Hot Tea and a Good Book

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Snow coming down outside my classroom window

It’s a snowy winter morning here, and I’m at work rather than home, but I have a lovely blending of the two worlds today in that my teaching job will also allow me to do some reading…because the students have one of their very important “Free Reading Fridays”.

Such activity is based in scientific and educational evidence…the practice of sustained silent reading, of material students choose, increases student skill and promotes the possibility not only of creating life-long readers, but also life-long learners. Here’s a .pdf document about the practice, if anyone is interested in learning more about the pedagogy behind it.

I’ve been teaching for 26 years. In that time, I’ve seen stress, anxiety, and demands for students go up (in part thanks to high stakes testing) and the ability to focus not only on content but also on the joys of learning (and reading!) go down. This is one way of providing students with a bit of time away from academic demands that carries with it some good educational benefits simultaneously. And part of the process is that they see their teacher reading along with them – so I benefit as well (and heaven knows I have precious little “free reading” time of my own in my life outside of school). 🙂 Many students have thanked me over the years for these opportunities, as they find books they never knew about (I maintain two large book shelves of free-reading novels, non-fiction, and poetry for multiple reading levels in my classroom), a love of reading they didn’t know they had, and/or a little break from the constant pressure to perform in the classroom eight periods a day.

So it’s the best of both worlds for a few class periods today.

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Advanced proof of A PLEDGE OF BETTER TIMES by Margaret Porter

My tea this morning is Twinning’s “Winter Spice”, and my book is an advanced reader copy of an historical novel by friend and fellow author Margaret Porter – her upcoming title A Pledge of Better Times (the link is to the Goodreads page for the author and book). It’s set at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th centuries, and follows the political and emotional worlds of Lady Diana de Vere and Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans. It’s fascinating and enjoyable reading. The novel will be publishing in April, and I’m sure I’ll post another reminder then.

Happy Friday, everyone!

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