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Dr. Jeff Wilhelm to Speak in Rowayton

Will reveal how to help children find the fun in reading and literacy

jeff willhelmThe Rowayton Elementary School PTA, in partnership with the school, announces the special appearance of Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm, an internationally recognized educator and founding director of the Boise State Writing Project. On Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 7:30 pm at the school at 1 Roton Avenue in Norwalk, Wilhelm will speak to teachers, students and parents about the life-long qualitative and quantitative benefits of inquiry-based thinking and unbound reading. He will share his insights and explain why his teaching philosophy is changing the game for how parents and teachers educate literacy.

In Wilhelm’s new book Reading Unbound: Why Kids Need to Read What They Want — And Why We Should Let Them, he argues that books that are normally categorized as on the fringe can actually engage young readers and promote imagination, satisfaction and social action. Research shows that kids who read well do better in school and have a distinct advantage in developing communication and logical thinking skills. Avid readers also tend to be more engaged in the world around them. Wilhelm believes that kids and adolescents should be allowed to choose at least some of the books they read for school, so that their reading adds meaning to their lives. Wilhelm believes that readers derive pleasures from a surprising variety of readings-- many of which have been traditionally marginalized by teachers and parents alike -- and are enormously articulate about the nature and importance of the pleasures they experience. He supports the fact that parents and teachers should be mindful of the power of pleasure and more conscious of trying to cultivate it.

Dr. Wilhelm’s interactive talk will review a study, which is fully explored in the book Reading Unbound by Scholastic, about how passionate readers of non-traditional reads such as fantasy (Harry Potter), dystopian (Hunger Games), vampire (Twilight), horror, series books and video game novels, amongst others engage students. He will explore the pleasures, satisfactions and uses readers have for such types of books, and the implications for psychological development, reading, and learning inside and outside of school. Implications for parents, instruction, reading programs, and libraries will be shared. There will be time for questions and conversation. This is open to Rowayton and non-Rowayton residents.