A Reading Tale

A Reading Tale

By Kathy Carlton Willis

I’ve always been a lover of books—the opportunity to visit a new world, a new time, a new way of life. What’s your rite-of-passage reading story? I’ll start with mine.

As soon as I started school, Mother encouraged me to learn to read. She was a voracious reader, eager for me to develop the same love of books. This Chatty Kathy enjoyed every form of communications since my first spoken word. The written word was no different—I took to it like gravy goes with biscuits. Remember those Weekly Reader magazines (oh, the delicious smell of the ink and paper!)? The SRA Reading Lab inspired me to read not just for speed, but for retention.

When I received my first public library card around age 6, Mom walked us to the library several times a month. Yes, it seemed like it was two miles uphill both ways, but it was worth it! Our little town of four thousand was blessed with a Carnegie library (built in 1905) full of well-loved books. Mom taught me how to follow my favorite authors—I read all their titles. I knew how to thumb through a card catalog and recite the Dewey decimal system. By the time I outgrew the children’s section, I had read every book and graduated to the “grown-up” shelves.

Most avid readers say their idea of a time-out from stress and life involves curling up with a good book—claw-foot tub or blazing fireplace optional.

My favorite reading tip is this: Don’t waste time on a mediocre book. When reading for recreation, remember that you aren’t in school anymore. You aren’t being graded for reading every word. So if a book doesn’t appeal to you, put it down! Grab a different one. We have only so much time in life—definitely not enough time to get bogged down with a boring book or confusing storyline.

Just because a book earned rave reviews doesn’t mean it’s the right book for you, any more than gorgeous size 7 shoes will fit size 10 feet!

Think about your own reading tale. What was it like when you learned to read? When did you discover your local library? Do you recall the favorite authors of your early years? Who inspired you to read more? What challenges you today in your reading? We all have a story—even a reading story!


Kathy Carlton Willis Bio:

Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis

Kathy Carlton Willis gets jazzed speaking for women’s events and writers conferences across the country. She’s known for her practical and often humorous messages. Kathy enjoys fiddling with words as a writer and also coaches others. When not reading or writing books, she serves as a happy pastor’s wife.
Web: http://www.kathycarltonwillis.com

Reading By The Fire

Ella has been extremely well-behaved here. I don’t think it’s the weather because she hasn’t even been causing problems inside. I think it is the book. She is spell-bound!

Chosen Ones, The Aedyn Chronicles, by Alister McGrath

current contest stats:

– Nessa — 32
– Susan — 23
– Barbara — 16
– Raven — 14
– Alice Audry — 5

— Teresa — 4
— Mama Zen — 4
— Melissa — 4

Plenty of time left to win — 4 days left to get your posts and comments in.  No one on the list is too far behind to win.   Remember, you only have to be in the top 5 to win a book!  If you need a refresher on the rules, look here.

Top 100 Children’s Novels ~ A Meme

I got this from Barbara, who said she got it from, Teacher Ninja turned the list into a meme, who created the meme from someone else’s survey results.  The question is: which of the Top 100 Children’s Novels have you read?  I have put put the ones I have read on bold print and the ones I know of in italics.  Some have comments beside them

100. The Egypt Game – Snyder (1967) — Part of a series I had in my classroom library.  The students liked them.
99. The Indian in the Cupboard – Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe – Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo (2006)

96. The Witches – Dahl (1983)
95. Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren (1950)
94. Swallows and Amazons – Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn – Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted – Levine (1997)  — The book & the movie are very different but both are quite charming.
91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Sachar (1978) — I read this aloud to my students every year.  They loved it.
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall – MacLachlan (1985)  — We read it every year as a required part of the curriculum.
89. Ramona and Her Father – Cleary (1977)
88. The High King – Alexander (1968)  — I love the entire series!
87. The View from Saturday – Konigsburg (1996) — I kept it in my classroom for 5 years — it remained brand new.  The kids found it much too difficult.
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1999) — I read the entire series.
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse – Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief – Turner (1997)

82. The Book of Three – Alexander (1964) see #88
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (200 8)
79. All-of-a-Kind-Family – Taylor (1951)

78. Johnny Tremain – Forbes (1943)  — Again, required curriculum for one of the school I taught in.
77. The City of Ember – DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust – Hesse (1997)  — excellent book — one of the few in our reading program the kids didn’t gripe about.
75. Love That Dog – Creech (2001)
74. The Borrowers – Norton (1953) — again, one of the few in our reading program the kids didn’t gripe about.
73. My Side of the Mountain – George (1959)
my 3rd grade teacher read it to me, and I have read it 20 times since — a couple of times to my own students.
72. My Father’s Dragon – Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning – Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy – Lovelace (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart ( 2007)

68. Walk Two Moons – Creech (1994) — part of the reading curriculum
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher – Coville (1991) — another treasured classroom “read aloud”.
66. Henry Huggins – Cleary (1950)
65. Ballet Shoes – Streatfield (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago – Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake – Enright (1957)

62. The Secret of the Old Clock – Keene (1959) — probably the best loved Nancy Drew story ever.  I’ve read it dozens of times.
61. Stargirl – Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (1990) Horrid book.  I would not recommend it!
59. Inkheart – Funke (2003) — I own the series of three books, each of them more dazzling then the one before.
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken (1962) — reading curriculum which I never taught (I had the “low” reading group).
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars – Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins – Paterson (1978) — reading curriculum which I never taught (I had the “low” reading group).
54. The BFG – Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows – Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)
51. The Saturdays – Enright (1941)

50. Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell (1960) reading curriculum.  The kids liked it.  I found it boring & predictable.
49. Frindle – Clements (1996)
— reading curriculum which I never taught (I had the “low” reading group).
48. The Penderwicks – Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy – Curtis (1999)

46. Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass – Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Blume (1972) — kids favorite reading curriculum
43. Ramona the Pest – Cleary (1968) — kids favorite reading curriculum
42. Little House on the Prairie – Wilder (1935) — kids favorite reading curriculum
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare (1958) — reading curriculum which I never taught (I had the “low” reading group).
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum (1900) I had the entire series in my classroom.  I did not read them all.
39. When You Reach Me – Stead (2009)
38. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling (2003)
37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Taylor (1976) — again, reading curriculum beyond my group’s range.
36. Are You there, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Blume (1970)

35. HarryPotter and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling (2000)
34. The Watsons Go to Birmingham – Curtis (1995) — history curriculum, required reading for the whole 5th grade
33. James and the Giant Peach – Dahl (1961) — again, reading curriculum beyond my group’s range.
32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – O’Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic – Eager (1954) — Wonderful fun!  Pure silly!  A great read-aloud. My students loved it.
30. Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising – Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess – Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II – Carroll (1865/72)

26. Hatchet – Paulsen (1989) — Another loved read aloud.  Kids hang on the edge of their seats.
25. Little Women – Alcott (1868/9)
24. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo (2003) — Wonderful Story!
21. The Lightening Thief – Riordan (2005) — I recently received a recommendation from a 5th grader, so I may have to read it.
20. Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt (1975) — Don’t judge the book by the film.  Excellent read and kids start talking philosophy!
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl (1964)
18. Matilda – Dahl (1988) — Another classroom favorite.  Had 5 copies and there was always a waiting list.
17. Maniac Magee – Spinelli (1990) — Excellent read!
16. Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo (2000)
14. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling (1999)
13. Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit – Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game – Raskin (1978) — again, reading curriculum above my group’s level.
10. The Phantom Tollbooth – Juster (1961) — again, reading curriculum above my group’s level.

9. Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden – Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993) — hate the ending
6. Holes – Sachar (1998) — excellent classroom read aloud — the book is much better than the movie, which leaves out the best parts!
5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Koningsburg (1967) — again, reading curriculum above my group’s level.
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte’s Web – White (1952)

Quintessentially Romance

What are the odds that an amoeba would fall in love with an inkpen? Pretty slim, I’d guess, but many of you know that’s just what happened. You may have even watched it unfold right here online. We thought, when we met online, exchanged emails, then started sending chats fast and furious, that we were being very discreet. Apparently not.

Other emails made their way into my email box — and Amoeba’s — demanding details regarding our sudden online interest in one another. My phone even rang. My niece Cindra called with 500 questions about our budding relationship. I asked how she knew there was a relationship. She told me that the romantic tension in our comments was shorting-out computer monitors all over the net. Then Amoeba got a phone call and two bloggers drove MILES to meet him for lunch and pump him for romantic details.

We decided to meet. There were 3000 miles between us and meeting would require airline tickets and an overnight stay. My friends and family flipped. Some of them flipped for the romance. Some of them wanted to lock me up and throw away the key.

Amoeba flew to Vegas and I met him at the airport. Then I took him to a restaurant where we enjoyed lunch. Then I took him to work with me and introduced him to a large portion of the school staff. Cindra called and grilled him on the phone for 20 minutes. At the end of the conversation she gave him the seal of approval and called the rest of the family and cancelled the amber alert. At the end of the weekend we finally confessed our relationship to our adoring online fan club.

Most of you already knew.

So, with that kind of romance in my own life, are you at all surprised that I like to read romance novels? I am a sucker for Happily Ever-After (HEA) endings. Judging by the way you followed Amoeba’s and my romance, I’m thinking you must like HEA endings as well. With that thought in mind, I signed up to be a Harlequin affiliate. This will always be the blog where you can get a romantic fix.