Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Do Kids Read Anymore? With Miralee Ferrell (Plus Giveaway)


By Ellie Whyte

With the emergence of device technology and the popularity of video gaming, today's children are less inclined to play outside or even play inside constructively, such as with Lego or with board games. Reading a book is even less of a priority. So how do we encourage our children to read?

Miralee Ferrell talks about this very issue on Fresh Fiction, and has kindly supplied part of the article here, with the opportunity to win a copy of her latest title, a children's book A Horse for Kate, by commenting on the end of this blog post. How do you encourage your children to read? Should we be writing stories for them to read? Are eBooks a good option, since eReader apps can be easily added to their devices, or is a print book preferable? Would love to hear your thoughts!



Do Kids Read Anymore?
By Miralee Ferrell

If you hand a middle-grade child a book, a video game, a tablet, smart phone, or the remote to the TV, which do you think they’ll pick. Of course, it’s totally dependent on the child, but I’m sad to say I think the book would often come in last. The same can probably be said if you make those same offers alongside going outside to play—technology often wins.

I grew up loving to read and play outside with my sisters and friends. We lived in a different age than today—our parents allowed us to play baseball with a group of neighborhood friends in a vacant lot a half-block away without adult supervision, and we often didn’t come home until dark. We rode our bikes down a steep hill in a residential area—and yes, I crashed one time, flipping over my handlebars and landing on the asphalt—but no one ever assaulted us or approached us in an inappropriate way.

But wait—I’m getting off my subject. Kids and books. Do kids read anymore?

Read the full article at Fresh Fiction




Enter the Giveaway

Comment below with your thoughts about encouraging kids to read, or writing stories for kids, and be in the draw to win a copy of Miralee's new book for middle grade readers. A perfect gift for your own young reader, or to donate to your local church library for all the young readers to enjoy.

Please include your email address in your comment with the format name (at) email (dot) com so we are able to contact you if you are drawn as the winner.

Giveaway open to entrants WORLDWIDE, and closes Tuesday April 21, 2015.





BONUS GIVEAWAY FOR UNITED STATES READERS! 

Do your kids love horses? Film a short video telling me why and you could win lots of really cool prizes from Breyer Horses! Follow the link below for more information. 
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Author Bio:
Miralee Ferrell is the author of The Other Daughter and four books in the Love Finds You series, which includes the award-winning novel Love Finds You in Sundance, WY, along with the best-selling novel, Blowing on Dandelions, part of the Love Blossoms in Oregon series. She recently started writing horse novels for kids, with a four-book series with David C Cook. She and her husband live on eleven acres in southern Washington State, where they love to garden, ride horses, take hikes, and visit with their children and grandchildren.







ELLIE WHYTE is a long-time supporter of Christian fiction and is the founder and owner/operator of Soul Inspirationz // The Christian Fiction Site which relaunched after a 5-year hiatus in January 2013. Ellie also has aspirations for her own writing career, and has begun working on a project set in New Zealand in the 1850s. 
Pinterest: SoulInspiredNZ http://www.pinterest.com/soulinspirednz/

23 comments:

  1. I am so happy my granddaughter loves to read. Her brothers? Not so much. I can still remember going to the library in my little town where I grew up every Saturday. It was a tiny library, but we always found something new to read. That love of reading has grown up with me. I think it helps us in all facets of life. sonja dot nishimoto at gmail.com

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    1. How wonderful your granddaughter loves to read! I'm sure when she is older she will love reading the same books you now enjoy.

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    2. Sonja, We had a tiny library as well...both when I was young, and when raising our kids, and we'd search for books we hadn't read. Libraries play such an important part in our communities!

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  2. My husband and I are committed to raising readers! While I was pregnant with him we began to build a home library and to read to him through my belly. As our first child, he didn’t even glimpse the television until he was 16 months old. However, I read to him all the time so that it became a part of our life. Joseph began reading before his second birthday. (Seriously, you should have seen the looks on the faces of the other patience in the pediatrician's office). While most mothers of young children would worry if their child had been quiet for awhile, I did not because I usually found Joseph sitting on the floor of his room with an open book.
    My daughter did not take to reading as quickly as her brother, but she did begin to read before kindergarten. She simply had too many other things to do besides sit still while I read to her.
    I’ve made a list of things that I feel help encourage reading:
    1. Limit screens - 30 minutes a day with an occasional full length movie. The dvd player in our van is only used for road trips. Exceptions are made from time to time when I’m feeling sick or they are home from school due to illness.
    2. Allow children to choose titles that interest them. We visit our local library weekly. Don’t be afraid to tell them a book is inappropriate or goes against your beliefs.
    3. Model it! I always have a book that I am reading - sometimes a few.
    4. Read aloud.
    5. Show interest in what they are reading - Ask the kids what they are reading, what the story is about, and what they like about the book.
    6. Praise them for reading accomplishments - like remembering the sequence of events correctly, pronouncing difficult words, and learning a new fact.
    7. Make reading fun. For the past 3 Summers we have conducted our own family Summer Reading Program with fun prizes and a grand prize (a baseball game) for finishing strong.
    8. Pay attention to their interests and buy books on that topic. For my son it’s robots, science, and joke books. For my daughter it’s horses, dolphins, and kittens.

    @AmandaGeaney
    geaneymail (at) gmail (dot) com

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    1. What good tips, Amanda! Thank you for sharing! I really like numbers 5 and 6, because when I was young, I loved to read, but my comprehension was sorely lacking. Maybe if an adult had taken the time to discuss what I was reading, it may have helped me begin to comprehend a lot quicker. And number 7 sounds super fun!

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    2. Hi Amanda, what a well thought out reply. Thank you for all the helpful suggestions. I'm sure this will benefit more than one parent who reads it.

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  3. My two daughters love to read. My first son greatly prefers electronic devices. My youngest son is just learning to read and seems to love it so far.

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    1. Hi Becky, maybe your son who prefers electronic devices can be encouraged to read books on a tablet. Whether 'real' book or ebook, if they're reading and using their imagination, that's what matters, right?

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    2. I agree with Miralee. Kindle has a free app for devices. One of the books I've downloaded to my own Kindle app on my phone is The Action Bible, which is a new version of the older comic version of The Picture Bible, which I grew up on. It's a big file, but sooo worth it! http://amzn.to/1yzkG6L

      And then of course, new kids books have Kindle versions available, and some of the older kids books have been given Kindle editions as well.

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    3. I should mention that the Easter Story from the Action Bible is free at the moment: http://amzn.to/1FPRghR

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    4. He does occasionally read on the tablet. It's more a matter of finding books that he enjoys.

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  4. Both my children (15 & 9) enjoy reading books. The oldest is an avid reader, loves to paint and draw (she recently had a self-portrait win an encouragement award at the Mosman Art Gallery Youth Awards). We read to her every night, even when she was older I introduced her to my favourites and classics like Pride and Prejudice. She loved been read to but struggled with reading until at about 9 years old we starting reading the Deltora Quest (Emily Rhodda) books - she wanted to know what happened faster than our reading sessions, so picked up the books and powered through them. She didn't look back.

    My son loves minecraft and robocraft - it's amazing to see what he can make & what he learns about science, computing etc. He is a picky reader but last year he discovered Diary of a Whimpy Kid and the Big Nate - and this year he stared the school's Advanced Reading program. Now he often reads daily.

    We haven't been strict about much screen time the kids had but I'm a reader, we have read to them, taken them to the library and encouraged reading. All of which helps, especially when they find the book that engages them.

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    1. I should add that my son loves reading or being read The Adventure Bible :)

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    2. Grabbing their interest is half the battle - not really any different for us adults ;-) LOL

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    3. Jeanette, that's wonderful that both of your kids like to read or work with their hands. My son was the same way-he loved building things, and now he's a pilot and in medical school.

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  5. Very timely and important article. Our son's house is nearly over run by books for their six children. They have been read to since birth and all still like to read - or now read to Grandma a favourite story. However, before last Christmas, our seven year old granddaughter told her parents she hoped she got a book this time that was interesting enough to read. This reminded me we need to try and keep up with their current interests and the kind of books (and authors) each child prefers. Their wise parents do have rather strict rules about how long they can spend staring at screens and on their games though.

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    1. I agree Mary, a real print copy can't beat an e-copy when it comes to the health of our eyes. More so for children than adults, but something for us all to be mindful of. While e-readers and other electronic devices are great, we should be wise in how much time we spend on them each day (preaching to myself here LOL). It's one of the many reasons reading print books should be encouraged.

      And I hope you can find out what your seven-year-old granddaughter is interested in reading and find that there's something appropriate already available to whet her appetite! If not... would you write it? ;-) LOL

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    2. Hi Mary, I believe you and I were in the same class a few years ago at a writer's conference. So nice to see you here today! What a legacy our children and grandchildren are receiving when we read to them--and allow them to read to us!

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  6. Many of you may know the story as to how bestselling author Robin Jones Gunn got her start. But if not, here it is in a nutshell (from her website): "While on a camping trip with their church youth group, Robin grew concerned when she saw what the girls were reading in their tent. The 13 year-old girls challenged her, saying, “If you don’t want us to read these books then you should write novels for us. We’ll even tell you what to write. How hard could that be?”"

    Robin started out with the Christy Miller books, then the Sierra Jensen ones, and before long she was writing for adults as well. You can read more here: http://www.robingunn.com/about/

    So here's the challenge - if you're a writer of Christian fiction, and your children or grandchildren would like to read but can't always find something that interestes them, why not write stories for them?

    And if they're really keen, why not write WITH them? A couple of Christian novelists who have collaborated on novels with their children are Brandilyn Collins (with daughter Amberly) and Kimberly Woodhouse (with daughter Kayla). Other suthors who have followed their parents' lead are Anne Elisabeth Stengl (daughter of Jill Stengl) and Kelly Eileen Hake (daughter of Cathy Marie Hake). Laurel Oke Logan has written with her mother Janette Oke, and on her own. Gilbert Morris' children Alan Morris and Lynn Morris collaborated on books with him, and also wrote on their own. Jake and Luke Thoene also penned stories, encouraged by their parents Bodie & Brock Thoene. And upcoming debut novelist Rachelle Dekker is the daughter of Ted Dekker. There are bound to be others, but they are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

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  7. I do love horses.. I think my grandchildren would love this book.. Last year they got Kindles for Christmas & are enjoying reading..

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    1. Deanna, I can really see how a Kindle might entice a child to read who hasn't cared much about it before, especially if they love technology--and since all they can do on a Kindle is read (as long as it's a basic Kindle) it's a win-win situation! You can buy A Horse for Kate in Kindle or paperback if you don't win a copy. :-)

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  8. I'll be out of town all day tomorrow, and I'm getting ready to go today, so I may not be able to pop back here much again, but I've loved chatting with you all!! Thank you for having me!

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  9. I think the way to get a kid interested in reading is to find out their interests. If they like sports, give them books on sports. Once they enjoy reading, introduce them to other genres. Let them know there are many types of books to read. This is important especially for kids with learning disabilities. Parents can help by reading to their children and taking them to the library. I have seen the joy on the kid's faces when they get to not only pick out books they enjoy, but they check them out at the Check Out counter on their own library card. The best thing a parent can do for their child is to not only read to them, but get them a library card as well. cleanbooklover@excite.com

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