Archive for June 11th, 2008
Over breakfast, at the delightful Marriott South, a conversion of the old Liverpool Airport, I enjoyed a good chat with Michael Rosen, who, like me, presented a keynote at this year’s Liverpool Literacy Conference. Michael opened the conference with a fascinating talk, discussing different ways of stimulating the desire to read.
Michael talked about how reading enables us to think in complex ways and juggle with several ideas at the same time. In order to make sense of a story, you need to harvest important information to help you understand the significant areas of a plot. Extended prose requires you to hold on to salient points to understand, for example, the significance of Goldilocks arriving at Granny’s house only makes sense because you remember that Granny has been replaced by the wolf. (Spot the deliberutt mistake and see the COMMENTS!)
A key point that Michael made was that, to make a book loving school, you need to help create book loving homes. He encouraged folk to visit the Reading Connects site for a whole range of useful material.
Over breakfast, Michael and I talked about palindromes. (A word, phrase, verse, or sentence that reads the same backward or forward.)
We agreed that life can feel a bit like a palindrome when you are “on the road”:
Coming and going all the time. The secret, though, is enjoying the delight of the journey in whatever direction.
Palindromes have always fascinated me.
Some simple words are palindromic: rotavator, racecar, radar and repaper…
Michael said that, whenever any girl called Hannah asks for her book to be signed, he asks her how she says her name backwards!
There is a LONG list of palindromic words at Wiktionary HERE
There are also some really clever complete sentences, some of which appear to have a complete back story, like the classic “A man, a plan, a canal: Panama”
Was it a car or a cat I saw?
Two of my favourites are not really legitimate ones, but they are amusing:
- Retteb, si flahd noces eht tub, but the second half is better.
- Doctor Reubenstein was shocked and dismayed when he answered the ringing telephone, only to hear a strange, metallic, alien voice say, “Yasec iovn eilacilla temeg! Nartsa raehoty lnoenoh pelet gnig, nirehtde rewsnaehn ehw. Deya! Msid! Dnadek cohssaw nietsne buerro, tcod?”
Why not visit the great Palindrome City, where you can investigate palindromic foods, cars, games and more.
If you want to encourage teenagers to read, try a visit to the Piczo Read Up site. (To my embarrassment Bill Bailey read a snippet of a book, very loudly, as I was preparing this blog post during Michael’s presentation!) Big Screen encourages students to change the endings of films. The Pitch encourages reading and discussing the best sport books and autobiography.
I love the site ReaditSwapit where you can do just that: read a book and then swap it for another one. I think it really encourages reading (and buying) MORE books as you get to find out lots of ideas for what to read “If you liked that one…”
The Bear Grylls Survival game involves some great text that students might read “without realising it”.
Thank you to all those numerous folk who organised today’s superb event. I look forward to the opportunity of working with you all again soon.
I am coming up to Liverpool in a few days time so would value any suggestions as to what to do “Touristy-styleee”.
Michael, if you are reading this, don’t pick up on all my missed commas, hyphens, spelling mistocks and structure poor sentences of.
In the meantime: step on no pets!