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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

What parents need to know about the magical power of re-reading a book

Dell’Antonia writes about parents who bribe their children to read over the summer, but the same concerns are raised during the school year when teachers reward students for reading. Instead of reading because it’s enjoyable or illuminating or a welcome escape, a kid chooses a book because it will take her to 100 points. That same kid won’t choose a book that she won’t get credit for, and this means that despite the well-intentioned efforts to encourage reading, incentive programs actually discourage some kids from reading the books they feel most drawn to.
Especially troubling is that children rarely receive credit for re-reading a book, an important intellectual exercise. Free from the constraints of a reading program, some children spend the summer re-reading favorite books, and going back to school means putting these favorites back on the shelf.
Re-reading is a different intellectual challenge than reading a book for a first and only time. When a child re-reads a book, he reads it more deeply. Because he already knows the story, subsequent readings allow him to glimpse the author’s craft. He notices that in the first chapter a seed is planted that doesn’t sprout until later in the book. He sees how the author hints at what’s to come. He also reads differently on later readings. Maybe on a first read, the plot was so engrossing the reader hurried through some passages that she lingers over the second time through.
Maybe the child re-reads a book after a few years have passed—this is when re-reading gets really magical. In addition to noticing character and plot elements that weren’t interesting to the younger reader, the older reader also discovers she can use the book as a way to measure and know herself. When she realizes that she totally missed the older sister’s story on her first read but now finds that story compelling, she has an opportunity to reflect on her own growth and where she is in her life. This re-reader makes the miraculous discovery that books are not static: they grow and change as we do.
Re-reading is also essential for higher-level reading that will happen in high school and college. A first read can be a thoughtful and analytic experience, certainly, but a second read always involves some critical thinking. When a child re-reads, he doesn’t just follow the story; he begins to pull back the curtain and understand how the story is made. He doesn’t have to go on to be an English major, but he can carry with him through life the ability to delight in understanding how books work. Understanding how books work is a great platform on which to build an understanding of how people and societies work. This is the foundation of a liberal arts education, the foundation, really, of being a person.
So, as children head back to school, I exhort parents and teachers to encourage re-reading. Even if an incentive is offered, I think intrinsic desire always kicks in when a reader is given the chance to go back to a favorite book. In my children’s novel The Rosemary Spell, the main character refers to the books that help you know who you are—these are books that you re-read at intervals in your life. You go back to them again and again, you read them until the pages grow soft and the cover falls away, and each time, you find something new and you become not only a better reader and an experienced critical thinker, but also a richer person.

Virginia Zimmerman is professor of English at Bucknell University and the author of The Rosemary Spell (Clarion Books, 2015), a novel for young readers.

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Saturday, 9 January 2016

PARENTING - Do You Oil Your Kid’s Hair ?

Every time you look at your kid you chide yourself for not oiling her hair enough like how it was done for you.Every time your mom meets your kids she is scolding you for not applying hair oil on them regularly and that is why their hair looks badEvery time your in laws visit you they claim that all your kid’s health issues are because you do not regularly give your kids an oil bath.

Today, many of us urban dwellers do not apply on our heads or our kids’ because it is now considered not so fashionable to have the oiled hair look. We also are now aware of a lot more hair oil options like almond oil, jojoba oil, sesame oil, mustard oil besides coconut oil and we are not sure what we should be using. So here is a quick low down on hair oils and their uses:

Sesame oil: Highly recommended for hair and body. It is said to promote hair growth and protect the hair. It smells a little funky and therefore kids might resist it! Sidha medicine recommends using sesame oil twice a week on the hair and body to reduce body heat which regulates many other things in the body as well and keeps the body functioning at optimum levels.

Mustard oil: Mustard oil is again great for the hair. It contains Beta carotene- Vitamin A and linoleic acid which is great for the hair. It is especially great to be used for kids who are prone to phlegm and congestion. It loosens the mucus too when applied on the chest areas. It is a heat generating oil.

Olive Oil: This is great for extra course and dry hair. However since it is very greasy, you can apply it and soak it in for an hour and then shampoo it out. If your child has very frizzy hair, you can apply a couple of drops in your palm and use it to smoothen down the frizz. Jojoba oil is also great for extra dry or frizzy hair.
Coconut Oil: This of course the most popular hair oil since it is relatively light compared to the other oils. It is rich in lauric acid and actually penetrates your hair. It is a cooling oil and therefore you may want to avoid it if your child already has a cold and congestion. It has been known to promote hair growth and lessen hair .