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Although I, and everyone else on this fine planet of ours, am many things. For starters, my name is Julie Krenzler and I live in Surrey. I commute to S.F.U and Harbour Centre for three other education courses in order to finish the last semester of my P.D.P. I enrolled in this course for a few reasons. Firstly, I have always wanted to take this course, either as an English or Education course, yet my schedule never permitted it until now.

I’m intrigued with the possibility of taking an entire course on the nature of children’s books. I also have heard that it is an interesting and thought-provoking course that raises a lot of pertinent questions. Lastly, I am a high school teacher, but I have been faced, many times in the last year, with children’s books and the many possibilities that lie within them for the secondary school student. Children’s books, as I have learned from the first week of reading, are not simply for children, and I think there might just be a way to use them in a high school classroom. I’ll keep you updated on my progress.

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My notion of community has, in the last ten years, expanded in its definition. Community had seemed to me the neighbourhood in which you live. My former definition might have expanded to include family, friends and relatives. Yet in the past ten years my experience of other kinds of communities has reshaped my definition. My experience working on a cruise ship showed me that community could have an international flavour. Attending a church gave me a community that far outreached the bounds of family and relatives. A P.D.P module that showed me that absolute strangers can become a strong community within days. My perception of community, I’m sure, will still expand as I reach out to an online group of Education 465 students this semester as well.

Part B: Reflections on Your Reading Experiences 1. I can’t remember ever being read to as a child by my parents, although I am quite sure that they did it. I did read as a child because there is a picture of me at the age of three reading a book that is upside down. My sister, who is two years older than I was reading at the time and I wanted, so desperately, to read like she did. I simply couldn’t read yet and I didn’t know that books had a wrong and right way up. My sister loved to read and had begun to read very early. I can recall her reading to me and although she probably mispronounced words and skipped lines, I was completely awestruck by her ability to read and, I’m quite certain, jealous of that skill she possessed.

I did eventually learn to read, a little later than my sister I might add, but I never did lose that fervour and sense that I was accomplishing something very special by being able to read. A very poignant memory of mine is driving across Canada with my parents in an old R.V. in the dead of summer. My parents, foreseeing fights, the “Are we there yet?” syndrome and the license plate game repeated ad nauseam, stocked us with books, enough to get us across Canada and back, or so they thought. Halfway through our trek, my sister and I were all out of books, so we stopped at a thrift store and bought countless editions of Reader’s Digest, which we very much did digest all the way back to Vancouver. My parents would attest that our affinity for reading cost my sister and I many sightseeing opportunities, but I like to think that it solidified my love for literature.

Although I did the majority of my schooling in a French Immersion program, I primarily read English books. At home I would read silently and at school there were a few times throughout the day to read. When school didn’t provide enough time, or I was reading a particularly good book, I would read on my own time, on the weeknights and on the weekends. Yet, as time wore on, reading marathons in my room at night became few and far between.

They were replaced with 90210, the latest radio station’s Top Ten at Ten and giggling conversations on the phone. The time and patience that it took to dive into a book was too much effort and the television and phone were quick fixes, which brought instantaneous pleasure. I’m reminded of a reading from the past week by Joan Aiken who wrote, in 1970, that “children have so little reading-time…-there’s school, there’s bedtime, all the extracurricular activities they have now.”(Pg. 9 of Purely for Love in the Course Reader).

Aiken wrote this in 1970; I wonder what she would have to say now with the multitude of distractions such as X-Box and Playstation, MSN and computer games, text messaging and I-Pods. Now, more than ever, children are distracted from the simple pleasures of reading, so much so that in my grade eleven English class some students could not even read for the allotted 15 minutes and have to have background music coming from their disc-mans and MP3 players. I have come full circle and now do love reading as much as I did before, yet there is still a tempting pull in the media direction, for I and many others.

In the last year or so I have realized that I like being read to. I enjoy hearing a talented storyteller read a book, delve into the emotions of the book and create meaning through intonation and voice. I think that storytelling is not purely for children, reading out loud is beneficial, in general, because it allows you to hear the carefully chosen words and weigh them; I think it also allows for more meaning because you hear each word rather than the skimming that occurs when one reads silently.

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