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The Psychology of Comedy with Matt Meese

Matthew Meese is a sketch comedian and actor who is best known for his role as actor, head writer, and co-creator of Studio C, a popular comedy show on both BYUtv and YouTube. Matt Meese joins the Matt Townsend Show to talk about the Psychology of Comedy. Matt and Jeff Simpson perform a radio play at the end of the segment.

Watch a sketch created by Matt Meese that’s received over 19 million views on YouTube by clicking here

Also be sure to listen to the podcast at: http://tinyurl.com/z9e7q2f

Reading Stamina

As a librarian, the most frequent question I am asked is how can I get my non-reader to be a reader?  Developing a good reader from a reluctant or struggling reader is certainly a complex problem that can be solved with many different approaches. But for today, let’s talk a little bit about a very important aspect of this issue called reading stamina. Having stamina for something means that you are able to stick with it over a long period of time.  One characteristic of a good reader is that they are able to stick with reading over a long period even when the reading may be difficult. Hence, good readers have good reading stamina. Individuals with poor reading stamina usually do not enjoy reading and find that they get bored with it easily. One way that we can help reluctant readers become good readers is to build reading stamina. If you asked me to do 100 pushups having never done one in my life, the reality is that I could not do it; I would need to build up the stamina to do them. The same is true for reading. We can’t expect a reader to go from little to no stamina, to reading like a champ.  So the first step in building reading stamina is to practice!  Just as we build from 1 to 100 pushups, we need to build from 1 to 100 minutes of reading. Starting small and then extending ourselves helps us to build stamina. In this building process it’s important to celebrate the progress. Comments like, “You read ten minutes today and you stuck with it even when you got to those hard words—great job!” Help children see the connection between effort and achievement.  A little practice every day is one good way to help those struggling readers build up those really important reading muscles.

By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING

DISCLAIMER: 

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.



Election Day

Election Day is less than a month away and many people are still undecided when it comes to who they are going to vote for. But for many people this is the least of their worries. There has been a string of embarrassing internal emails from the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee trickling out through Wikileaks. Russia remains the chief suspect in these hacks and some voters are starting to wonder if their votes could be hacked into as well.

With votes being cast on touch-screen computer systems many question the safety of their vote. Richard Forno, from the University of Maryland, says that such a hack is possible, but highly unlikely. Yet, there are those that feel going back to paper based ballots is the answer. Sure, it would take longer to count but the voting would be more secure and there would be no threat of a possible hack.

Forno urges voters to push aside their fears and to trust the system. Find out what you really need to be worried about for this upcoming presidential election. Listen to the full interview on BYUradio here.

Traveling to Rome, Italy

Many people have their own reason for going to Rome. Whether it’s the food, culture, history, or just to get out of town! For me, it’s for the art. You can’t miss it! From beautiful paintings to the architectural feat that is the Colosseum, Rome has something around every corner. Some of the world’s greatest masterpieces have either come from Rome or been completed by artists from Rome. From the Sistine Chapel to Caravaggio’s Calling of St. Matthew, art brings in thousands of visitors each year. Artists like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini worked tirelessly to create pieces that we still enjoy today.

Standing in front of the Trevi Fountain is not only a photo op moment, but a chance to admire someone’s craftsmanship. To appreciate the time it took to carefully carve a delicate face out of stone, or to wait for the paint to dry on a figure’s robes. The fact that many of these works have been in Rome for hundreds of years and are still in top condition is amazing.

There is an art piece for everyone. You can be an expert on technique, someone who appreciates the story the artist is telling, or even pretend to be a gladiator inside it! It doesn’t really matter what you love about a piece, for me it’s a chance to appreciate the talents of others and admire beauty in art. So whatever your reason is to visit Rome, make sure that part of your trip is to see the art.

From the desk of Maren Owen, a producer of Traveling with Eric Dowdle on BYU Radio.

Learn more about some of your favorite places with Eric, Wally and Autumn on Traveling with Eric Dowdle. Weekdays 11am-12pm ET except Tuesdays on BYU Radio (Sirius XM Channel 143).

Tone

By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING

Let’s talk tone.  As a professor of children’s literature, I often find that in my classes it’s good to break down the elements of literature and talk about how they work in the context of judging the quality of a book.  While there are many elements that structure literature, one that I find to be very significant is tone. Tone is defined as the attitude of a writer towards their subject and audience. Literature often has a theme, which is the major issue or idea the author is addressing. And the way the author approaches that theme is the tone. Tone can be described in a variety of ways. It can be formal or informal, humorous or serious, sarcastic or serious, happy or sad. When an author writes, it is important that the tone of the work is suited to both the audience and theme. Take for example, an author writing to preschoolers, who uses a very formal or academic tone to talk about colors. This tone is certainly not the best for that audience.  Another example would be an author who takes a very humorous tone to talk about the death of a child’s beloved pet hamster. That tone would certainly be inappropriate for that theme. So, while authors can use tone in poor ways. It can also be used in amazing ways. One of my favorite authors, Bob Shea, is a perfect example of maintaining an appropriate humorous tone. Shea’s picture book Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads, illustrated by Lane Smith, is a great example of how the use of misdirection, figurative language, and dialect can create a humorous tone. In picture books, illustrations can also impact tone. Think of Chris Van Allsburg’s classic The Polar Express. It’s dark, intense illustrations give it a thoughtful, mysterious tone. Imagine if the pictures had been all bright and bold—what a different book it would have been!  So, the next time you read a book with the children in your life, take a look at tone and think about why the author chose to convey the feelings that they did. And, you just might see a different side to an old favorite. 


Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, illustrated by Lane Smith, Roaring Brook Press, 2014.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.  Houghton Mifflin, 1985.

DISCLAIMER: 

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

Is Anti-Bacterial Soap Bad for You?

Always gathering your favorite anti-bacterial hand soaps with the best-smelling scents? According to Dr. Sarah Ades, maybe it’s time to reconsider using those in your home:

“What’s the downside to having antibacterials in soap? It is potentially huge, both for those using it and for society as a whole. One concern is whether the antibacterials can directly harm humans. Triclosan had become so prevalent in household products that in 2003 a nationwide survey of healthy individuals found it in the urine of 75 percent of the 2,517 people tested. Triclosan has also been found in human plasma and breast milk. Most studies have not shown any direct toxicity from triclosan, but some animal studies indicate that triclosan can disrupt hormone systems. We do not know yet whether triclosan affects hormones in humans. Another serious concern is the effect of triclosan on antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Bacteria evolve resistance to nearly every threat they face, and triclosan is no exception.”  -Dr. Sarah Ades

Listen to the rest of the podcast here

Matt talks with Dr. Sarah Ades, an Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Penn State University. Prior to arriving at Penn State, Dr. Ades received her B.S. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and Ph.D. in biology from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Recently, research regarding antiseptics found that the chemicals have little benefit but a lot of risk for individuals. An F-D-A ruling in September banned the use of 19 antiseptics from household soaps, but what does that mean for you and me? Dr. Sarah Ades explains.

Formula to Live a Better and Longer Life

So many daily events in our lives make us feel exhausted. Picking up after kids, going to and from work in the never-ending commute, and trying to balance everything else can wear you out. Dr. John Day, MD, tells us how we can get out of the day-to-day rut, and appreciate our lives a little more:

“Connecting with people socially (but not electronically), getting enough sleep, managing your stress, being physically active throughout the day, not just at the gym, and eating real food are all ways to help yourself live a longer and fuller life. The average lifespan in the U.S. is 78, but the average American is basically disabled the last 10 years of life. There are lots of pills and doctor visits. Where did the golden years go? We not only want to make life longer, but we want to have a higher quality of life.” -Dr. John Day

Listen to the rest of the podcast at: http://tinyurl.com/h4c56lq

Matt talks with Dr. John Day, the Director of Heart Rhythm Services at Intermountain Healthcare. He is board certified in cardiology and cardiac electrophysiology and has published more than 100 manuscripts, abstracts, and book chapters. As we progress throughout life, we are constantly on the lookout for those things that will help make our lives longer and more enjoyable. For some, a simple walk in nature is just what the doctor ordered. Others need a busy schedule to feel they are being productive. For all of us, however, there are simple steps we can take to make our lives better. Dr. Day explains how to live longer and live better.

Book Review: Quit Calling Me a Monster

Book Review: Quit Calling Me a Monster by Jory John and Illustrated by Bob Shea. Random Books for Young Readers, 2016

By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING

Even though he’s technically a monster (because he has horns and purple fur) it doesn’t mean that he likes to be called that. When he’s shopping for groceries or just trying to get some sleep under your bed, there is no need to call him a monster when you could call him by name. He is Floyd, after all. Setting out a very good argument, Floyd let’s readers know that even though he does everything you might expect from a monster, it does not mean that he should be treated like one. He just wants you to get to know him as a person, or monster. 

Conversing directly with the reader, Floyd’s conversational and direct style makes the text of this book very endearing. Through both the text and the pictures we get to know Floyd’s monster nature. It also allows readers to realize that they just might be misinterpreting what Floyd’s outsides make him on the inside. Depicted with gangly limbs and rough fur saturated with dark tones, Floyd is equal parts endearing and scary, making the style of the illustrations a perfect complement to the text and the theme. There is a good message here about not stereotyping or judging. But it is so well-woven into Floyd’s banter that it is not didactic in any way. Subtle touches of humor also add to the book which will prove to be a great read aloud and discussion starter for conversations about empathy.

Find this and other book reviews at: http://byucbmr.com/

DISCLAIMER: 

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

Poetry by Marilyn Singer

By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING

When I begin the discussion of poetry in my children’s literature classes, I am often greeted with groans and apathy. It seems that somewhere along the way many of my students have lost any connection that they may have had with the joys of poetry. It’s impossible to lay blame for this loss at any one event or group, so I’ve never really tried to address why it’s lost. I only focus on the fact that I find it really sad that poetry is, for many, a hardship. In my classes, I combat this apathy by trying to reintroduce the joys of poetry. We read fun poems and study some of my favorite poets, one of which is Marilyn Singer. Singer is a multi-talented author, who may be familiar to many because of her delightful Tallulah books which recount the adventures of a darling girl who loves to dance. But among her many picture books and novels, Singer is also a talented poet. Singer writes poems about all kinds of things, from dogs to sticks and superheroes to aliens. She even wrote a whole book with poems about the presidents of the United States called Rutherford B. Who Was He? All her poetry is delightful and sure to engage a wide range of readers. But Singer is particularly notable because she created her own form of poetry! We’re all likely familiar with a wide range of poetic forms such as the sonnet, ballad, ode, limerick, or the ever present haiku. But it was not until Singer that we learned of the form, reverso. A reverso is made up of two poems. When you read the first poem from top to bottom it says one thing. But then when you exactly reverse the order of the lines, changing it only for punctuation and capitalization, it says something else. The form is perfectly masterful in that you get two distinct points of view in exactly the same poem, only reversed!  So far she has published three books in the form, Mirror Mirror and Follow Follow are reverso’s based in fairy tales and Echo Echo is based on Greek Myths. Each are full of fun and may just help everyone find a little joy in poetry again. 


Echo Echo: Reverso Poems about Greek Myths by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josée Masse. Dial Books, 2016.

Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josée Masse. Dial Books, 2013.

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josée Masse. Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2010.

Rutherford B. Who Was He?: Poems About the Presidents by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by John Hendrix. Disney-Hyperion, 2013.

Tallulah’s Tutu by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Alexndra Boiger.  Clarion Books, 2011.


DISCLAIMER: 

At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

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