A. Watch Part 1 of an interview with her. Why does she mention these four books?
B. Now watch again and mark the sentences T (true) or F (false). Say why the F sentences are false.
1 What Marion loved about If I Ran the Circus was the pictures.
2 She helped her parents to become readers.
3 She read to her son a few times a week.
4 Her son reads mainly fiction these days.
5 Marion doesn’t like the fact that children’s authors today write about real life.
She mentions the two books because she read them as a child.
1 F (She loves his use of language.)
3 F (They read together every night.)
5 F (She likes that stories are now more true about what children’s lives are really like.)
I = interviewer, M = Marion Pomeranc
M My name is Marion Pomeranc. I’m the manager of Literary Programs and a non-profit in New York City called Learning Leaders, and I also have written three children’s books.
I What was your favorite book when you were a child?
M My favorite book was If I Ran the Circus by Dr. Seuss. Um, it was the first book in my home that was for children. And it was just so exciting to have it, to hold it, to read it. And I still have it.
I What was it that you liked about Dr. Seuss?
M What I love about Dr. Seuss is his use of language. The words, the made-up words, the way the words flow together and sound. It just brought me to a different place. And, uh, loved that.
I Who read to you when you were a child, your mom or dad or both?
M My parents didn’t speak English when I was growing up. They were, they were English learners as I was growing up. And I kind of helped them with language. And I think I introduced books to the home, really. Um, they became readers down the road.
I You have a son, right? Did you read to him?
M I have one son. And as a child, books were very important to me. And I think became important to him because of that. We read together every night. We read books like Stella Luna and Corduroy when he was young. And, and continued to read together, mostly fiction.
I How has writing for children changed over time, maybe in the last 50 years?
M I think books have changed in that authors are more cognizant of writing about real children and real issues. I grew up with stories like Nancy Drew, who lived in this fictional America where everyone was, everyone was white, and everyone had a Mommy and a Daddy. And, and, um, now they write about more honest and, uh, true stories of, of what children’s lives are really like.
I And that’s a good thing?
M And that’s a great thing.
A. Now watch Part 2. What does Marion say is important for getting a) teenagers to read more b) younger children to read.
B. Watch again. Check (✓) the things that she says are good for encouraging teenagers and children to read.
1 Not insisting on them finishing a book.
2 Getting them to buy e-books.
3 Suggesting that they read in bed at night.
4 Accepting that they don’t just have to read books to become good readers.
5 Series of books where the same characters reoccur.
1 Having a lot of books in the house.
2 Going to visit libraries or publishers.
3 Always buying them books as birthday presents.
4 Hearing authors talk about their books.
5 Books where children have a more active role than the adults.
6 Books with beautiful illustrations.
a) In order to get teenagers to read more, it’s important to give them more control over what they read.
b) For small children, it’s important to start them reading when they are very young and to have books in the home – and talk about them – from a very early age.
Checked boxes for Teenagers: 1, 4, and 5
Checked boxes for Children: 1, 2, 4, and 5
I Do you have any thoughts about getting teenagers to read more?
M I do. I think teenagers would read if they were given more control over what they can read. If the choices were their…own, and they weren’t told what they had to read. If they were told they were allowed to put a book down and start something else. Um, and you can read anything. You can read the ads on the subway. You can read a magazine article. You can read the side of a cereal box. I mean, that’s all reading. When the child finds something that they really want to read.
I Are there good authors or books in pop culture now whose material has encouraged teenagers to read?
M Well, I think the biggest inspiration that I…I would…I mean, I would like to say again – to get back to the idea that it is the right book – but I think there are lots of ways into reading, and one of the things that’s very evident is that, um, good films, far from putting children off reading the book, often take children or teenagers to read the book. You take a book like The Beach – all right, it wasn’t a book that was written for children, but it was a, you know, it was a great teen novel. It was a sort of…almost a teen anthem novel and, um, a lot of teenagers read the book after they’d seen the film.
I Going back to kids, what is the key to getting a very young person to start reading?
M I think to get a child to start reading, the key is really to starting when they’re young. Have books around your home. Have a library card. Um, share the books that you read with them. Talk about the books at, at, at dinner. Know what they’re reading, and talk about their books. Take a trip to a publishing house. And, and see what goes into making a book. Meet an author, if you can do that. Go to, go to a bookstore and have someone, hear someone who’s written a book talk about a book. I think you have to just get the excitement of books across. If you’re excited about books, they’ll get excited about books.
I What kind of books do you think young people enjoy reading?
M The kind of books that children like to read are books maybe with a little subversion in them. Books where maybe the adults are a little goofy, and the kids solve the problems. Children want to relate. They want to feel they have a little bit of power. I think young children feel that way, middle-schoolers feel that way. And I think if you look carefully at books that kids really like, it’s the one where, where youth dominates. And, uh, kind of rules the world a little bit.
A. Now watch Part 3. Is Marion positive or negative about new technology and the future of books?
B. Watch again and answer the questions.
1 Why does she prefer to read on an e-reader these days?
2 Why does she think all children should have an e-reader?
3 In what way does she think social media can be positive for kids?
4 How often does she read for pleasure? Where, when, and why?
Marion is positive about technology and the future of books.
1 She can choose the type and it makes it more intimate. She can carry 100 books with her at all times.
2 She thinks it would be great for children to have an e-reader because they can get a book instantly and start their own collections of books.
3 Social media is positive for children because it exposes them to many things; gets them reading and writing about all kinds of topics.
4 Marion reads all the time, for pleasure, to relax, before she goes to sleep. She is often reading three to four books at once.
I Do you prefer paper books or e-books, and why?
M So I now prefer to read books on an e-reader, on my Kindle. I, I have tons of books in my house. And I haven’t bought a book in three years. I only read on my Kindle. And, and love it. Because it’s, to me it’s more intimate than a book. I’ve chosen the type of print. And so it’s just me and the word. And, and the fact that I can carry 100 books with me at all times is a thrill.
I Do you think e-readers are helpful for kids or teens who want to get into reading?
M I think it would be wonderful for every child to have an e-reader. We’re, we’re a technological society. And we’re used to pushing buttons, and getting things instantly. And I think it might be really helpful for children to, to have their own e-readers and, and start their own collection of books that way. And you can see every book you’ve read. And you can go back to it in two seconds. So why not?
I Do you think social media has decreased or increased people’s literacy?
M So I, I think social media has had a positive effect on children. I think they’re exposed to many, many more things. They can go online and get information on just about anything. I, I’m not afraid of the changes that any kind of social media brings to kids. They have to read, they have to write. Maybe they’ll read a few less books. But maybe they’ll write some amazing things about their adventures online. I, I think it’s great.
I Do you think, despite all the technology, books will survive?
M Yes. I think there’s a great future for books. I think they’ll be around for a long time. I think we all like to have our moments with a book. So sure.
I Do you still read for pleasure, and if so, how much?
M I read daily. I read on the subway. I read before I go to sleep. I read to relax. I’m usually reading three or four books at a time. Whatever pleases me, I go to. I’m always reading.
A. Watch the conversation. Who (E, D, or I)…?
___ recommends one book
___ recommends more than one book
___ doesn’t recommend a specific book
B. Watch again. Answer the questions with A (Harry Potter), B (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), or C (Everything I Know About Love).
___ 1 did Emma tell lots of friends to read
___ 2 has Ida never heard of
___ 3 isn’t very long
___ 4 has David never read
___ 5 does Ida think has influenced people from all over the world
___ 6 is about the author’s life and upbringing
___ 7 was David both moved and uplifted by
___ 8 does Emma think sounds good because you learn from other people’s experience
___ 9 is set in the present day
D recommends one book.
E recommends more than one book.
I doesn’t recommend a specific book.
1 C 2 B 3 B 4 A 5 A 6 C 7 B 8 B 9 C
I = interviewer, E = Emma, Id = Ida, D = David
I Are there any books that you think everybody should read?
E I think that’s really tough because it depends a lot on the person, I think. But, I think the one thing I would say I think everybody should read is Harry Potter.
Id & D Hmm.
E I think, from, like, all of my friends that are my age, we all kind of read it when we were young and it just becomes, like, everyone knows what you mean when you talk about your Hogwarts house, for example.
E And you just kind of lose yourself in this fantasy. The book that you read as a child, I still kind of re-read it every few years and a lot of people have said that it’s helped them deal with, like, grief and…
E …things like that. So, I think it’s actually quite powerful.
Id I think also because, like you were saying, you, you, sort of grew up with it. So you grew up with the characters and, and they kind of become part of some larger literal, literary, literary, sorry, family.
Id And everybody knows what everybody else is talking about.
D But then having said that, I’ve, I’ve never read it. I’ve never seen the films.
E Now I’m shocked.
D And then when people are talking about it – in the office or, or when I’m out – I haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about. And I feel a little bit out of it and maybe, maybe I should read it.
E Mmm, you should!
Id I think only for, from a sort of social perspective. It’s so huge and it’s influenced so many people in every country – not just in the UK, or not just Western countries – but all over the world that I think it becomes, like you were saying, a common language of sorts. And also becomes a, almost like a social history in a way.
Id It sort of becomes – it’s more than a book. It’s a kind of a, a common experience.
D I, I once read…The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, that was a good book. Very short book. And it was about a…
Id I’ve never heard of it.
D …a gentleman, he had a stroke and he only could communicate the book, er, through blinking an eye…
E Oh, OK!
D …an eyelid.
Id Oh right, OK.
D And, er, it was quite a moving thing to read, but also uplifting as well at the same time. I’d definitely recommend it.
E Things like that are great because it’s learning about other people’s experiences…
E … and kind of finding empathy or…
Id & D Yeah.
E …just experiencing ‘Oh my goodness this has happened to someone’.
E Um, so, I read a great book recently by Dolly Alderton – just about her life and her growing up and things and just, it’s kind of like a real celebration of, like, female friendship. And I just wanted to recommend it to all my friends.
D What period was that set in then?
E It’s, it’s present day, so it’s about her growing up. It’s called, um, Everything I Know About Love.
D Mmmhmm, mmmhmm.
Id I think that what you said there about empathy and understanding other people’s experiences, I think that is the key to any good book. And I think that is what makes books so important.
Id Not only to expand people’s imagination, and their minds, and, and practical knowledge, but the idea of empathy, particularly in the world we live in today, it’s sort of…
D Hmm…more so than ever…
Id …allowing that time to understand other people’s experiences is, is vital, I think.
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