Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Guest Blogger: Fiona Ingram

Yesterday I reviewed a highly entertaining middle grade book called THE SECRET OF THE SACRED SCARAB by Fiona Ingram. I just know kids are going to love this book, and I think even reluctant readers will be eager to read about this adventure. THE SECRET OF THE SACRED SCARAB really would make a fantastic gift for the upcoming holiday season.

I am so glad that Ms. Ingram has written a very special guest post for my readers. With the holidays rapidly approaching, it might be a good time to work with your children on their reading skills. In her essay below, Ms. Ingram talks about ways to get your children to be more excited about reading.

Transforming Your Non-reader into a Reader Over the School Holidays

It’s the school holidays and what better time to transform your non-reader into a reader! Hopefully you can take time off to be with your kids, because getting kids hooked on books needs lots of input from Mom! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if your child was an absolute bookworm, devouring regular piles of books and you could see the results in their literacy and comprehension skills at school? Sadly, this is often not the case. Either school reading lists don’t inspire your child, or textbooks are boring, or there’s just too much other ‘stuff’ going on that creates strong diversions. The holidays are perfect for remedying this. You can create lots of interesting, fun projects to do with your child that get them reading.

* Sit down with your child at the beginning of the holidays and do not say “We’re going to read 100 books by the time school starts.” Instead say, “Let’s have loads of fun this holiday. We should make a list so we don’t miss out on anything special.” Don’t mention books at all. Make a list of things to do together.

* Day trips are great because there’s lots of reading involved to prepare for it. It could be to an animal park, a nature reserve, a theme park, or an aquarium—in fact anything to do with nature is the perfect topic because most kids love animals and the outdoors.

* Next stop is a visit to the library to pick out relevant books to read up on the trip. Ask your child’s opinion, or let them decide between two books. At the same time, select books for yourself and suggest your child gets their own library card. If the child does not take out a book right then, don’t worry.

* Was the trip fun? Wouldn’t Grandma (or favorite relative) like to know about it? An ideal opportunity to say, “It’s a pity Grandma couldn’t come with us. We can still share the fun though. Wouldn’t you like to write down what you saw while I sort out the photographs?” You can plan for this in advance by purchasing an attractive blank-page album so the good deed becomes a full project, involving lots of writing.

* Any length of time in the car is a great opportunity for an age-appropriate audio book. Make it an adventure, something exciting involving action to keep your child riveted.

* Time for shopping … at your local stationers or book store. This time let your child pick their own stuff. Reading material does not have to be books. Boys are great fans of video games, so a magazine devoted to the topic is a good way to spark interest. Girls are often infatuated with celebrities and the plethora of gossip magazines out there will be enough to keep her turning those pages.

* It’s movie time! Pick a movie you know is from a book, such as Harry Potter, Chronicles of Narnia, Road to Terabithia, Spiderwick Chronicles etc. Have a fun afternoon at the movies with popcorn, and then on the way home say, “We should get the book!” After the visual stimulation and excitement, your child will not refuse. Buy the book and the movie!

* A holiday diary is also a way of getting your child to write down feelings, experiences, updates, and ‘stuff.’ You can make it a shared experience by writing in it as well.

These are just a few interesting and fun ways to share the experience of reading, without shoving books under your child’s nose.

Thanks to Fiona Ingram for stopping by with these wonderful ideas to get your kids excited about reading! In addition to the creative examples above, Ms. Ingram has provided some additional resources if your kids want to learn more about Egypt:

Here are a number of fascinating sites that will provide information as well as many fun activities to do with your child or pupils (teachers).





* Learn more about the pyramids www.eyelid.co.uk/pyr-temp.htm (recommended)
* Do hieroglyphics look like Greek to you? http://atschool.eduweb.co.uk/trinity/projects/egypt/alphabet.html
* Ancient tombs of Egypt www.nms.ac.uk/education/egyptian/index.php (tomb adventure)
* Read an Ancient Egyptian story http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/Stories/History/Tattooed-mummy

Some interesting books on Egypt to inspire thoughts of adventure and amazing events!

Egyptology by Emily Sands

Join Emily Sands' expedition to find the lost tomb of Osiris. A jeweled amulet glows on the cover, inside the book, there are fold-out maps, postcards, drawings and photographs, ticket stubs, mummy cloth, a scrap of papyrus. (Activity book) And, don't miss the hieroglyphs writing kit from the desk of Emily Sands: Egyptology Code-Writing Kit.

Tutankhamun: The Mystery of the Boy King by Zahi Hawass

Journey back to the time of Tutankhamun with famed Egyptian archeologist Zahi Hawass—experience the thrilling discovery of Tut's tomb by Howard Carter, the boy king's life reconstructed (how old he was, how tall, what clothes he wore, what games he played) and most recent studies of Tut's mummy. Gorgeous photographs. (Picture book)

Secrets of the Sphinx by James Cross Giblin, Bagram Ibatoulline

Get the scoop on the Great Sphinx through the centuries, the sculpture of a lion topped with a man's head. Find out about builders of the Sphinx, rediscovery by Thutmose a thousand years later, protecting the sculpture today. Fabulous illustrations, including reconstruction of the Sphinx with a red face and blue beard. (Illustrated chapter book)

The Ancient Egypt Pop-Up Book by The British Museum and James Putnam

Ancient Egypt leaps off the page in this irresistible pop-up book—a 3-D boat on the Nile, Ramses II in his war chariot, whole pyramid complex at Giza, an Egyptian villa, Hatshepsut's temple at Deir el Bahari, Tutankhamun's funerary mask and mummified head, and Tut's tomb. (Pop-up book)

If I Were a Kid in Ancient Egypt by Cricket Books
Take a step back in time and find out how kids lived in ancient Egypt—eating with your fingers, shaved heads, family fishing trips, popular pets, board games, going to school to become a scribe, and more. (Picture book)

Fun with Hieroglyphs by Metropolitan Museum of Art, Catharine Roehrig

Find out what hieroglyphs mean and how to say them, then write like an Egyptian with 24 different rubber stamps, plus counting, hieroglyphic word puzzles, and secret messages. (Activity pack and book)

The Egyptology Handbook by Emily Sands, Ian Andrew, Nick Harris, and Helen Ward

The companion book to Egyptology, this is a good introduction to the wonders of ancient Egypt—history and dynasties, the great pyramids and tombs, food, dress, work and play, palace life and warfare, hieroglyphs, gods and religion, tales and myths, plus activities to do in each section and stickers. Beautifully illustrated with drawings and historical photographs. (Activity book)

The Riddle of the Rosetta Stone by James Cross Giblin

Find out why this modest-looking black stone is the key to ancient Egypt—where the stone was found, what's inscribed, and how Champollion, having decided at age 11 that he'd read the hieroglyphics, solved the puzzle. (Chapter book, illustrations)

An ABC Escapade through Egypt by Bernadette Simpson

Discover Egypt from A to Z, especially food, animals and culture—dates (Egypt produces the most dates in the world), konafa (traditional dessert for Ramadan), watermelons (cultivated 5,000 years ago), goats, camels and jerboas, village life, city markets and more. Unique and fascinating insights. (Picture book)


Beth F said...

What super tips! I like how one event leads into the others. Thanks too for the recommended books. I'll have to raid this list when picking out books for my nephews.

Fiona Ingram said...

Hi Beth,
It's amazing how books can be woven into many holiday activities. I'm sure you'll find yourself coming up with even more creative ideas.

bermudaonion said...

This is a fantastic guest post and all of the suggestions are wonderful! They're great even for kids who love to read!

Jenny Girl said...

These are great ideas. Thank goodness there are no age restrictions on books some of those sound good to me.

Fiona Ingram said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. I hope your holidays are fill with lots of fun and some great books!