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Finding Yourself in the Stories of Other People

By Sam Payne


In the studio today, the Apple Seed team worked on an episode featuring stories that bring back particular memories for team members. Sharing a version of “The Monkey’s Paw” by Jim May had Deidrene remembering her brother, who made her watch scary movies when she was a kid (including “The Shining,” the memory of which still makes Deidrene afraid of hallways). The Monkey’s Paw was one of the first scary stories I ever heard (it was shared with me by Frank and Gordon White, brothers who babysat my brother and me when we were kids; and by “babysat” I mean “terrorized”). We shared a story by Kate Campbell about going back, as an adult songwriter, to “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a source for a commissioned work, only to discover more richness and depth there than she had remembered from reading the book in High School. That prompted a conversation between Deidrene, Whitney, and me about coming back to stories after years away from them to find them richer, more complex, and more rewarding than we had remembered. For me, that meant remembering reading – as an adult – after many years away from it, the story of Jacob and Esau in the Old Testament, and realizing that it was, in many ways, a story about my brother and me.

 

Increasingly, that’s what stories seem to do in my life. I read a lot with the people in my life -- read out loud with Suzanne, or Suzanne and Leah, or with Sammy. But it seems that whatever book we’re reading gets laid aside every few minutes, as it opens the door to stories we’ve shared in real life. Likewise, we attend a lot of live storytelling performances, and sometimes the show ends to find us lingering in the seats, sharing true tales of our own with each other. Talking about those stories together – unpacking and cherishing them – is the gift given to us by the books we read and the performances we see. The books and the performances open doors through which we walk to find ourselves.

“Phonological Awareness”

“Phonological Awareness”

By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING 

Let’s talk today about something that is important to me as an educator—phonological awareness. This term describes a person’s ability to be able to hear the structure of words including the smaller sounds in words such as syllables and single sounds. A reader’s phonological awareness is a strong predictor of reading ability, with many studies showing that poor readers struggle in this area. Being able to recognize and use the smaller sounds in words are important skills for children to have. Children who are phonemically aware should be able to identify when sounds in a word are the same, identity and make up rhymes, and parse out the syllables in a word. Parents can do a lot of simple things to help develop these skills in children. Common action rhymes, like the Itsy Bitsy Spider, are great places to start introducing the structure and rhyming capabilities of words. Also, playing games with words can help children practice hearing and using word sounds. A simple game of coming up with rhyming words is a great place to start or, for a more complex version, start stringing word sounds into sentences, such as “making milk was Molly moo-cows main matter.”   Another great way to engage children with word sounds is through singing and listening to music. Because music naturally breaks up words into syllables, hearing and playing around with the words in songs naturally helps children recognize sound divisions. And last, but not least, read books with rhymes.  Some of my favorites include:The classic Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See by Bill MartinThe extensive series Llama Llama books by Anna Dewdney, shows there is no end to rhymes,No Sleep for the Sheep! By Karen Beaumont, provides a good foundation for connecting beginning word sounds andPete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin is a rhythmic feast. So with that little bit of advice and a few poems, games, songs, and books, you’re well on your way to helping your children develop their own phonological awareness. 

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.

Worlds Awaiting Book Reviews: Student Reviews

In addition to her duties as our amazing host at Worlds Awaiting, Rachel Wadham also teaches a Children's Literacy class on campus at BYU. This past semester she invited her students into our studio to show what they have learned in the class by reviewing some children's books. Here are some of their favorites.


The Wish Tree by Kylo Maclear

Reviewed by Abbie Harper

[audio src="Abbie Harper; The Wish Tree BLOG.mp3"]

The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming

Reviewed by Alana Buttars

[audio src="Alana Buttars; The Family Romanov BLOG.mp3"]

Leviathan by Scott Westerfield

Reviewed by Bonnie Reid

[audio src="Bonnie Reid; Leviathan BLOG.mp3"]

The Yeti Files by Kevin Sherry

Reviewed by Brianne Brower

[audio src="Brianne Brower; The Yeti Files BLOG.mp3"]

The Color of Home by Mary Hoffman

Reviewed by Carlee Grow

[audio src="Carlee Grow; The Color of Home BLOG.mp3"]

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands

Reviewed by Chelsea Ferrin

[audio src="Chelsea Ferrin; The Blackthorn Key BLOG.mp3"]

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Reviewed by Diana Taylor

[audio src="Diana Taylor; Officer Buckle and Gloria BLOG.mp3"]

Rain Reign by Ann Martin

Reviewed by Echo Harris

[audio src="Echo Harris; Rain Reign BLOG.mp3"]

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Reviewed by Erika Adams

[audio src="Erika Adams; Flora and Ulysses BLOG.mp3"]

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Reviewed by Hayley Imbler

[audio src="Hayley Imbler; The Lightning Thief BLOG.mp3"]

The Duel: The Parallel Lives of Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr by Judith St. George

Reviewed by Jacinda Allen

[audio src="Jacinda Allen; The Duel BLOG.mp3"]

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

Reviewed by Jarrett Bell

[audio src="Jarrett Bell; Pax BLOG.mp3"]

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Reviewed by Jess Verzello

[audio src="Jess Verzello; Heartless BLOG.mp3"]

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Reviewed by Kaitlin Heaton

[audio src="Kaitlin Heaton; Smile BLOG.mp3"]

Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Reviewed by Katheryn Christensen

[audio src="Katheryn Christensen; Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians BLOG.mp3"]

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

Reviewed by Kelsey Sant

[audio src="Kelsey Sant; Sky Raiders BLOG.mp3"]

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Reviewed by Kendall Bosch

[audio src="Kendall Bosch; Mockingbird BLOG.mp3"]

Cyrano by Tai-Marc Le Thanh

Reviewed by Lauren Johnson & Sarai Clemente

[audio src="Lauren Johnson & Sarai Clemente; Cyrano BLOG.mp3"]

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Reviewed by Madison Strasburg

[audio src="Madison Strasburg; Wonder BLOG.mp3"]

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Reviewed by Nicole Jones

[audio src="Nicole Jones; Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library BLOG.mp3"]

Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

Reviewed by Sarah Davis

[audio src="Sarah Davis; Things Not Seen BLOG.mp3"]

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

Reviewed by Willow Sommers

[audio src="Willow Sommers; Sky Raiders BLOG.mp3"]

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