Episode 26: Dealing with Covid-19

Episode 26: Dealing with Covid-19

Dealing with Covid-19 using books may sound overwhelming or like a perfect fit – or likely somewhere between these two on the sliding scale. We wanted to give you a look at what’s happening in One Page at a Time and also a couple resources you can look into if you wish.

In this episode we talk about:

1 Jill and Amanda are both dealing with Covid-19 in different ways, since we have different personalities and different situations. The one commonality with everyone is that this is an unexpected and life-altering period in our lives. We all handle it in different ways, and that’s totally okay.

2 We very quickly list some of the resources we are aware of that are currently available to help us all during this time. Check the end of this post for links and more info.

3 Finally, we both feel as though some of the unpublished interviews we have done may be helpful for many of us now. Therefore, we’ve changed our schedule around and you can expect to hear from authors

Dealing with Covid-19 resources:

We are Teachers

This may be the most concise and inclusive list of “virtual author activities” that we have seen. This lists a lot of authors and illustrators doing drawings (think Mo Willems) and many read alouds (think Oprah Winfrey). It’s sectioned off into 3 age categories, so don’t get too overwhelmed by the length of the list. If you’re going to start somewhere, we recommend you start here.

A Kid’s Book About Covid-19

Big fan of A Kid’s Book series like us? Download their great ebook on Covid-19 for free at the link above. In general, these are great books about subjects that can be difficult one way or another, so it may be worth perusing their shop, as well. (not affiliated in any way, just like their books)

What is a Pandemic? Free e-story

Teachers Pay Teachers is a treasure trove of great resources, and this free story is definitely one to read. It’s graded K-3rd grade, though my 5-year-old had a harder time with the text.

Wide Open School

This is one of the resources we have that covers kids Pre-K to Grade 12. I will quote the website, “As parents, you may be adjusting to the idea of having your kids at home all the time. To make learning with them more accessible, we have been busy compiling the best free online resources.” If you are feeling a bit lost and on your own, this is a great start for schooling.

Kate Messner

Author and former teacher, Kate Messner has shared a page full of resources that are even divided by age. As a parent, I think this is a useful page, even though it is intended for librarians and teachers. She includes a link to publisher guidelines for online read a louds, if you have been wondering about that. She also has links to several of her own children’s books on YouTube.

Author Penpal: Kimberlee Gard

We have a great interview we will be publishing soon with Kimberlee about her books. The Day Punctuation Came to Town is my personal favorite, and she is an absolute delight. She just announced on her instagram account that she will respond to anyone who wants to write to her, pen-pal style.

Storyline Online

Celebrities reading books can never get old, right? These are picture books, heads up.

Story Seeds Podcast story about Corona Virus

Story Seeds is a fabulous podcast that shows up regularly in our bedtime routine at Amanda’s house. Jason Reynolds, author of the newly released Stamped, gives 8 tips for keeping the new “villain” in town at bay. It’s not so much a story, but definitely worth a listen (it’s 4 minutes) to see if you feel it would be helpful for your family.

Brain Pop video and curriculum on Covid-19

The video by Brain Pop is great for any age, and if you have school-age kids, be sure to look into the accompanying reading, vocabulary, quiz, etc. This is a great way to be sure you and your child are on the same page with understanding such a difficult subject.

Libro.fm

We talked with Stephanie Ballien from Libro.fm in Episode 25: Libro.fm; Loving Bookstores from Afar all about this amazing option to get audiobooks AND support a local/indy bookstore of your choice. This can have a tremendous effect on small businesses during this time, and get you access to any books you may not have available through your local library or other free resources.

Mrs Plemon’s Kindergarten

Mrs. Plemon offers an amazing collection of lessons directly tied to books. She has arranged them by season and by age going from toddler up through elementary. There are lots of options that are suitable for year-round, as well. Reasonably priced, and she uses great books and builds on them.

There are other options like Mrs. Plemon’s Kindergarten out there, so if you are looking for something specific, try a quick Google search.

Free children’s audiobooks on Audible

Audible has released a massive collection of children’s audiobooks for free. I wasn’t able to find many YA books, but there are plenty of classics and other options to keep you listening through quiet time, bedtime, and beyond.

Association of American Publishers

This gives a list of some academic resources like textbooks and other options released by publishers. I’d look into this for college age and rising college kids or for you yourself.

National Emergency Library

A friend shared this with me, and I’ll quote him, “don’t let the moniker fool you, this National Library is a global resource and was principally created via the fear/hype/restriction to indoors that COVID-19 created” (thanks, Mark!). They have focused on scanning copies of books published between the 1920’s and 1990’s that do not have ebooks and are therefore otherwise unavailable on Libby or from your usual public library.

Helen Farmer from themothershipdxb on Instagram

Amanda mentions this mommy blogger in Dubai in the episode. Look around your social media for any of your favorite influencers reading books or doing something else you are interested in.

Episode 25: Libro.fm: Loving Bookstores from Afar

Episode 25: Libro.fm: Loving Bookstores from Afar

Loving Bookstores from Afar may seem impossible, given the nature of brick-and-mortar stores. Add in the current #stayhome world we are in, we fear for our sanity and for the bookstores around the world. Libro.fm can help with both these concerns.

This week we are joined by Stephanie Ballien, the director of marketing for a digital company called Libro FM. She worked with many other major brands before finding her passion and home at Libro FM. She hails from Seattle and enjoys life there with her two children.

In this episode we talk about:

1. What Libro FM is. It is a company that provides a way for you to buy audiobooks through local and independent bookstores that they have partnered with- a great way to support bookstores while still getting the digital content we love!

2. How the partnership with bookstores makes Libro FM different from other audiobook platforms and what features they are able to bring to their customers thanks to that partnership.

3.  A speed-round of Frequently Asked Questions that Stephanie handled like a champ! So much good information about them, how they work, how much it costs, and so much more in such a short amount of time (you get to own the audio file! They have monthly sales! You can get a refund if you did not like the book! You can pick a bookstore to support!).

4. When we recorded and originally aired this episode, the world was in the middle of dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19. We chatted about what Libro FM was doing to support the local bookstores that they partner with, many of which had to close down while their cities tried to contain the virus.

5. And, as a final wrap-up, we got Stephanie about the latest book that she has read and fell in love with.

In Libro.fm: Loving Bookstores From Afar we mention

We are so grateful to Stephanie for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, and LibroFM can be found in the following places:

Instagram:

@librofm

@Childrenslitlove

Websites:

Email:

hello@libro.fm

Books we mentioned:

Stamped by Jason Reynolds

Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer  (series)

Disney’s Frozen Anna and Elsa sister series by Erica David

Nate the Great (series) by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

A Boy Called Bat (series) by Alana K Arnold

Related Episodes

If you’re looking for another great way to listen to audiobooks, be sure to listen to Episode 9: Getting to Know Overdrive and Libby with Adam Sockel

We also talk about listening to audiobooks in one of our earliest interviews with Family Looking Up in Episode 6: Finding Books for your Family

Episode 24: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books with Coleen Graham

Episode 24: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books with Coleen Graham

What do we mean by healthy bodies, healthy books? We share how can you use books to help your family stay healthy, and what are some great options to read together.

This week we are joined by Coleen Graham, a RN who has worked in a major pediatric hospital for the past eleven years. She also has three kids of her own, so she has had plenty of experience teaching kids about being sick and staying healthy in all sorts of settings. Along with nursing she also teaches preschool and the occasional yoga class, so we are very grateful that she was able to take the time to chat with us about this topic that has been on many parents’ minds lately!

In this episode we talk about:

1. Coleen’s job at the hospital and what she does there. She explains her unit as a “step-down NICU.” She mostly works with infants and toddlers, although they have recently started getting children of many different ages.

2. What she prioritizes as a nurse and a mom when she teaches her kids about their bodies and staying healthy. 

3. How she has used books to teach those things to her kids and why picture books do such a great job at putting these complicated topics on their level.

4. How she has seen books used at her hospital unit. For instance, she has seen a feeding tube kit that comes with a story book and coloring book that talk about what it is, how it is used, how they can talk about it, etc. Since her unit is mostly younger kids, they do not use them to explain what is going on as much, but they have books that are for the kids and parents to use while they are there, which helps to bring something familiar and comforting to a scary situation.

“The parents are happy to see a book that they are familiar with and they are happy to read to their child and it kind of makes a scary hospital experience something a little less scary.”

5. Coloring books and what a great tool they can be. Coleen has used them when teaching her kids about their bodies and she made a great point about how kids are often times better able to listen to things we are trying to teach them when their hands are busy doing something else… like coloring or drawing!

7. How she has decided what to teach her different children at different ages.

8. A few of their family’s favorite books for talking about bodies and health.

9. How our emotions and mental health can affect our physical health and how we can help our kids with their emotions and especially to identify and communicate them.

10. All three of us chime in with some books that might be good for older children, teenagers or even adults who want to

We are so grateful to Coleen for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, the books we chat about, and other resources to help us teach our kids about being healthy can be found in the following places:

In Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books we mention:

Websites:

Kids Health.org

Google Scholar

Books:

The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain

What are Germs? – By Katie Daynes (Usborne)

My Body – Usborne

The Usborne Science Encyclopedia by several authors

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

Standin’ Tall Cleanliness by Janeen Brady

Little Monkey Calms Down by Michael Dahl

Lurlene McDaniel (author)

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares

Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

The Rent Collector by Camron Wright

The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Do Not Lick This Book by Idan Ben-Barak and Julian Frost

Magic School Bus: The Giant Germ by Scholastic

The Big Book of the Body – Usborne

Daniel Visits the Doctor – Daniel Tiger book

Looking for more on “healthy” books for your family? Look at this blog post

Want to read about the Covid-19 financial crisis of 2020? Here’s a great booklist to get you started

Read about 2009 to know about the Covid-19 financial crisis of 2020

Read about 2009 to know about the Covid-19 financial crisis of 2020

What is the “Covid-19 financial crisis of 2020”? If you want to learn about what’s happening in the markets right now but don’t know where to start, start here.

There’s been an 11-year bull market – the longest bull market in US history, and perhaps globally. Has it been driven because of the monetary easing from the last crash? There’s been “free” money from the quantitative easing (printing money) to bolster the region and a drop of interest rates to zero (which happened March 15, 2020 just like in 2008). Governments started printing money to save institutional collapse, allowing for a lot of loans to be made. What do you get? A market that ran, and ran, and ran until the valuation of companies had inflated into a bubble market ready to pop.

Add in an oil war.

Add in Covid-19.

The global economy is shutting down as people are self-isolating and trying to adjust to working from home. Factories shutting down, stores shutting down, shipping halting. Grocery stores empty.

How are the markets responding? The same way they did 11 years ago. How far will the bailouts extend? What will the real estate market do? Is recession coming?

Book list to understand the covid-19 financial crisis of 2020

Read these books to learn more about the financial crisis of 2008 — and see what comparisons you see with March 2020.

The Big Short by Michael Lewis – Understand how bubbles are created and how they burst, and how perversely financial markets are incentivized to take massive risks – leaving the taxpayers to pay the bill. There’s no free lunch.

The Boomerang; Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis – Anything that goes up must come down, right? Read about the fascinating stories of Iceland and Greece; their mirage from financial manipulation.

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis – to understand what quantitative trading is. How are quant traders able to skim off money from others quickly?

Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain – Have you ever wondered about the battle of egos between those at the top of the corporate ladder? Where the level-headed decision makers are? To understand where the markets are going, you may want to understand those calling the shots and why they may be making the choices they do.

Essentially written by Otso Fristrom

Want to use children’s books to help teach your children about germs, viruses and health? Listen to Episode 24: Healthy Bodies, Healthy Books with Coleen Graham

Week one: Get Lovin’ those books

Week one: Get Lovin’ those books

Welcome to One Page at a Time’s Summer of Fun! We hope you’ll get lovin’ those books right off the bat. We are bringing you 12 weeks of books and activities for all ages, all centered on a weekly theme that will help you bring books into activities that you are already planning or could easily add into your summer plans. With several books in each reading level category, we hope that there are at least a couple that are available to you, wherever you may be. The activities are also planned to be simple and cost-effective, making them achievable for anyone who wants in on the fun!

To kick off our Summer of Fun, we wanted to start with something that will hopefully set you and your families up for a whole summer of finding the fun in books. For this week we have gathered our favorite books about books for all reading levels so we can celebrate the awesomeness found in all those pages out there in the world.

And now, without further ado, we give you WEEK ONE: Fall in Love with Books!

Picture Books

This is My Book by Mark Pett

The author/illustrator of this book may think he is in control, but he definitely underestimates his rogue illustration!

How This Book was Made by Mac Barnett

Librarian on the Roof! A True Story by MG King and Stephen Gilpin

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner

Juvenile Fiction

The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff

Matilda by Roald Dahl

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Young Adult Fiction

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Adult Fiction

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

The Cracked Spine: A Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Paige Shelton

The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

Adult Non-Fiction

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

A Gentle Madness by Nicholas A. Basbanes

The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller

My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues by Pamela Paul

Toddler Activity

Make reading as fun for the kiddos as possible this week so that they absolutely fall in love with it!

  • Read somewhere you don’t normally read (outside, at the table while eating a meal, in Mom and Dad’s bed, in a fort built underneath the dining room table, etc)
  • Make a treat together and then read while eating the treats
  • Read a favorite book over and over again
  • Give them an M&M every time they hear a certain word in a book,
  • Listen to an audiobook while snuggled together on a couch or bed
  • Ask your local librarian to help you find a stack of books all about something that they love right now

or whatever else you can think of! And then share your ideas with us so we can try them out, too!

Youth Activity

Try your hands at creating your own book recommendation lists! Pick a theme (go simple- “books set in England,” or go detailed- “books with an animal as the narrator”), or simply try and narrow your choices down to your top five or ten (or fifty!) books you would recommend to people. Pick the same theme as friends, siblings or parents and see how many books in common you all chose.

Adult/Family Activity

Have a family movie night and watch the movie version of a book you have read and loved. Use this as a way to encourage a reluctant reader to finish a book or to connect a younger child to books by introducing him/her to a favorite character from the screen in book version.

Episode 23: Building Character with Picture Books with Mary Costello

Episode 23: Building Character with Picture Books with Mary Costello

Building character with picture books is not even possible, we here at One Page at a Time argue that it’s fantastic. We hear about how one Bookstagrammer is using picture books to help their whole family learn 12 Character Traits in 2020.

This week we are joined by Mary Costello, the amazing woman behind the website, Children’s Lit Love. Mary spent years gaining her education in Child development and Elementary education before teaching elementary school for ten years. When he oldest was born she began using that wealth of knowledge and experience in her own home and now shares it with us on her website and Instagram account. 

In this episode we talk about:

1. How she went from being the book recommendation lady for all of her friends to her website now, which still has plenty of book recommendations, but also fantastic information on children’s literacy in general.

2. Their family’s journey this year to focus on developing different character traits with their children. They wanted to be very intentional about teaching their girls certain things, so they pick a new trait each month to talk about. Mary puts together the books and other things they have used so far and shares them all on her sites.

3. We talked a bit about the nitty-gritty of how exactly they have been putting this character trait plan into practice in their family and what roles she and her husband play in what they do.

4. Mary had some thoughts on how to do something similar if you do not have the same support from a spouse. She especially points out that by the end of the year she will have twelve character traits-worth of lists and information that anyone can use, thus cutting down on a ton of work and preparation for someone who wants to try it!

5. How has it been going so far for them? In Mary’s own words, “It is going so much better than we had imagined!” It has been fun and unifying for their family and they have been able to see the differences in their girls that their efforts have made.

6. Why books are such a good fit for what she and her husband are doing with the character traits in their family this year. 

7. How Mary handles the gathering and organization of the books she collects and uses for her monthly topics. 

8. And some great book recommendations to round us off!

We are so grateful to Mary for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, her sties, and their family’s character traits development journey can be found in the following places:

In Building Character with Picture Books we mention:

Instagram:

@childrenslitlove

Websites:

Books

Molly and Mae by Danny Parker

Mindset by Carol Dweck

The Power of Showing Up by Daniel J Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson

Clementine (series) by Sara Pennypacker

Henry Huggins (series) by Beverly Cleary

Ramona (series) by Beverly Cleary

Sharing a Shell by Julia Donaldson

Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson

Valentine Cats by Jean Marzollo

Excited for One Page at a Time’s Summer 2020 books and activities? So are we! Get started with the first week here

Episode 22: How We Read with Amanda Pilmer Roberts

Episode 22: How We Read with Amanda Pilmer Roberts

This week we are joined in a discussion of How We Read with Amanda Pilmer Roberts, a “semi-retired” librarian, as she describes it, who has a great love of (and talent for) music, dance and theater. She has degrees in Theater, Musicology and Library Science and has spent her varied career working in unique school libraries, singing in choirs, choreographing musicals and now, her latest adventure, raising her beautiful baby daughter. 

In this episode we talk about

1. Amanda’s unique career in equal parts theater and libraries. She gives some great insights into what goes into many librarians’ careers and gives us a sense of how many different types of libraries there are, which many people aren’t aware of!

2. How being a librarian has influenced Amanda’s approach to books with her family now that she has her daughter. Suffice it to say, she will never hesitate heading to a library and asking a librarian for help when they are in need of books or information!

3. What reading looks like with her baby, who is just younger than a year old. This is a hard stage for many people to read to their kids at, as they are active and mobile, yet not always engaged in book, and Amanda shares what works for her and her baby.

4. Both Amanda and her husband are actively involved in reading with their daughter and she talks about what the looks like in their family. They had talked about it and knew that books were going to be a part of their family’s life even before they were married and had kids and started their book collections for their future family long ago. 

5. We talk about tracking the books our kids read and Amanda makes a great point that she wishes she had kept track when she was younger, since there are books that she remembers and wishes she could find then again, but doesn’t remember enough about it (…the cover was blue…?).

6. Amanda wraps up by sharing with us a technique she used as a school librarian to help her students to pick books to read. She used a system from Scholastic called PICK (link to it below). It’s a great system helpful in a school as well as family setting!

In How We Read with Amanda Pilmer Roberts we mention:

Books

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease and Cyndi Giorgis

ABCs of Physics by Chris Ferrie

The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood

If you enjoyed listening to Amanda Pilmer Roberts, try one of these other episodes:

Episode 17: How We Read with Rachel Lambourne

Episode 13: From Reluctant Reader to Librarian with Harold Hayes

Episode 11: How We Read with Cathy Balfanz

Episode 01: The More You Read the Better you Get with Cyndi Giorgis

From Civil War Books to Books that are Really Me: How my Bookshelves are Changing

From Civil War Books to Books that are Really Me: How my Bookshelves are Changing

Written by Amanda Fristrom

This story is about how my bookshelves are changing from what I thought was a good statement about me to an accurate reflection of who I am, and therefore the right statement about me. This is related to and refers to Episode 21: Organize Yourshelf: Storing Books with Jamie Shaner

When I was a teenager,

I started to get interested in the US Civil War (which is funny to me because Jamie Shaner specifically mentions Civil War books and here I go). So I started to collect Civil War books from sales and whatever. I even subscribed to a Civil War magazine and had each issue lined up on my shelf. I did read some of the books, but I got them too fast and they were too dense and I apparently didn’t love the Civil War as much as I thought I did, because suddenly I had a huge pile of books I had never read and the idea of reading them didn’t excite me.

So I went to college, and ended up taking a Civil War history class. I loved the class, and LOVED the books I read for that class. I came home for a holiday, and was expecting I would be excited to read these books now that I was newly reinvigorated on the subject matter. But I didn’t open any of them. Not a crack. 

In an attempt to go through my things

A couple years later and help clear out my parents’ house (since I live abroad and don’t have any way to bring books with me), I started to look at these books in a new way. I love the four questions that Jamie Shaner asks in her episode, and I wish I had them then. Do I need these Civil War books? No. Do I use them. Never. Do I love them? Not really. I love the idea of them. Do I have the space? Well, at that point, it was a no.

It was easy for me to justify in my mind to keep my Harry Potter series, but not these Civil War books. I gave them away, and it was hard – probably because I didn’t have the nicely formatted process; I felt like I was giving up this idea that I like Civil War history and people wouldn’t think as highly of me if I didn’t have a bookcase full of dense and diverse books.

So when Jamie was talking about her dictionary

and thesaurus sitting on her desk as a statement that words are important to her, but that she could still give those away to make space for more books, I started to reshape my thinking about my gifted Civil War books and the books I have on my shelves right now. A lot of them are there because I want people to know that I’m interested in that topic, or that I used to be interested in it during some point of my past. And I don’t know if these books are worth keeping or not. I’d rather, I think, have books that I absolutely love. They would be a better reflection of myself and also show that books themselves are important to me. 

So much of Jamie’s organization guidelines falls back on the underlying assumption that you want to access the books that you have, because you shouldn’t have them if you don’t want them. And in that case, I have a lot of adjustments to be done. My current shelf at my parents’ house is full of the books that I LOVE, from Ella Enchanted to my favorite non-fiction I read in college. The shelves here where I actually live have a lot of books I haven’t even read, or that I am mildly attached to. Some have even been gifted to us and I don’t really have any interest in them at all! I have to look through all our books with a newly critical eye.

Jamie mentions her belief that anything can have energy,

and the way we collect, organize, and present items can be good or bad energy – I agree. There’s a different feel to the bookshelf in my old room in my parent’s house that is full of books I love than there is to this bookshelf here. When I look at them, I feel different things. So now I will be looking to create shelves that truly represent me and make me happy when I see them. I want to whittle down my collection to those volumes I can talk at length about when a guest pulls it down – and not sheepishly admit I haven’t read a single one of those dozen Civil War books and know not a whit about any of it. That’s defeating the entire purpose of having shelves of books!

Will you join with us this while you are Spring cleaning and critically look at your book collection? What systems do you have in place to make sure you’re keeping room on the shelves for the books you really want there?

Episode 21: Organize yourshelf; Storing books with Jamie Shaner

Episode 21: Organize yourshelf; Storing books with Jamie Shaner

This week we are joined by Jamie Shaner, a professional organizer who founded Home Solutions of WNY, Inc. in 2005. She is also an avid perennial gardener who loves playing in the dirt,  and enjoys reading and listening to all kinds of music. This was an interview we looked forward to for a long time, both for her expertise as well as because of her approach toward books, which to quote her is: “As a professional organizer, I’m authorized to say there’s such a thing as too many suitcases, too much jello in the pantry, or too many dolls with eyes that move, but rarely ever too many books.” 

In this episode we talk about:

1. Note that Jamie’s book philosophy is that one can rarely have too many books (not never), so she does share with us some circumstances that may show that we have books that might be better served finding a new home for.

2. For all of our remaining books, we talk about finding ways to store books appropriately using the space we have available. One missed book storage opportunity that both Amanda and I are guilty of is picking short bookcases- why limit yourself to that when we could find one that goes all the way up the wall that can use that rarely-utilized vertical space.

3. We were very interested to ask Jamie her thoughts on Marie Kondo, the rather famous organizational expert who has gotten some flak through the years for her sometimes sparse attitude towards owning and storing books. Jamie gave us her personal method of helping her clients organize: “Do you need it, do you use it, do you love it (if it is something loveable), and do you have the space to store it?” She shares with us how she would apply it specifically to books and it is incredibly helpful!

4. If we do every find ourselves needing to downsize our book collection, Jamie also had thoughts on what to do with the ones that we, as she put it, “release out into the universe for someone who does not have these books of their own.” 

5. We also got into the organization of books once you have the spaces set to store them. The librarian half of our duo loved this part of the discussion and, while we recognize that everyone is going to have their own “cataloging” system for their home collections, she gave us some great thoughts and tips if you are struggling managing it.

We are so grateful to Jamie for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her and her company can be found in the following places:

In Organize yourshelf: storing books, we mention:

Websites:

Home Solutions WNY Inc

University of Buffalo Annual book sale

How Amanda’s bookshelves are changing as a result of Jamie’s interview

Facebook:

Books we mentioned:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Ann Patchett (Author)

Barbara Kingsolver (Author)

Anne Tyler (Author)

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Episode 20: Learning a new language? Grab a novel! with Camilla Bates

Episode 20: Learning a new language? Grab a novel! with Camilla Bates

This week we share with you a great strategy for learning a new language: reading! If you’ve ever tried learning a new language by reading novels for fun, you may have experienced the great benefits this form of studying has. After all, if we know it is helpful for our kids learning their native language, it makes sense that free reading in a new language is a good idea.

This week we are joined by Camilla Bates, a small-town Spanish teacher (as she describes herself). She grew up in Northern Minnesota and Michigan and is now settled in rural Western Colorado, where she and her husband are raising their two boys. She has taught Spanish for more than fifteen years, has written two books and set up a website to share ideas and resources with other language teachers. 

In this episode we talk about:

Learning a new language by reading

1. How her interest in Spanish and eventually teaching it got started (slowly!). She started off taking Spanish classes herself in high school, never thinking she would stick with it. Something kept going, however, and by her third year she had discovered

2. The link between “free reading” and language learning. She learned about the important link between the two in conferences and now includes it in her classes. She wanted to give her students enjoyable things to read and wrote a four-part story with another teacher. It opened the world of writing to her and she has continued to write Spanish stories and has published two books so far, including one about a student trying to learn how to speak Spanish, which her students very much relate to!

3. While offering her students this “free reading” time to solidify the vocabulary and other things they are learning about the language, Camilla talks about the benefits of reading fiction.  “Most studies have shown that we actually learn more from reading fiction than we do from reading non-fiction, which seems counter-intuitive, but….studies have shown!” While she does include non-fiction books in her classroom collection, a great deal of it is fiction.

4. Teaching high school, Camilla is dealing with many students who do not regularly read for themselves, which poses challenges. “By the time I have them in high school, I would say 75% of my students identify as not liking reading. So when they come into my room and they are reading…- not just reading, but reading in a second language- I want it to be as comfortable an experience as possible… I don’t require them to do anything at the end of it. They literally come in, they choose a book, sit down and read.” At the end of the semester, however, she asks them something that they have learned from reading and the answers she gets are “spectacular.” 

5. Along with the “free reading” that she has her students do in every class period, Camilla also reads stories aloud to her students when teaching them new material, which helps students at every level for different reasons!

6. Camilla’s second book, Soy Carlos, was written because people always ask her how they can learn Spanish when they are not able to take a class. She always tells them to read in Spanish, but it is often difficult to find material at the right level, so she wrote a graphic novel aimed to help people learn Spanish on their own!

As a Spanish teacher, she is in a great postition to give us advice if we want to learn a second (or third or fourth, etc) language. She reminded us to start small- don’t immediately dive in and try to read Harry Potter. She gave us some great resources to get started, which we will link to below.

In “Learning a new language? Grab a novel!” we mention:

We are so grateful to Camilla  for taking the time to talk with us! More information about her, her books, and her website can be found in the following places:

Facebook

Websites:

Smalltown Spanish Teacher’s website

Stephen Krashen’s theory of second language acquisition

Books we mentioned:

Lazarillo de Tormes by Anonymous

Las Cronicas de Narnia (series) by C.S. Lewis (English version pictured here)

La Tutora de Español by S. Camilla Bates

Frida Kahlo by Kristy Placido

Biography of Santana

Los sobrevivientes by Bryan Carl Kandel

Soy Carlos by S. Camilla Bates

Dog Man (series) by Dav Pilkey

Hombre Perro (series) by Dav Pilkey

Don’t miss out on Episode 19: How We Read with Lucia and JR Ratliff