Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Have you read this?

Our Evolving Language: How do you say "kitten"?

BYU professor researches the missing T in Utah speech

PROVO -- A Brigham Young University linguistics professor is researching the case of the missing T.
The unusual pronunciation of certain words like "mountain," "kitten," and "button" isn't unique to Utah, said professor David Eddington, but it is certainly far more prevalent here than in other Western states.
And young Utah females are particularly prone to not pronounce the "T," Eddington said.
"We found cases of it in New York, Michigan, Southern California," Eddington said. "But in Utah what we found is that generally it's younger people and especially women."
For his research, Eddington recorded 57 volunteers reading the same words.
What he found was that if someone had lived at least two-thirds of his or her life in Utah, he or she was much more likely to speak with the unusual pronunciation.
"Every place I've been, people say 'kitten,' " Eddington said. "And then I listened more [in Utah] and started to hear 'KIH-un.' "
Eddington said that males are far less likely than females to lose the T in their pronunciations, but he thinks men will likely follow suit in the future.
"Linguists have found that young women are always, or generally, on the forefront of linguistic changes," Eddington said.
And of course, he noted, no one can say the pronunciation is wrong since language is always evolving, and young people have always had their own way of talking.
"You go back to Roman times," Eddington said, "and you hear Romans talking about how the young people don't speak correctly."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Compliments of Brian P. Cleary,
here is some interesting information that includes WORD PARTS --
July 12 is DIFFERENT COLORED EYES DAY which recognizes an eye condition called HETERO(meaning different)CHROMIA(color). People who have this trait have two different colors of eyes. Famous people with Heterochromia include David Bowie, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Walken.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Ms. Dorsey's Summer Reading

Here's a fun site for middle grade readers: 

This is a review on another blog of a nonfiction book about Amelia Earhart that I'd like to get a hold of.

Amelia Lost by Candace Fleming

Here's another book I'd like to get -- a sort of biographical comic book by Jon Scieszka:

August 9:  I'm reading I Am Number Four.  No, I haven't seen the movie yet.  I'm waiting until after I've read the book. 

When school got out I was reading Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series.  I finished that and read Elantris.  Now I'm reading Warbreaker, also by Sanderson.  He truly is a great fantasy writer. July 13, 2011-- I finished Warbreaker.   I can recommend Elantris and the Mistborn trilogy for my students, but Warbreaker is a more adult book (sensuality), but still excellent for more mature readers. 
For more information on Brandon Sanderson and his books, go to
By the way,  he might be your neighbor since he is a local author.

I'm also reading Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card.  Just finished it on July 7.  Excellent science fiction, but you have to be willing to think to get the most out this book.  And it definitely indicates that it is  to be the beginning of a series.  Yay! Reviews for Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

Today I got this book in the mail and started reading it:
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.
I don't want to put it down, but must do other things.    I'd recommend it for high school age and adults.
Find out more at 
Later:  I've finished it and really did enjoy it.  And it turns out it's the beginning of a series. People outside of our Utah community recommend it for "Tweens," but there is some language that would be found offensive here.

Another teacher recently showed me a book titled Eva by Peter Dickinson, which is about a fourteen year old girl  who "following a terrible car crash, . . . awakens from a strange dream and finds herself in a hospital bed. Medical science, in this book's future setting, has allowed doctors to pull her functioning brain from her crushed body and put it into the able body of a. . . . "  The premise reminds me of The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson, though science in the world of that book  is used very differently.
July 5, 2011 -- I've read Eva and found it fascinating.  The basic premise is rather frightening, though, and there are very matter-of-fact and not exploitative mentions of  animal reproduction.
Here's a related link from the real world (nonfiction).

Here is an interview with Gary Schmidt:  See an interview with Mr. Schmidt at
Have you read Wednesday Wars yet, or Okay for Now?

Reviews for Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card

found on Amazon.Com

From School Library Journal

Gr 7 Up–Card's latest work of speculative fiction twists together tropes of fantasy and science fiction into something fine indeed. Rigg and his father are trappers by trade, but Rigg has been instructed throughout his 13 years in languages, sciences, history, and politics. The teen is therefore somewhat mentally prepared for the quest that his father thrusts upon him with his dying breath–to go to the capital city and find his sister. Both Rigg and his friend, Umbo, have a special ability that aids them–Rigg can see the paths of all living things, regardless of intervening obstructions or even time, and Umbo can seemingly change the movement of time itself. Needless to say, the two meet various friends and foes and can't always tell which is which as they journey onward. Juxtaposed with this main story is an entirely different narrative, told in a page or two at the beginning of each chapter. This is the tale of Ram Odin, human pilot of a colony ship from Earth, traveling to a new world with the use of space-folding technology. The combination of science fiction and fantasy as well as a surprising revelation at the end harken back to genre classics like Robert Silverberg's Lord Valentine's Castle (HarperCollins, 1980) and Roger Zelazny's Nine Princes in Amber (Doubleday, 1970). This novel should appeal to Card's legion of fans as well as anyone who enjoys speculative fiction with characters who rely on quick thinking rather than violence or tales of mind-bending time-travel conundrums.–Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* The first in a series, Card’s latest title has much in common with his Ender Wiggins books: precocious teens with complementary special talents, callously manipulative government authorities, endlessly creative worlds, and Card’s refusal to dumb down a plot for a young audience. Here he takes the notions of folding space and time, embracing paradox, “adopting a rule set in which . . . causality . . . controls reality, regardless of where it occurs on the timeline.” Thirteen-year-old Rigg is a Pathfinder, one who sees the paths of others’ pasts. Rigorously trained and thoroughly educated by his demanding father, Rigg is horrified when Father dies unexpectedly after a final order to find the sister he never knew he had. Rigg is accompanied on this journey by a small group of friends who have powers of bending and manipulating the flow of time. Card also skillfully twines a separate story line into the plot, featuring earth’s colonization of distant planets, led by the idealistic young pilot Ram Odin. Fast paced and thoroughly engrossing, the 650-plus pages fly by, challenging readers to care about and grasp sophisticated, confusing, and captivating ideas. As in L’Engle’s Time Quartet, science is secondary to the human need to connect with others, but Card does not shy away from full and fascinating discussions of the paradoxical worlds he has created. Grades 8-12. --Debbie Carton

Summer Reading Lists

I posted these a couple of summers ago, but still recommend them!

And have you read Rick Riordan's latest books?  You should if you liked Lightning Thief!

If you'd like to sample books, go to the American Fork Library website, and sign up for the online Teen Book Club.  

These lists of suggested books were posted by a Fairfield Public Schools in Connecticut for a summer reading program.

Books I'm recommending: 

Summer Books -- Scott Westerfeld

Summer Books -- Jessica Day George

Summer Books -- Patricia C. Wrede

Summer Books -- Richard Peck

Summer Reads -- Stephenie Meyer

Summer Reading -- The Dragon's Pearl  (Maybe.  I've just barely begun this one.)

Summer Books -- Drift House

Summer Books -- Chasing Lincoln's Killer  -- historical fiction -- Civil War

Summer Books -- The Bronze Pen

Summer Books -- Life in the Pit

Summer Books -- Bird Lake Moon by Kevin Henkes -- realistic fiction: A twelve-year old boy struggling  with his parents' divorce meets a family still struggling  with the long-ago death of one of the children.  

By the way, I'm borrowing a tradition from a family in this book.  They talk about whether anyone in the family has F.M.S.  (fear of mission something).  Spencer's father says, "No F.M.S. for anyone. We'll all be there [at the lake] together."  

Summer Books --Puppies, Dogs, and Blue Northers by Gary Paulsen -- (autobiographical)   Paulsen writes about his adventures with a great lead dog and her last litter of pups.  Notice this recommendation (that uses similes) from the back of the paperback version:  "The writing, as pristine as new snow and as warm as a hearth in a blizzard, takes hold of the heart." -- Chicago Sun-Times


I've heard that The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry is a fun read.  You can try it on Goggle Books. 

 Summer Books -- Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star by Brandon Mull. 

     Many of you are way ahead of me on this, but I just read the second book in the Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull, and I'm starting the third.  I'm wondering about who (in the books) can really be trusted! 

   It's July 13, and I'm into the fourth book.  Brandon Mull really puts his characters into some tough situations!  July 17 -- I'm off to borrow the 5th book from a neighbor.  I can't wait.  I was so surprised by what happened in the fourth book.  I had absolutely no clue we were going to find out that  _____________ was _______________!

   On July 19 I finished reading Keys to the Demon Prison.   I definitely, highly recommend these books.  Of course, many of you already know how great they are!


The Silent Boy by Lois Lowry -- Highly recommended historical fiction.  Katy wants to be a doctor when she grows up -- like her father.  Back in 1911, that's not as usual as it is now.  Also, back in 1911, people like Jacob (the silent boy of the title) aren't understood as well as they are now. (Or is it really any better for them now?)  How do we treat people who are different?


Hush by Donna Jo Napoli 

Napoli based this historical novel on a character mentioned in an Icelandic saga.  The saga gave the author an Irish Princess who becomes a slave, and Napoli fills in the story of how it happens and how this princess/slave gains some degree of power over her fate through silence, by following the advice to "Hush."  This is not a retold fairy tale with happy endings.  The story is harsh, as life must have been in the early 900's.  For ninth grade and up. 

Peeled by Joan Bauer 

Joan Bauer is one of my favorite authors.  In Peeled she has created another strong teen character, Hildy Biddle, a reporter on her high school newspaper, who (with the help of other likable, quirky characters) tries to uncover the truth about a haunted house, the mayor's big plan for their town, and what seem to be the duplicitous manipulations coming from the local newspaper.  Recommended.



July 30 -- I'm reading Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment

     Great action and characters, some language.  This is a very popular science fiction series.   

August 9, 2010 -- I've read the first three Maximum Ride books.  I've enjoyed them, but must admit some things got a bit repetitious.  My daughter tells me that Final Warning gets too eco-preachy, even though she comes from a family of tree-huggers.  She says that definitely detracts from the enjoyment of the story. 

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment
Pages: 422
Ages: 12 and up

Historical/Multicultural Fiction --  Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez
   Alvarez really did grow up in the Dominican Republic during the time period portrayed in this novel. She has fictionalized the events, but kept them close enough to what really happened to show us what it would have been like to grow up in country run by a dictator -- from the perspective of a twelve year-old girl whose adult family members have either left the country or become freedom fighters.  

August 12 -- I'm reading  
  • A Door in the Woods -- Book One of the Jimmy Fincher Saga by James Dashner. It's pretty fast-paced adventure/fantasy.  Fourteen year old Jimmy witnesses what may be a murder, is kidnapped himself, escapes, witnesses another murder after he is sent into hiding, is almost murdered, has his family taken away (apparently -- as far as I know so far-- by the same bad guys), all while realizing that things are not as they seem -- that there is more to the world than he could have ever dreamed. 
  • The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle.  I guess we could call the genre this fits into "historical poetry"  The poems are first-person accounts (the characters are telling their own story) of what was going on in Cuba from 1850 to 1899.  The Cuban landowners are paying slave hunters to capture their run-away slaves, then as they rebel against Spain, they release and fight along with those slaves to achieve freedom for all Cubans. The characters telling their stories so far include a "witch" child who works to heal the wounded, and the son of a slave-hunter.  Other historical poetry books would  include  Out of the Dust and Witness by Karen Hesse.
More historical fiction-- recommended by Jessica Day George on Good Reads:
Jessica George gave 4 stars to: The Ransom of Mercy Carter (Laurel Leaf Books) by Caroline B. Cooney
bookshelves: historical-fiction, young adult

I am a sucker for true stories of white children raised by Native Americans. I used to fantasize about it as a kid: what would it be like to be a puritan, or a product of the Victorian era, and then find yourself kidnaped and raised by natives? This book hits on exactly where the root of my fascination lay: in every single one of these true stories, the girl never returns to her white family, even when she has a choice. Why was that? Was it the carefree lifestyle? Was their new family more loving, more indulgent? This last is what Cooney postulates for Mercy Carter. Raised in a stern, God-fearing home, the people who adopted her were known to treasure their children, who were given only the easiest chores and spent most of their days playing games and being petted. This is a great book, comparing the life of the white settlers to the natives, and detailing what became of Mercy along with the other children who were taken the night of the Deerfield, Massachusetts, massacre. Interestingly enough, some of the children were taken all the way to Canada, and given to French families who wanted to adopt a child! Highly recommened for those who like historical fiction!

    Hollow Kingdom, The The Hollow Kingdom, Author: Dunkle, Clare B. 750L  Pages: 230
    Ages: 12 and up  Series: Hollow Kingdom Trilogy Ser.    I loved reading this book, and will look for the other two in the trilogy: Close Kin, and In the Coils of the Snake.  I'll also be looking for other books by this author.  

       The Paper Doorway by Dean Koontz.  In case you don't know, Dean Koontz writes horror novels.  And he also seems to be one of the sweetest, kindest men alive (judging by his website).  This is a book of poems he's written for children. Yes, there are gory funny-gory) ones (which those of us in the seventh grade tend to like), but also other funny, clever, and  thoughtful poems.  


I haven't read this yet, but Jessica Day George recommends (5 stars out of 5)  Boneshaker (The Clockwork Century, #1) by Cherie Priest   This book is in the Scholastic book orders for this month.
bookshelves: award-winners, steampunk
She says -- 
So. Good.
In an alternate 19th century Seattle, a terrible thing has happened: Leviticus Blue has built a magnificent machine, intended to drill through ice to unlock the Klondike's gold. What makes this so terrible is that Blue's machine first burrows under the city of Seattle itself, unleashes a strange gas that turns anyone who breathes it into a zombie!

Yes, it's a weird, sensational premise. No, the book is not at all overwrought and silly. It's a hard, simple book about people who went west to work the frontier, and instead find themselves dealing with a much harder world than they had imagined. Briar Wilkes Blue, widow of the strange inventor, is just trying to eke out a living for her and her boy, Zeke . . . but when Zeke goes into the heart of the city for evidence that his father was a hero, not a villain, Briar goes in after him. The book is beautiful: heartfelt, inventive in ways that make me stand in awe of Priest's writing as well as her fine, fine plotting. The characters were wonderful, the steampunk machinery as believable as the real historical details.

Run, people, and get a copy of this book! Run before the rotters get you! Mwa ha ha ha ha!

Girls, Here's a Book Recommendation from Meg Cabot

Updated from June 25 to August 12 and on September 15 -- 2010

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Argument and Reasoning -- Seeking the Truth

 "Let us accept truth, even when it surprises us and alters our views." -George Sand

Monday, July 4, 2011

What do you call the metal ring on the eraser end of a pencil?

There is a real  answer:
Notice what an artist has done with pencil nubs.

The Semi-Colon as Breaking News?

See this article from Dictionary.Com.