Headlines for Saturday:

  1. Quiet time (123 words)
  2. The Reading Solution, and thoughts on education (751 words)
  3. Knowing people (298 words)
  4. More food for thought (22 words)



1. Quiet time: 18:33

I keep telling myself that I can't just batch all my writing for my quiet days, but that I have to carve out and protect writing time every day. Writing books suggest rituals such as morning pages, and I'm beginning to see why those sacred times are so important. I have to slow down, still myself, and let questions and thoughts bubble up to the surface.

I've been doing tons of work-related reading and I'm starting to do a bit of writing for my thesis as well. Not only should I do that and my recreational reading, I should also make sure that I have time to think.

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2. The Reading Solution, and thoughts on education: 19:03

If you've read my blog posts from the past few weeks, you know that I'm entirely in favor of convincing impressionable young children that reading is fun and worthwhile. Similarly-minded people may want to check out The Reading Solution: Make Your Child a Reader for Life, an excellently-written book by Paul Kropp that shares strategies on how to help kids fall in love with reading - from infancy to adulthood.

The main points are: read with your child every day, reach into your pocket to buy books, and rule the media (TV time, etc). Kropp shows the importance of reading with kids every day, even when they seem old enough to read on their own. Check out Kropp's must-have lists by age for ideas, and add your own favorites.

I don't know how feasible it is to ask people to read together every day, but I think it's a great idea even for grown-ups. My mom told me stories of how she—not a nanny—would read to me over and over and over again, and I still think my automatic warm and fuzzies come from that time (yes, even when I'm reading gnarly research papers!). When I moved on to reading - and not just the Dr. Seuss books I also loved as a kid, but the communication and business books she also had around the house - I remember occasionally talking about good books with her. I wish I had more of those times. There's something about sharing the experience of a book with someone, talking about what you've learned from it and what you think about it... It's a way of fully experiencing the book and bringing it into yourself. Someday I would like that to be part of my daily ritual - to quietly read for fifteen or twenty minutes, and then share what I've learned from that and from my day with whoever's around (or my blog, although I don't quite get the fun immediate social interaction that way).

Kropp says that it's important to continue that ritual of daily reading even when kids can read on their own. Reading with other people makes reading fun, because it's so much more than reading. It's asking questions about words or stories or life. Let kids interrupt you and go off on tangents. Point out connections. Reading together also shows kids that you value reading. And let them see you reading, too! I remember my mom reading all these books and talking about them...

I liked the chapter on how to deal with excellent, average and ordinary schools. Kropp has good advice for dropping by a school, evaluating the environment, and suggesting best practices, such as daily quiet uninterrupted reading time. I remember how my mom was involved with the Parent-Teacher Association in our grade school, pushing for gifted education programs and making sure that we were challenged.

Another thing that struck me about the book was Kropp's advice to have children do their homework at the kitchen table or some other central place in the house. This shows them the value that schoolwork has to the entire family. One of the comments that J made about her homework made me think a bit; she once shrugged and said, "Well, my teacher doesn't check it anyway." At some point I want to explain to her why teachers give homework (so that you test your knowledge and maybe come up with questions for grown-ups or for the next class) and how she can make the most of it.

If you're wondering why some of my recreational reading and reflection has been about reading lately, it's not just because of J. I used to read my mom's gifted education books when I was a kid. =) I can't help it even now. Part of me steps back from conversations and thinks of phonemics or problem solving or science and what else I can fit into those teachable moments that happen. Put me in front of someone who wants to learn, no matter what age they are, and I'm going to rack my brain for a way to help them learn.

There's an updated version of Kropp's book, if you're curious.

While you're reading about reading, check out my mom's blog posts.

(Isn't it *so* awesome that I can refer you to my mom's reflections?)

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3. Knowing people: 19:24

Carlos Perez wrote:

How do you do it? I noticed that you had over 400 linked in contacts. That's pretty impressive considering that you 'just got out of the boat' and are still in grad. school. What's your secret?
How do I do it? One person at a time. I go to events that I find interesting, and happen to meet lots of people with whom I want to keep in touch and whom I want to help. I smile. I'm enthusiastic about life. This is probably the key thing that draws people to me and which makes it easier for people to talk to me, as I'm often shy about starting conversations myself! I'm interested in other people. I make it easy for people to get to know me, too. Is that a secret? Not really... Isn't that something everyone can do?

I've met all sorts of wonderful people. I think *that's* the secret to having lots of contacts on LinkedIn or elsewhere! Share *stories* with people, not just business cards, and you'll see how wonderful they are. Become part of people's lives and let them become part of yours. I wish I had a million lives so that I could get to know all these people better. If you can figure that out, you'd be set.

I've been a little quiet in both the Toronto and Manila tech scenes, preoccupied with my thesis and with other matters. I've started from scratch before, though, so I know that when I choose to return, I'll be able to.

I don't really have a big network, and I'm not collecting names. I just want to collect experiences and wonderful people... and that's not hard at all!

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4. More food for thought: 19:46


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