Orthodox Women Talk: Roundtable about media consumption

OWTHi, everyone! I know I pretty much never post twice in a day, but I’m hosting this month’s Orthodox Women Talk. Our panelists include:

  • Tali Simon
  • Melissa Amster
  • Ruchi Koval
  • Rivki Silver
  • Keshet Starr
  • Estee Lavitt
  • and yours truly.

This month’s question is this:

How much do you engage in popular music, movies and other forms of entertainment? What factors have contributed to that choice?

Wow! We’ve got a lot of variety in responses. Let’s see what our roundtable panelists have to say... Continue reading

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You’ve got to be a reader to raise a reader: My take on recent research on teens and reading

Common Sense Media recently issued a report about kids and teens and their reading habits. The four principal findings (I’m going to quote CSN directly) were these:

  1. Reading rates have dropped precipitously among adolescents.
  2. Reading achievement among older teens has stagnated.
  3. There’s a persistent gap in reading scores between white, black, and Latino kids.
  4. There’s also a gender gap in reading across ages.

The NY Times and NPR are both aghast at the findings, but their responses focused more on the problem — and how it has arisen — than on solutions. Common Sense Media itself has offered several strategies to increase reading, but I’m going to suggest my own. Continue reading

Which part is historical and which part is fiction? My Semi-official 39 Clues Rant

Book 10: Into The Gauntlet

It’s by the fantastic writer Margaret Peterson Haddix. What’s there not to like?

This post might get me in trouble with my kids, but so be it.

In case you don’t know The 39 Clues is a book series for middle grade readers (roughly kids 8-12). I think the initial target audience was older, but that’s who’s reading this series in my neck of the woods.

Kids love these books. They are exciting and are so engaging as to be addictive. Tweens clamor for more titles, which are delivered to bookstores at an astonishing rate. They are written by some top names in kids’ lit, like Rick Riordan, Margaret Peterson Haddix, and (one of my faves) Linda Sue Park. What’s there to dislike?

Here’s my beef.

The 39 Clues series freely borrows from historical fact, then elaborates on this to create a thrilling adventure for kids. Continue reading