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Wednesday
Jan212009

Little bunny books - reading despite school

As I remember the story, grandson Paul came home one day from first grade and declared that he didn't like to read anymore. Coming from a "reading" family, this wasn't received particularly well. A little investigation by his parents discovered what Paul really didn't like was reading the required materials in the reading series. He called them "little bunny stories." The happy ending is that Paul's parents visited the library and bookstore and found books more suited to his reading interests. Mostly Dave Pilkey Captain Underpants books (that his grandfather enjoys as well).

I'm thinking of this bit of family lore as I read Kelly Gallagher's e-book, Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It. [Thanks so much for the head's up about this book from Dr. Joyce at the NeverEnding Search where she includes a lot of other really good information about the book as well.]

Gallagher defines:

Read-i-cide:noun, the systematic killing of the love ofreading, often
exacerbated by the inane, mind-numbing practices found in schools

and suggests that

...rather than helping students, many of the reading practices found in today’s classrooms are actually contributing to the death of reading. In an earnest attempt to instill reading, teachers and administrators push practices that kill many students’ last chance to develop into lifelong readers.

Gallagher offers solutions to schools creating alliterate graduates - one of which is reading for fun. I wish the author had a more positive view of libraries - he insists that classroom libraries best serve kids. This is something the profession needs to work on - emphasizing the school library's role in creating classroom-housed collections.

I often wonder just how much I would read if I was permitted to read only a certain number of pages per day (NO READING AHEAD), only could read things that were interesting to female elementary teachers female elementary teachers - who haven't read any new children's literature possibly since they finished their college children's lit class but even more likely, since they were in elementary or middle school themselves -  assigned, and on which I had to complete worksheets. Is it any wonder why video games look good to kids?

Paul's story had a happy ending despite his school, not because of his school. Paul didn't like reading at the time because he was a good reader, not because he was a poor reader. How sad is it that for all those children who don't come from such superior genetic stock that schools are not helping struggling readers and destroying successful ones?

Share this book, along with Krashen's Power of Reading, 2nd edition, with reading specialists, teachers and parents. But only if you care if the next generation reads more than chat boxes.

Tuesday
Jan202009

Reaction to Obama's inauguration

 

My seven-year-old grandson says it better than I can:

Paul, I felt very happy as well. I also believe it will be a good four years. Or eight. - Grandpa

Tuesday
Jan202009

Silence or insincerity? Your preference

On a recent trip to Mexico, a car I reserved with Hertz was not available. My letter to Hertz on my return:

Dear Sirs and Madams,

I am writing to express my disappointment with your services in Cancun, Mexico in regard to the reservation below. [email with original reservation and confirmation number was attached] Despite having a reservation and calling to confirm it prior to arriving in Cancun, I was told on arrival that there were no cars available. I was not allowed to speak to a supervisor. No time or day was given for when a car would be available. I was forced to rent from National at a rate five times higher than the rate quoted by you. My $118 rental wound up costing me $425 - at that for 5 days instead of 7.

I don't expect to hear back from you but know this - I will NEVER rent from Hertz again and I will tell everyone I can find of this service. As a professional speaker, presenter and writer, I rent cars between 15 and 25 times a year.

Doug Johnson

So after 15 days this is the Hertz response:

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Thank you for letting us know about the difficulties you recently encountered in Cancun. We appreciate the opportunity to review your concerns.

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience you experienced when we were unable to honor your reservation. Although our reservation system is designed to provide a vehicle at the time and place requested, situations can sometimes develop that prevent us from honoring a reservation. Normally our inventory of vehicles is more than sufficient to meet confirmed reservations; however, on occasion, customers do not return vehicles as expected, and the resulting shortages cannot be overcome immediately.

As a service oriented company, we rely on customer feedback to help us maintain and improve our service performance standards. The information you have provided is very important to us, since it tells us how our various locations are doing and where improvements are needed.

Please be assured the appropriate Hertz Area Manager has been notified of your experience. In addition, your comments have been entered into a special report that is reviewed very closely by Hertz Management.

Thank you again for contacting us. We appreciate your business and look forward to the opportunity to serve your future rental needs.

Sincerely,

Shonda Walkup
Customer Relations Administrator
OKC Customer Relations
The Hertz Corporation
P.O. Box 26120
14501 Hertz Quail Springs Parkway
Oklahoma City, OK 73134
U.S. A.

Telephone: 888-777-6095, Ext.4027
FAX: 405-290-2899
E-mail: CustomerRelations@Hertz.com

For all correspondence sent USPS, please use the address below.

The Hertz Corporation
Attn: Customer Relations Department
P.O. Box 26120
Oklahoma City, OK 73126
U.S.A.
---------------
This message (including attachments) may contain information that is privileged, confidential or protected from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that dissemination, disclosure, copying, distribution or use of this message or any information contained in it is strictly prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please immediately notify the sender by reply e-mail and delete this message from your computer. Although we have taken steps to ensure that this e-mail and attachments are free from any virus, we advise that in keeping with good computing practice the recipient should ensure they are actually virus free.

Somehow not hearing from Hertz at all would have been better than this letter oozing with insincerity. Why don't I think Hertz will do one damn thing to change how they operate?

So I am doing what I can. Telling you of my experience. And never renting from Hertz again.

O.K. On with life...

Remember Seinfeld???