘guest’ blog.

-Dionna