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"From a porch, other people's lives look interesting," Josephine Humphreys explained. In a sense, the listeners to these stories will be sitting on their adolescent porches, watching and listening to the parade of characters in this book. My hope is they will be interesting enough to somehow lure the passive observer off the porch and into their pages for the lifetime ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 


No Child Left Behind suggests the ravages of poverty can be overcome by vouchers, magnet schools, or more qualified teachers, along with more
testing for accountability.

Not so, say the experts, who equate poverty with gravity — it drags everything down. Read "The Elephant
in the Room"

by Jim Trelease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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READ ALL ABOUT IT!

By Jim Trelease

(Penguin Books) $17.00

Available wherever books are sold; or
sales from the author
;
also, autographed copies

 

THIS is a collection of 50 read-aloud stories and articles aimed primarily at preteens and teens (5th grade and up), all selected and annotated with commentary by Jim Trelease. (See Hey! Listen to This for younger students.) They range from short stories and chapters from young adult novels to newspaper columns and narrative poems like "The Cremation of Sam Magee." The INDEX below contains the book's table of contents. (A note on the Laura-Jenna Bush book of the same title.)

Excerpt from Introduction to the book

 

n 1983, the U.S. Department of Education created a national Commission on Reading. Its challenge: Examine the more than 10,000 reading research projects that had been done in the last quarter century and find out what really works.

   The result was a landmark report called Becoming a Nation of Readers, a compendium of findings, ideas, and recommendations that has been the basis for major changes in the way many of the nation's schools teach reading.

   The Commission's most immediate finding was this:

"The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children."

While this came as a shock to most parents, many teachers and librarians were not surprised. What surprised even them, however, was the Commission's recommendation that the practice of reading aloud "should continue throughout the grades."    The reasoning behind this recommendation is many-fold. Research shows that it is not until eighth grade that a student's READING level catches up to his or her LISTENING level. Until that time, most students are capable of hearing, understanding, and enjoying material that is more complicated that what they could read.

The material being read serves as a commercial for the pleasures of print. The "pleasure" connection is essential in creating lifetime readers and of paramount importance during the difficult teenage years when reading attrition is likely to take place. Two factors make up what might be called a "lifetime reader" formula:

  • Human beings will only do over and over what brings them PLEASURE. (If you hate liver, there is little chance you will repeatedly eat liver.)
  • Like driving a car or swimming, reading is an ACCRUED skill. That is, in order to get better at it, one must do it.

hands with bookhands with bookThe only way to improve your reading is by reading. And the more you read, the better you get at it. The better you get at it, the more you like it. And the more you like it, the more you do it, ad infinitum. But students will not do it if they hate it — because human beings only do over and over what they like.    Thus we are back to the concept of reading aloud to students in order to make the pleasure connection. The impact such practice has on adolescent reading attitudes and appetites is witnessed by the Solomon Lewenberg Middle School (grades 6-7-8) in the Mattapan section of Boston, Massachusetts. As I describe in The Read-Aloud Handbook (Penguin, 2006), the Lewenberg was an inner-city school drawing from some of the lowest socioeconomic corners of the city, and its reading scores ranked last among the 22 middle schools in the school system. Four years after it instituted daily sessions of reading aloud to students, along with sustained silent reading (SSR), the school's reading scores rose from last place to first in the district.

 Since the Commission on Reading's recommendations, increasing numbers of parents and teachers would ask me, "What can I read to teens? Is there any kind of collection available?"

With that in mind, I created this collection for older students. The anthology format is especially ideal for this latter group for three reasons:

  1. The frantic lifestyle of both the parent and the adolescent;
  2. The brevity of the classroom period;
  3. The sometimes shallow nature of the adult's personal reading background.

       In making the selections for this collection, I used a simple tool: hindsight. First, I asked lifetime readers, "What did you like to read for yourself when you were a teenager?"

I also recalled what I used to read to my children, Jamie and Elizabeth, when they were teens—scraping and stacking the dinner dishes for washing. While they accomplished the dish chores, I would read aloud newspaper columns, magazine articles, sometimes portions of a novel that I was reading for myself. Lifetime readers swim in a sea of print from many different sources — not just books.

image of ball and bat

   The newspaper selections are human interest columns from some of America's best journalists, along with a number of short but powerful op-ed essays. The nonfiction selections range from the origins of teenagers' favorite fast foods (potato chips, pretzels, peanuts, and popcorn) to a father and son's trip to Fenway Park—interrupted by a broken bat flying into the stands. The locales varied from a filthy Soviet prison camp to the immaculate bedside of a brother who remained in bed for nearly 33 years, from the sidewalk perch of a black New Yorker trying to hail a cab in midwinter to the iceberg home of a shipwrecked sailor.

With each selection I have attempted to rectify what I have long felt was a mistake on the part of publishers. They go to great expense publishing the work of the author, but devote only an inch of copy in the book or on its jacket to biographical information. Books are written by people, not machines; they are created by men and women with fascinating personal stories of how they came to be writers or how they created a particular story.

With that in mind, each selection is preceded by an introduction or author profile. Among them you will find:

  • An award-winning novelist who persevered in spite of 1,147 rejection notices from publishers (Allan Eckert);
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  • A famous poet who was mistaken for a thief and shot at while writing one of his most famous poems (Robert W. Service);
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  • Another poet who graduated from Harvard with straight A's, soon thereafter jokingly wrote one of America's most famous poems for a Sunday newspaper, was paid five dollars for it, and never wrote anything of any merit for the rest of his life (Ernest Lawrence Thayer — "Casey at the Bat");
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  • A man who spent his teenage years as a "groupie" at the George Burns radio show, then grew up to become of the three most famous science fiction writers in the world; (Ray Bradbury)
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  • An author who grew up in an alcoholic home and never spent more than five months in any one school as a child but wrote a hundred books by age 50 (Gary Paulsen);
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  • A Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist who "disappeared" for the next 40 years (Harper Lee);
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  • A world-famous mystery writer who turned out to be two people instead of one, and neither of them famous (Ellery Queen);
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  • An author who wrote India's most famous stories while living happily in the United States, and then was driven out of the country by a drunken brother-in-law and nosey American reporters—a half century before grocery store tabloids were born (Rudyard Kipling).
       In constructing the book I kept in mind the framework of a "front porch." Novelist Josephine Humphreys once explained the success of southern writers by the fact that so many of them got their start sitting on front porches and watching the town go by. "From a porch, other people's lives look interesting," she explained. In a sense, the listeners to these stories will be sitting on their adolescent porches, watching and listening to the parade of characters in this book. My hope is they will be interesting enough to somehow lure the passive observer off the porch and into their pages for the lifetime ahead.
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Excerpts from

Read All About It!

included here:

gary paulsen image
Gary Paulsen author profile, by Jim Trelease
ball and bat
"Trip to Fenway
Drives Home

the Truth"


Other author profiles by Jim Trelease:
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 Beverly Cleary     Wilson Rawls


Read All About It!
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CONTENTS
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  GROWING PAINS
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, from the novel
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  • "Aunt Millicent" by Mary Steele
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  • "Broken Chain" by Gary Soto, from Baseball in April
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  • Four Miles to Pinecone by Jon Hassler, from the novel
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  • "We Find More Than Bullfrogs at Clement's Pond" by Patricia Pendergraft, from Miracle at Clemen's Pond
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  • "Object Lesson" by Ellery Queen
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  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, from the novel
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  • "Thank You, Ma'am" by Langston Hughes
 ANIMAL TALES
  • "The Prettiest" by Cynthia Rylant, from A Blue-Eyed Daisy
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  • A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck, from the novel
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  • Good Old Boy: A Delta Boyhood by Willie Morris, from the novel
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  • Incident at Hawk's Hill by Allan Eckert, from the novel
  FANTASTIC TALES
  • When the Tripods Came by John Christopher, from the novel
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  • The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar by Roald Dahl, from the novel
 CLASSICS
  • "Rikki-tikki-tavi" by Rudyard Kipling, from The Jungle Book
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  • "How the Baron Came Home Shorn" by Howard Pyle, from Otto of the Silver Hand
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  • "Joseph: His Dream" by Walter de la Mare, from Stories from the Bible
 OLD CHESTNUTS
  • "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer
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  • "Casey's Revenge" by Grantland Rice
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  • "The Cremation of Sam McGee" by Robert W. Service
 OLD CHILLING TALES
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  • "Fear" by Rhys Davies
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  • "Who's Afraid?" by Philippa Pearce
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  • "The Elevator" by William Sleator
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  • "The Night Watchman" by David Braly
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  • "The Ravine" by Ray Bradbury, from Dandelion Wine
 OUT TO THE BALLGAME
 ESCAPE READING
  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglass, from his autobiography
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  • Act One, by Moss Hart from his autobiography
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  • "The letter," by Loren Eiseley from All the Strange Hours
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  • Alexander Dolgun's Story by Alexander Dolgun with Patrick Watson, from the autobiography
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  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, from her autobiography
 HISTORICAL FICTION
  • The December Rose by Leon Garfield, from the novel
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  • Sarah Bishop by Scott O'Dell, from the novel
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  • North to Freedom by Anne Holm, from the novel
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  • The Iceberg Hermit by Arthur Roth, from the novel
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  • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi, from the novel
 PAPER CLIPS
  • "Wrong Mom? Tough!" by Mike Royko
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  • "Nothing to Worry About" and "The Turtle" by Jim Bishop
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  • "He Was No Bum" by Bob Greene
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  • "The Yellow Handkerchief" by Pete Hamill
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  • "I've Got Your Number" by Robe Imbriano
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  • "Why Ali Loved Flag Burnings" by Craig Nelsen
 NONFICTION AS LITERATURE
  • "Helping Hands," by Brent Ashabranner from People Who Make a Difference
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  • "In the Pantry," by Charles Panati from Extraordinary Origins of Everyday Things
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  • "Power of the Powerless: A Brother's Lesson" by Christopher de Vinck
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  • Woodsong by Gary Paulsen
 SURPRISE ENDINGS
  • "Those Three Wishes" by Judith Gorog
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  • "It Happened on the Brooklyn Subway" by Paul Deutschman

 

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