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6 things you should do when reading with your grandkids

<p><em><strong>Ameneh Shahaeian is a Research Fellow in Developmental and Educational Psychology at the Australian Catholic University.</strong></em></p> <p>There is magic in stories. We all remember hearing them as children, and we loved them. Imaginary adventures set in faraway places. Tales about how the dishwasher isn’t working. It doesn’t matter! Whether made up by parents or read from books, kids love to hear stories.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10888438.2018.1482901">recent work</a> showed reading to children positively impacts long-term academic achievement more than many other activity (including playing music with them, or doing craft). We found the more frequently parents read to their children, the better their children’s NAPLAN scores in different areas.</p> <p>In our most recent study, we asked parents to read a wordless storybook to their three to five-year-old children titled <em>The Wolf and Seven Little Goats</em>. We also tested children in many areas of their important cognitive skills, such as language proficiency, memory, self-control, and friendship skills.</p> <p>Through examining the different ways parents tell stories, we have pinpointed which elements of shared reading are most beneficial for children’s <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0272775714000156">cognitive development</a></span>.</p> <p><strong>1. Tune in to your child</strong></p> <p>Perhaps the most important aspect of reading to children is to tune in to your child. Listen to your child’s cues. Do they like the story? Do they know the vocabulary? Are they paying attention to the pictures more, or the text?</p> <p>Try to coach your child, not to instruct them. Instead of saying: “Look they are going to cook some food, maybe they are hungry”, you can ask “What are they doing?” or “Why do you think they’re doing that?”</p> <p>Be sensitive about whether they are listening and engaged or uninterested and disengaged. If they are disengaged, are there questions you can ask to make them more interested? Do you think they’ll like a different type of story better? The best books for your child are the ones they <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/181204/110118.pdf">enjoy</a></span> most.</p> <p><strong>2. Ask questions</strong></p> <p>Parents who ask lots of questions engage in a more fun and informative way with their children. Ask them if they know the vocabulary, if they can guess what the characters are going to do next, and why they’ve done what they’ve done.</p> <p>These questions are not only helpful because they help children gain new knowledge and ways of thinking, it also <a href="https://theconversation.com/reading-to-your-child-the-difference-it-makes-57473">helps strengthen</a> the emotional bond between parent and child. Children <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337405/">like to feel</a> they’re a part of the task, not that they’re being told how to do things.</p> <p><strong>3. Go beyond describing images or reading text</strong></p> <p>In our study, we gave parents a wordless picture book. An important difference we observed between parents was some only describe what they see. Some go beyond the picture.</p> <p>For example, when the mother goat in the picture book comes home and sees the door to the house open, one parent said:</p> <p><em>When their mother came home and was looking forward to seeing her children and hugging them and telling them a story, she suddenly saw that the door is open. She was shocked!</em></p> <p>Another parent said:</p> <p><em>The mother came home and saw the door is open; she went inside and looked for the children.</em></p> <p>This parent is only describing the picture.</p> <p>The first parent is imagining what is beyond the picture and text. This is a richer way to tell a story to children, and ultimately leads to better cognitive developmental outcomes for children. This is because it teaches abstract thinking, which is the basis for many of the <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351236898/chapters/10.4324%2F9781351236904-7">higher order cognitive abilities</a> such as problem solving and critical analysis.</p> <p><strong>4. Make logical links between different parts of the story</strong></p> <p>Another element that has a strong link to the development of children’s cognitive skills is the way parents build logical links between different parts of the story.</p> <p>Often the events in books unfold very quickly. One minute, the wolf eats the little goats, and the next minute he is found by the mother. Some parents try to make the sequence of events more logical than others.</p> <p>For example, in this picture, when the wolf is coming to knock on the door, one parent said:</p> <p><em>The wolf, who realised the mother is not home, came and knocked on the door.</em></p> <p>This sentence is lacking logical links. How did the wolf know the mother is not home? Why should he come and knock on the door? What did he want?</p> <p>Another parent said:</p> <p><em>The wolf, who was sunbathing in the bush, saw that the mother is going to get some food. He thought, ‘Oh, the little goats are alone at home, and it’s a good time for me to go and trick them and maybe get a good lunch!’</em></p> <p>The parent here is clearly providing logical links between these different parts of the story.</p> <p><strong>5. Add relevant details</strong></p> <p>We also found most parents add many details to the story to make it more interesting or comprehensive. But <em>relevant </em>details are the most useful in terms of improving children’s learning. Relevant details are the kind of details that help make the story easier to understand.</p> <p>For example, one parent said:</p> <p><em>The little goat, who was wearing the yellow shirt and was the smallest said: ‘We shouldn’t open the door! How do we know this is our mother? She has just left.’</em></p> <p>Here, wearing a yellow shirt is a descriptive detail, but it doesn’t add much to the story.</p> <p>Another mother said:</p> <p><em>The smallest one, who was also the cleverest and very careful, said…</em></p> <p>This second parent is clearly adding a detail (that the smaller one is also the cleverest and careful) that makes the story more meaningful and easier to follow.</p> <p><strong>6. Talk about mental and emotional concepts</strong></p> <p>We found parents who not only describe the events of a story but also discuss <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00506/full">abstract concepts</a> related to emotions, desires and thoughts tend to have children who are better cognitively skilled. These children develop a better understanding of others’ emotions, better friendship skills, and even improved memory and higher order cognitive skills that are useful in later life. These lead to <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?hl=en&amp;lr=&amp;id=cvLWDQAAQBAJ&amp;oi=fnd&amp;pg=PP1&amp;dq=abstract+concepts+children+better+cognitive+ability&amp;ots=DtILotRFSV&amp;sig=FftCKFka4vA-j2mpu3iY8UxDopY#v=onepage&amp;q=abstract%20concepts%20children%20better%20cognitive%20ability&amp;f=false">academic success</a> as well as better skills to build friendships and perform well in social relationships.</p> <p><em>Written by Ameneh Shahaeian. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.theconversation.com" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Conversation.</span><img width="1" height="1" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/99637/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation" style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;"/></strong></a></em></p>

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Why Camilla didn't want Prince William to marry Kate

<p>An author reveals that Prince William and Duchess Kate were nearly “broken up by Camilla".</p> <p>It is said that the Duchess of Cornwall wanted her eldest step-son to end all ties with “pretty but dim” Kate, partly due to her “lowly” roots, reports <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/7219341/camilla-william-marry-pretty-but-dim-kate-prince-charles-split-them-up/" target="_blank"><em>The Sun</em></a>.</p> <p>The claims were made by author Christopher Anderson in his book: <em>Game of Crowns: Elizabeth, Camilla, Kate, And the Throne</em>.</p> <p>According to Anderson, Camilla did not approve of Prince William’s relationship with the now Duchess, and the two women failed to see eye to eye.</p> <p>She allegedly also disapproved of Kate’s non-royal background, which made her “too lowly” to marry into the family.</p> <p>While they seem to share a good relationship now, it is said that in the past, Camilla thought Kate to be “pretty, but rather dim".</p> <p>The rivalry went so far that Camilla allegedly is said to have asked Prince Charles to convince his son to end things with Kate.</p> <p>Anderson also claims that Camilla was jealous of Kate and felt threatened by her growing popularity and had concerns that the young couple would overshadow her and Charles.</p> <p>While Prince William and Duchess Kate did go through a brief break-up while at university, whether it has something to do with Camilla is yet to be confirmed.</p> <p>The two women seem to get along well now as they are regularly seen attending events together. </p>

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Palace releases official photo album of Prince Louis’ christening

<p><span>It has nearly been a week since Prince Louis was christened at The Chapel Royal at St James’ Palace, and now the royal family have released the official portraits from the day.</span></p> <p><span>The photos were taken by Matt Holyoak in the Morning Room at Clarence House following the christening.</span></p> <p><span>The official portraits show the 11-week-old royal being photographed with various members of his family.</span></p> <p><span>The photoshoot included three group shots and one shot of the Duchess Catherine cradling her son in the gardens of Clarence House.</span></p> <p><span>The photographer behind the royal snaps talked about what an honour it was to take the photos.</span></p> <p><span>"I was truly honoured at being asked to take the official photographs at the christening of Prince Louis, and to witness at first hand such a happy event,” he said.</span></p> <p><span>"Everyone was so relaxed and in such good spirits, it was an absolute pleasure. I only hope I have captured some of that joy in my photographs."</span></p> <p><span>Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge was baptised into the Church of England on July 9.</span></p> <p><span>The christening was an intimate gathering, with only 30 people attending the ceremony.</span></p> <p><span>Among the guests were Louis’ grandfather Prince Charles and his wife Duchess Camilla, uncle and aunt Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan, and his brother and sister Prince George and Princess Charlotte.</span></p> <p><span>Also attending the service was the Middleton family, which included Carole Middleton, Michael Middleton, James Middleton and Pippa Middleton.</span></p> <p><span>Sadly, the Queen and Prince Philip did not attend the christening.</span></p> <p><span>Scroll through the gallery above to see the beautiful official christening portraits of Price Louis and his family. </span></p>

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Prince Harry’s incredibly rare $15,000 christening gift for Prince Louis

<p>To celebrate his nephew’s christening, Prince Harry has forked out $15,000 for a very thoughtful gift for three-month-old Prince Louis.</p> <p>According to reports, the Duke of Sussex bought a rare first-edition copy of A.A. Milne’s <em>Winnie-the-Pooh</em>, which dates back to 1926.</p> <p>Harry is believed to have purchased the book from Peter Harrington, a rare book store in London.</p> <p>It is understood that Harry has decided to build up a library for his two nephews and niece, in memory of his mum, the late Princess Diana.</p> <p>“One of Harry’s happiest childhood memories was being read a bedtime story by his mother,” a palace insider revealed to <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6727671/prince-harry-louis-winnie-the-pooh-christening/" target="_blank"><strong><em><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The Sun</span></em></strong></a><em>.</em></p> <p>“She loved all the old classics and Harry had the brilliant idea of starting a little library of first editions for Louis, Charlotte and George to enjoy as they get older.”</p> <p>According to the palace source, Harry originally planned to buy a copy of Lewis Carol’s <em>Through The Looking Glass</em> to mark the occasion – which would’ve set him back $46,490 – but he decided <em>Winnie-the-Pooh</em> was more age appropriate.</p> <p>The Duke and Duchess of Sussex were among just 30 guests invited to the intimate christening.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 658px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media"> <div style="padding: 8px;"> <div style="background: #F8F8F8; line-height: 0; margin-top: 40px; padding: 50.0% 0; text-align: center; width: 100%;"> <div style="background: url(data:image/png; base64,ivborw0kggoaaaansuheugaaacwaaaascamaaaapwqozaaaabgdbtueaalgpc/xhbqaaaafzukdcak7ohokaaaamuexurczmzpf399fx1+bm5mzy9amaaadisurbvdjlvzxbesmgces5/p8/t9furvcrmu73jwlzosgsiizurcjo/ad+eqjjb4hv8bft+idpqocx1wjosbfhh2xssxeiyn3uli/6mnree07uiwjev8ueowds88ly97kqytlijkktuybbruayvh5wohixmpi5we58ek028czwyuqdlkpg1bkb4nnm+veanfhqn1k4+gpt6ugqcvu2h2ovuif/gwufyy8owepdyzsa3avcqpvovvzzz2vtnn2wu8qzvjddeto90gsy9mvlqtgysy231mxry6i2ggqjrty0l8fxcxfcbbhwrsyyaaaaaelftksuqmcc); display: block; height: 44px; margin: 0 auto -44px; position: relative; top: -22px; width: 44px;"></div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BlBAyMPHpOK/" target="_blank">Members of the Royal Family arrive at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace for the christening of Prince Louis.</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" href="https://www.instagram.com/kensingtonroyal/" target="_blank"> Kensington Palace</a> (@kensingtonroyal) on Jul 9, 2018 at 8:25am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Meghan wore an olive Ralph Lauren dress with a Stephen Jones fascinator to the ceremony.</p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>Prior to the christening, Meghan was seen laughing with the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who also baptised her before her wedding to Prince Harry in May.</p> <p>The couple were seen <a href="http://www.oversixty.co.nz/entertainment/art/2018/07/first-pictures-of-prince-louis-christening-at-st-james-palace/" target="_blank"><strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;">holding hands</span></strong></a> as they walked behind Prince William and Kate, before entering Chapel Royal and St James’s Palace in London. </p>

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A letter written by teenage Meghan Markle reveals her true personality

<p>An old letter written by a teenage Meghan Markle sheds light on the personality of the newest member of the royal family.</p> <p>In 1993, Meghan wrote a letter to a fellow classmate who was “very shy” and a “bit of a loner”, according to her former teachers.</p> <p>The Duchess of Sussex’s former headmistress, Christine Knudsen, at Immaculate Heart High School in California said she received the letter from one of the student’s in Markle’s group.</p> <p>“Meghan wrote her the most wonderful loving note,” says Ms Knudsen in a new documentary How to Bag a Prince that aired on Britain’s Channel 5. “Even though Meghan was not her close friend at all. It just shows the depth of [Markle’s] heart.”</p> <p>The letter reads: “Dear Michelle, You are so strong and so wonderful — your courage in strength in times of hardships is as admirable as your optimism and friendly nature.</p> <p>“I am so lucky to have you in my group and to be able to lead you on this adventure. Never stop sharing your beautiful spirit and always remember how special you are. I am here if you ever need me. I love you, Meghan.”</p> <p>Meghan’s kindness also extended beyond a friend in need.</p> <p>According to her religious studies teacher at Immaculate Heart, young Meghan approached her about how to help the local homeless people.</p> <p>Maria Pollia told the show’s producers: “One day, after class, Meghan approached me and said, ‘So tell me more about serving on Skid Row.’</p> <p>“And so I suggested she continued to volunteer at this soup kitchen in her senior year. Meghan always took it a step further, not just distributing food but learning people’s names, learning their stories.”</p> <p> </p>

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Mum discovers bittersweet handwritten note in second-hand book

<p>A Melbourne mum and her daughters are on the search to return a second-hand book to its previous owner, after finding an emotional message inside. </p> <p>Natalie Coleman purchased a second-hand book for her daughter, Leni, from a pre-loved bookshop in Melbourne.</p> <p>When the St Kilda mum brought the 5 Minute Princess Stories book home, she discovered a message written inside the front cover of the book.</p> <p>The letter was from a man named Barry and addressed to his daughter, Alexis.</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Ftrudie.coleman.5%2Fposts%2F1676760875771486&amp;width=500" width="500" height="688" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>“Dear Alexis. If you’re getting this without me, it’s because unfortunately my circumstances got too grim for me to give it to you yourself,” the note read.</p> <p>“You need to know I always loved you with all my heart.</p> <p>“You were the first thing I thought about when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I thought about at night.</p> <p>“Love Dad (Barry).”</p> <p>After reading the emotional message and knowing the meaning that must be attached to it, Natalie is now determined to track down Alexis and reunite her with her special book.</p> <p>The mum shared images of the book on social media, in the hope that it could help her track down Alexis.</p> <p>“I recently picked up this book from a St Kilda Op-shop for my daughter,” she explained in her post.</p> <p>“The message just breaks my heart… if you know Alexis (Dad named Barry) I would love to return your book.”</p> <p>The post has been shared in several Facebook groups but Alexis has not yet been found.</p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p>“As much as we love the book, we’d like to see it returned to the little girl whose dad wrote the letter,” Natalie told the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em><a href="https://www.heraldsun.com.au/lifestyle/parenting/mum-finds-tragic-handwritten-note-left-in-secondhand-book/news-story/ecf779feaad23ba2dc354ae95e5105f5" target="_blank">Herald Sun</a></em></strong></span>.</p> <p>“Any young person would treasure these words from their father.”</p>

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Carrie Fisher’s brother reveals her one big regret

<p>Shortly before her death in December 2016, Carrie Fisher revealed for the first time in her memoir that she had a <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/2016/11/carrie-fisher-reveals-affair-with-harrison-ford-on-star-wars/">brief on-set affair with Star Wars co-star Harrison Ford</a></span>.</strong></p> <p>Carrie’s brother, Todd, has now revealed in his new book, <em>My Girls: A Lifetime with Carrie and Debbie</em>, that Carrie rued the day she told the public about her three-month fling, which she detailed in her own autobiography, <em>The Princess Diarist.</em></p> <p>In the book, Todd writes that his and Carrie’s mother, Debbie Reynolds, didn’t know about Carrie’s affair with Ford when she was a single 19-year-old and he was a married 33-year-old father of two.</p> <p>Todd says that Reynolds disapproved of both the affair and of Carrie’s decision to make it public.</p> <p>Carrie eventually told Reynolds: “You’re right. I shouldn’t have told that story.”</p> <p>At the time of her memoir’s release, Carrie describe their first intimate experience as clumsy.</p> <p> "I was so inexperienced, but I trusted something about him. He was kind," she said.</p> <p>"It was so intense," <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://people.com/movies/carrie-fisher-reveals-affair-with-harrison-ford-star-wars/?xid=socialflow_twitter_peoplemag">Fisher told People</a></strong></span> during an interview to promote the book.</p> <p>"It was Han and Leia during the week, and Carrie and Harrison during the weekend."</p> <p>Carrie died in December 2016 of cardiac arrest, with Debbie passing away just a day later.</p> <p>In his book, Todd explains how he saw what happened: “The common theory about Mum’s passing was that, after losing Carrie, Debbie Reynolds died of a broken heart. Take it from the son who was there, who knew her better than anyone else on earth — that’s simply not true. Debbie Reynolds willed herself right off this planet to personally see to it that Carrie would never be alone.”</p>

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10 funny collective nouns for animals

<p>You no doubt know a flock of seagulls and a school of fish, but did you know these wacky collective nouns for animals?</p> <p>1. A business of ferrets</p> <p><img width="499" height="363" src="/media/9413/ferrets_499x363.jpg" alt="Ferrets"/></p> <p>2. A tower of giraffes</p> <p><img width="500" height="500" src="/media/9414/giraffes_500x500.jpg" alt="Ferrets (1)"/></p> <p>3. A crash of rhinos</p> <p><img width="500" height="400" src="/media/9416/rhinos_500x400.jpg" alt="Rhinos (1)"/></p> <p>4. A parliament of owls</p> <p><img width="500" height="353" src="/media/9417/owls_500x353.jpg" alt="Owls"/></p> <p>5. A sleuth of bears</p> <p><img width="500" height="707" src="/media/9418/bears.jpg" alt="Bears"/></p> <p>6. A mob of emus</p> <p><img width="500" height="475" src="/media/9419/emus_500x475.jpg" alt="Emus"/></p> <p>7. A flamboyance of flamingos</p> <p><img width="500" height="635" src="/media/9420/flamboyance_500x635.jpg" alt="Flamboyance"/></p> <p>8. A shrewdness of apes</p> <p><img width="498" height="385" src="/media/9421/apes_498x385.jpg" alt="Apes"/></p> <p>9. A bloat of hippos</p> <p><img width="498" height="215" src="/media/9422/hippos_498x215.jpg" alt="Hippos"/></p> <p>10. An ambush of tigers</p> <p><img width="498" height="385" src="/media/9423/tiger_498x385.jpg" alt="Tiger"/></p> <p><strong>Related links: </strong></p> <p>MREC-TAG-HERE</p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em><a href="/lifestyle/pets/2015/08/animal-sleeping-buddies/">Unlikely animal sleeping buddies that will melt your heart</a></em></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em><a href="/lifestyle/pets/2015/08/teeny-tiny-animal-gallery/">14 teeny tiny animals</a></em></strong></span></p> <p><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><em><a href="/lifestyle/pets/2015/07/camouflaged-cats/">Can you spot the cats playing hide-and-seek?</a></em></strong></span></p>

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Serena Williams reignites feud with Maria Sharapova

<p>Serena Williams has hit back over false claims Maria Sharapova made about her in her book titled <em>Unstoppable: My Life So Far</em>, which was released last year.</p> <p>Williams said she was disappointed with the claims made about her, which she described as “hearsay”. </p> <p>Sharapova – who Williams has beaten 18 times in a row and is about to face her fierce rival ahead of their French Open clash – wrote in her recent memoir that Serena “hated” her for hearing her cry after the 2004 Wimbledon final.</p> <p>“I think the book was 100 per cent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little disappointing,” Williams stated, after her third-round win at the French Open against Julia Georges.</p> <p>“I have cried in the locker room many times after a loss, and that’s what I have seen a lot of people do. I think it’s normal.”</p> <p>The tennis champ added, “It’s a Wimbledon final, you know. So, it’s just, like, I think it would be more shocking if I wasn’t in tears.”</p> <p>Williams said she was stunned how much she was mentioned in the Russian tennis player’s book, but also upset that she was portrayed as disliking Sharapova.</p> <p>“The book was a lot about me,” Williams said. “I was surprised about that, to be honest. You know, I was, like, ‘Oh, OK.’ I didn’t expect to be reading a book about me, that wasn’t necessarily true.”</p> <p>Playing at the French Open, her first tournament since becoming a mum to Alexis Olympia last September, Williams continued, “I don’t have any negative feelings towards her, which again, was a little disappointing to see in that hearsay book. Especially having a daughter, I feel like negativity is taught. One of the things I always say, I feel like women, especially, should bring each other up.”</p> <p>She added, “If anything, I feel like we should encourage each other, and the success of one female should be the inspiration to another, and I have said that 1000 times.”</p> <p>Sharapova, who returned to competitive tennis in April 2017 after a 15-month suspension for doping, also wrote in her book: “Serena and I should be friends; we have the same passion. But we are not. I think, to some extent, we have driven each other. Maybe that’s what it takes … Who knows? Someday, when all this is in our past, maybe we’ll become friends.”</p> <p> </p>

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5 tips to help you make the most of reading to your grandchildren

<p><em><strong>Senior Lectures in Education, Margaret Kristin Merga and Paul Gardner, join Lecturer Saiyidi Mat Roni and Associate Dean Engagement at Murdoch University School of Education, Susan F Ledger, to discuss how to make the most of reading to children.</strong></em></p> <p>Reading to your child is one of the most successful ways of instilling a love of reading in them. But in <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3781&amp;context=ajte&amp;z=1522037874&amp;preview_mode=1&amp;login=2097887" target="_blank">our recent study</a></strong></span>, more than one-quarter of primary-school-aged respondents claimed they were never read to at home.</p> <p>Children typically enjoy being read to, and see educational, social and emotional <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004944117727749" target="_blank">benefits</a></strong></span> to the practice. But families are busy, and finding time to read aloud can be eaten up by the demands of everyday life.</p> <p>Not all parents have been read to themselves as children, so may not have experienced a model they can then follow with their own children. And many adult Australians may be <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Previousproducts/4228.0Main%20Features22006%20(Reissue)?opendocument" target="_blank">struggling readers</a></strong></span> themselves.</p> <p>With this in mind, here are five suggestions that can help make the experience of reading to your children fun, relaxing and educational.</p> <p><strong>1. Give it all your attention</strong></p> <p>For many people, the best time to read with their children is at night, once the children are in bed. But if you find your child too cranky and disengaged at this time (or if you are feeling tired yourself), you might want to try reading to them earlier in the day.</p> <p>Whatever the time, it’s important to give the book and your children all of your attention. Phones and other devices with enabled notifications should be switched off. Everyone should be comfortable, and children should associate time spent being read to with enjoyment.</p> <p>Where possible, we strongly suggest reading to your child becomes part of the daily routine. The <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://psycnet.apa.org/record/2002-02073-003" target="_blank">more often</a></strong></span> children are read to, the more substantial the benefits. Reading to children is both an opportunity to model how the written word sounds and a chance for family bonding.</p> <p><strong>2. Engage with the story</strong></p> <p>Children don’t typically enjoy having the story stopped every few seconds for comprehension checking, so we suggest you keep interruptions to a minimum.</p> <p>But recapping is useful when picking up a book again after a break. If parents let their children provide this recap (“So, where are we up to?”) this also enables informal comprehension checking. Opportunities for prediction are also beneficial (“Wow… what do you think might happen next!”).</p> <p>Sharing your response to a book and encouraging children’s responses stimulates critical thinking. These techniques and others can enhance learning and comprehension, but they shouldn’t upset the fluidity of the reading experience or turn it into a test.</p> <p>You can share the task of the reading itself with your children if they want to. This is beneficial for a range of <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9817.2004.00238.x" target="_blank">reading skills</a></strong></span>, such as reading comprehension, word recognition and vocabulary building.</p> <p><strong>3. There’s no age limit</strong></p> <p>You can start reading to your child from early infancy to support their developing <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0193397304001418" target="_blank">language abilities</a></strong></span>, so it’s never too early to start. The skills infants and young children develop through shared reading experiences can set them up for <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://adc.bmj.com/content/93/7/554.short" target="_blank">literacy achievement</a></strong></span> in their subsequent schooling years.</p> <p>Reading to your children remains important beyond the early years, too, with continuing benefits for <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://ila.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/TRTR.1185" target="_blank">literacy development</a></strong></span> and <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.alpaa.com.au/sites/default/files/downloads/kalb_et_al_reading_to_young_children_copy.pdf" target="_blank">cognitive skills</a></strong></span>.</p> <p>We should read to young people for <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0004944117727749" target="_blank">as long as possible</a></strong></span>. There is no age where the benefits of being read to completely expire.</p> <p>Very <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/lit.12141" target="_blank">recent research</a></strong></span> in the UK found struggling adolescent readers can make remarkable gains on their reading comprehension when books are read to them at school. This is perhaps due to the opportunity for students to enjoy books that are too hard for them to read themselves.</p> <p><strong>4. Pick a book you both enjoy</strong></p> <p>We suggest you select a book that interests both you and your child. Reading together is a great opportunity to share your passions while broadening your children’s horizons through making diverse book choices.</p> <p>Don’t be afraid to start reading chapter books to your children while they are still very young. The age to begin this will vary depending on your child’s attention span, but it’s often possible to begin this with pre-schoolers.</p> <p>As long as the story isn’t too complex, children love to be taken on an enjoyable journey into books that are too hard for them to read independently. This can also help to extend child’s vocabulary, among other benefits.</p> <p>It’s a good idea to take your children to the library and model how you choose interesting books for shared reading. Research shows many <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/eie.12143" target="_blank">primary</a></strong></span> and <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02188791.2014.961898" target="_blank">high school</a></strong></span> children are easily overwhelmed by choice when they attempt to pick what books to read independently, so helping them with this is a valuable skill.</p> <p><strong>5. Don’t worry about your style</strong></p> <p>Not all of us are destined to be award-winning voice actors, and that’s OK. It’s great to use expression and adopt different voices for the characters in a book, but not everyone will feel able to do this.</p> <p>At multiple points in our research, we’ve come across people who have praised the reading efforts of parents who weren’t confident readers, but who prevailed nonetheless. For example, in our <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong><a href="http://www.ala.org/aasl/sites/ala.org.aasl/files/content/aaslpubsandjournals/slr/vol20/SLR_BecomingaReader_V20.pdf" target="_blank">recent paper</a></strong></span> a respondent described being read to by her mother who struggled with dyslexia. This mother, and many other parents, have inspired a love of reading in their children through their persistence.</p> <p>Being taken into the virtual reality of story is a memorable, pleasurable experience that stays with us forever. Reading aloud provides parents with a valuable opportunity to slow down, relax and share the wonderful world of books with their children.</p> <p><em>Written by Margaret Kristin Merga, Paul Gardner, Saiuidi Mat Roni and Susan F Ledger. Republished with permission of <strong><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><a href="http://theconversation.com/" target="_blank">The Conversation.</a></span></strong></em><img width="1" height="1" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/93659/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-advanced" alt="The Conversation"/></p>

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Meghan Markle’s wedding speech left guests in tears

<p>The Duchess of Sussex left her wedding reception guests teary-eyed after delivering an emotional poem dedicated to Prince Harry.</p> <p>Meghan’s poem articulated how “blessed” she felt to have met her prince and said their romance was “love at first sight”, reported <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6387068/meghan-markle-broke-royal-protocol-with-poem/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>The Sun.</strong></em></span></a></p> <p>“Meghan totally stole the show,” one guest shared.</p> <p>“It was the most special part of the entire day and the most unexpected.</p> <p>“She read her poem like the professional actress she is.</p> <p>“Most of the room was ­misty-eyed by the final line. Harry looked so proud and had to wipe away a tear.</p> <p>“She spoke about their first date and falling in love at first sight."</p> <p>Meghan said she knew she had met her prince straight away and "how blessed and lucky she feels to have found such a profound love".</p> <p>Meghan’s two-minute poetry reading to the couple’s reception guests at Frogmore Hall was just one of the many ways the wedding abandoned royal protocol.</p> <p>Prior to this wedding, no royal bride had ever officially addressed their wedding guests.</p> <p>The newlyweds, who married on May 19, had their first date in July 2016.</p> <p>Their first date is believed to have been arranged by fashion designer Mischa Nonoo, a mutual friend.</p> <p>Harry and Meghan went for a drink and reportedly arranged to see each other the next day after it went so well.</p> <p>Last November, Harry revealed that he was smitten “the very first time we met”.</p>

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Fury over racist post about Meghan Markle

<p>A German company has apologised for a racist social media post of a chocolate-covered marshmallow sweet in a bridal dress, on the day of the royal weedding.</p> <p><a href="http://www.bbc.com/" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong>BBC News reports</strong></em></span></a> Super Dickmann's post of a Schokokuss (chocolate kiss) included the caption: "What are you looking at? Wouldn't you also want to be Meghan today?"</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">A German chocolate company is being accused of racism after releasing an ad for the royal wedding, depicting Meghan Markle as a chocolate-covered marshmallow in a wedding dress <a href="https://t.co/43QdzBZXLh">https://t.co/43QdzBZXLh</a> <a href="https://t.co/YnHELbrbn1">pic.twitter.com/YnHELbrbn1</a></p> — CBS News (@CBSNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/999335322310860800?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 23, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>But the post has quickly be criticised by social media users as racist.</p> <p>After a swift backlash, the company responded with a spokespersons describing the post as "stupid and embarrassing".</p> <p>The company responded online, stating, “A big pardon! The world of Super Dickmann's is colourful and diverse and far from racist thoughts.”</p> <p>While the post has been deleted, images continue to circulate around social media.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Do you *honestly* not see *anything* racist about portraying Meghan Markle as a chocolate in a wedding dress? I know sometimes seemingly innocuous things get called racist but, my god man, COME ON!</p> — Peter Bryson (@PeterMBryson) <a href="https://twitter.com/PeterMBryson/status/999309138625736704?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 23, 2018</a></blockquote> <p>What are your thoughts?</p>

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Fascinating facts behind Dr Seuss’ most popular stories

<p>Theodor Seuss Geisel is one of the most successful children’s writers in history. Throughout his career he published over 60 books including “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham”. Here are the stories behind 5 of his most popular books.</p> <p><strong>1. <em>The Lorax</em></strong></p> <p>This book is believed to showcase Dr Seuss’ view on environmentalism and how humans negatively impact nature. After the book was published, groups within the logging industry weren’t happy and created a counter-book called “The Traux”. The book used to contain the line “I hear things are just as bad up in Lake Erie” but after 14 years, Dr Seuss received a letter from the Ohio Sea Grant Program telling him how the conditions had improved and asked him to take out the line. He agreed, and it wasn’t in future editions.</p> <p><strong>2. <em>The Cat in the Hat</em></strong></p> <p>Dr Seuss was inspired to write this book after he thought the famous “Dick and Jane” beginner books were boring. He believed that because the books were disengaging, kids were slacking in their efforts to learn to read. He then wrote the book. "I have great pride in taking Dick and Jane out of most school libraries," the author once said. "That is my greatest satisfaction."</p> <p><strong>3.<em> Green Eggs and Ham</em></strong></p> <p>Dr Seuss’ editor made a bet with him that he couldn’t write a book using 50 words or less. Not wanting to back down from a challenge, “Green Eggs and Ham” was created, using exactly 50 words.</p> <p><strong>4. <em>Yertle the Turtle</em></strong></p> <p>“Yertle the Turtle” follows the story of Yertle who demands that all the other turtles stack themselves on top of each other, so he can survey the land. Mack, at the bottom of the stack, is tired and asks to rest but Yertle ignores him. Then, Yertle notices the moon and is angry that anything is higher than him and just when he is about to get more turtles under his stack, Mack burps. The movement causes the whole stack to collapse, freeing all the turtles. Dr Seuss said that Yertle was a representation of Hitler.</p> <p><strong>5. <em>And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street</em></strong></p> <p>The first of Dr Seuss’ books was rejected 27 times according to Guy McLain of the Springfield Museum in the writer’s hometown. It was when Dr Seuss bumped into a friend who’d just been hired by a publishing house that the book was finally published. "He said if he had been walking down the other side of the street," McLain told NPR, "he probably would never have become a children's author."</p> <p>What is your favourite Dr Seuss book?</p>

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Anne Frank's diary: "Dirty jokes” found hidden in pages

<p>Researchers using digital technology have deciphered the writing on two pages of Anne Frank’s diary that she had pasted over with brown masking paper, discovering four naughty jokes and a candid explanation of sex, contraception and prostitution.</p> <p>“Anyone who reads the passages that have now been discovered will be unable to suppress a smile,” said Frank van Vree, director of the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies.</p> <p>“The ‘dirty’ jokes are classics among growing children. They make it clear that Anne, with all her gifts, was above all also an ordinary girl.”</p> <p>Anne, age 13 at the time, wrote the two pages on September 28, 1942, less than three months after she, her family and another Jewish family went into hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex behind a house in Amsterdam. They would live there for two years until they were discovered and ultimately deported to Auschwitz.</p> <p><img width="465" height="310" src="http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/9766126-3x2-700x467.jpg" alt="Large screen showing hidden pages of Anne Frank's diary" style="display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"/></p> <p>In her diary, perhaps fearing prying eyes, Anne had covered some pages over with brown paper with an adhesive backing like a postage stamp.</p> <p>Their content has remained a mystery for decades – until now.</p> <p>The pages contained four jokes about sex which Anne described as “dirty” and an explanation of women’s sexual development, sex, contraception and prostitution.</p> <p>“They bring us even closer to the girl and the writer Anne Frank,” Ronald Leopold, executive director of the Anne Frank House museum, said Tuesday.</p> <p>Experts say the newly discovered pages reveal more about her development as a writer than it does about her interest in sex.</p> <p>In other parts of her diary, Anne explored issues around sexuality, her anatomy and her impending period.</p> <p>Those particular passages were censored by her father when the diary was first published in 1947 but became available in recent unabridged editions.</p> <p>In the passage on sex, Anne described how a young woman gets her period around age 14, saying that it is “a sign that she is ripe to have relations with a man but one doesn’t do that of course before one is married.”</p> <p>On prostitution, she wrote: “All men, if they are normal, go with women, women like that accost them on the street and then they go together. In Paris they have big houses for that. Papa has been there.”</p> <p>One of her jokes was this: “Do you know why the German Wehrmacht girls are in Holland? As mattresses for the soldiers.”</p> <p>Another joke: “A man had a very ugly wife and he didn’t want to have relations with her. One evening he came home and then he saw his friend in bed with his wife, then the man said: ‘He gets to and I have to!!!”’</p> <p>The deciphering was done by researchers from the Anne Frank museum, the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Huygens Institute of Netherlands History.</p>

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Top 20 book recommendations from the Over60 community

<p>Being led on an engrossing and emotive journey through the pages of a magnificent book is an activity like no other. We asked you, the Over60 community, to share your favourite books, so you wouldn’t be short on recommendations once you finish your current read.</p> <p>Here are the top 20 book recommendations.</p> <p><strong>1. <em>Wild Swans</em> by Jung Chang</strong></p> <p>“Just coming to the end of it for a second time... a true story of three daughters of China. Brilliant!” – Margaret Hallam </p> <p><strong>2. <em>The Book Thief</em> by Markus Zusak</strong></p> <p>“Magnificent read. Markus Zusak has a very interesting, unique and engaging writing style.” – Yvonne Patterson</p> <p><strong>3. <em>The Lovely Bones</em> by Alice Sebold</strong></p> <p>“Very different to most books I read, a murdered 14-year-old girl tells her story of what happened after her death. I believe there is a movie too.” – Maggie Bibby </p> <p><strong>4. <em>A Fortunate Life</em> by Albert Facey</strong></p> <p>“Not long ago I finished a book by Albert Facey. A very interesting read about his growing up in the early 1900s and experiences with WWI and life. Kids these days who think they have it tough should read it.” – Graham Jackaman </p> <p><strong> 5. <em>The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul</em> by Deborah Rodriguez</strong></p> <p>“Life in the coffee shop during conflict in Afghanistan, the developing friendships with many complex characters. Recommended by a friend so glad she did. Great story.” –  Merrilee Pawley</p> <p><strong>6. <em>‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray</em> by Phil Murray</strong></p> <p>“The biography of<em> ‘Gelignite’ Jack Murray</em>, the quintessential Aussie larrikin, motorsport icon, father of water skiing in Australia, adventurer and top all round sportsman. His type will never be seen again, and I can thoroughly recommend the book as a good read.” – Darryl Wilkes </p> <p><strong>7. <em>Drums of Autumn</em> by Diana Gabaldon</strong></p> <p>“<em>Drums of Autumn</em> is book four in the<em> Outlander</em> series. Now reading book five... all for the second time. Highly recommend.” – Vicki Stebbins </p> <p><strong>8. <em>The Barefoot Investor</em> by Scott Pape</strong></p> <p>“I would recommend this to anyone to read, it will change your life. – Frances Van Kerk Oerle </p> <p><strong>9. <em>Long Walk to Freedom</em> by Nelson Mandela</strong></p> <p>“It has some  great background information if you are thinking of travelling to South Africa, too.” – Anne Dunnet</p> <p><strong>10. <em>Working Class Man</em> by Jimmy Barnes</strong></p> <p>“Please read the prequel <em>Working Class Boy</em> first. It's like he's talking straight to you.” – Sharron Millsteed Barker</p> <p><strong>11. <em>The Dry </em>and<em> Force of Nature</em> by Jane Harper</strong></p> <p>“I’d recommend both<em> The Dry</em> and <em>Force of Nature</em> by Jane Harper. Both great Aussie stories with mystery and whodunnit questions until the end. Another great Aussie series are books by Bronwyn Parry.” –  Vicki Newbury </p> <p><strong>12. <em>Tattooist of Auschwitz</em> by Heather Morris</strong></p> <p>“Fantastic read, sad but very enlightening on how humans can descend into hell and treat one another. I love books that inform us and take us into other people’s lives, it’s a great honour.”  – Lee Chilman </p> <p><strong>13. <em>The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared</em> by Jonas Jonasson</strong></p> <p> “Perfect for 60s age group because they will appreciate the snippets of history woven throughout this very funny tale. Loved it.” – Kerrie O'Dea</p> <p><strong>14. <em>The Lavender Keeper</em> by Fiona McIntosh</strong></p> <p>“As usual, a great story, and just about to start its sequel, <em>The French Promise</em>.” – Judith Daniel </p> <p><strong>15.<em> The Secret Children</em> by Alison McQueen</strong></p> <p>“A true story of two sisters fathered by a Scottish tea plantation owner in India in the 30s to a young Indian woman.” – Janelle Rosemary Campbell </p> <p><strong>16. <em>Against All Odds</em> by Danielle Steel</strong></p> <p>“Love all of Steel’s books. I love how when you are reading you get caught up in her characters. They come alive. Hard coming back to reality sometimes.” – Kim McLoughlin </p> <p><strong>17. <em>I am Pilgrim</em> by Terry Hayes</strong></p> <p>“Epic in its scale, from New York 2002 to Afghanistan to Syria… keeps you so engrossed. No low points.” – Christine Kirton</p> <p><strong>18. <em>“B” is for Burglar</em> by Sue Grafton</strong></p> <p>“I definitely highly recommend the series. I'm rereading them in memory of the lovely Sue who passed away in December.” – Wozzie Rose Mercer</p> <p><strong>19. <em>My Cousin Rachel</em> by Daphne Du Maurier  </strong></p> <p>“I am reading some of Daphne Du Maurier’s books, hard going but I loved <em>My Cousin Rachel</em> and <em>Jamaica Inn</em>, reading<em> The Glassblowers</em> now.” – Lesley Wilson</p> <p><strong>20.<em> All That I Am</em> by Anna Funder</strong></p> <p>“Good read about a group of German pacifists who flee Germany when Hitler comes to power.” – Margaret Shambrook </p>

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Robin Williams’ heartbreaking final days revealed in new book

<p>A new book has claimed that Robin Williams struggled to remember his lines as he unknowingly suffered from an undiagnosed devastating brain disorder.</p> <p>Speaking to his closest family and friends and admirers in Hollywood, Dave Itzkoff's new biography on the late actor seeks to answer the many questions still lingering over Robin’s life and sudden death. </p> <p>According to the book, while the Oscar-winning actor was filming Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, he was unable to remember his lines. </p> <p>“He was sobbing in my arms at the end of every day. It was horrible. Horrible,” makeup artist Cheri Minns said, according to the <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><em><strong><a href="https://nypost.com/2018/05/05/how-an-incurable-brain-disease-haunted-robin-williams-final-days/" target="_blank">New York Post</a>. </strong></em></span></p> <p>“I said to his people, ‘I'm a makeup artist. I don't have the capacity to deal with what's happening to him.’”</p> <p>She said she suggested to Robin to return to stand-up comedy to get out of his rut, but Robin said he couldn’t.</p> <p>“He just cried and said, ‘I can’t, Cheri. I don’t know how anymore. I don’t know how to be funny.’”</p> <p>The book paints a portrait of Robin as a deeply complicated man who battled alcohol, drugs, and infidelity, as well as deep loneliness and insecurity.</p> <p>He was a contradictory man who was “both wildly outgoing and painfully introverted”, the book claims. </p> <p>According to Williams' third wife, Susan Schneider, the actor started complaining about a variety of symptoms that included trouble urinating, insomnia, loss of his sense of smell and a slight tremor in his left hand. </p> <p>“It was like playing whack-a-mole. Which symptom is it this month? I thought, is my husband a hypochondriac? We're chasing it and there's no answers, and by now we'd tried everything,” she said.</p> <p>Actor Billy Crystal also spoke about seeing his friend after a four-month absence who looked frail and was “uncharacteristically quiet”.</p> <p>After they had dinner and were preparing to say goodbye, Robin suddenly burst into tears. </p> <p>“What's the matter?” Robin asked.</p> <p>“Oh, I'm just so happy to see you. It's been too long. You know I love you,” Robin replied.</p> <p>It was on August 11, 2014, when Robin’s assistant found the comedian dead in his bedroom. He had hanged himself by a belt. He left no note or given any warning.</p> <p>It later emerged that Robin, who had long battled depression, had been diagnosed with Parkinson's, a degenerative disease that gradually shuts down the body and mind. </p> <p>But three months later his autopsy revealed Robin was actually suffering from undiagnosed Lewy body disease, a devastating brain disorder that causes dementia.</p> <p>The book asks if his suicide was caused by his confused mind at the time, rather than a deliberate act.</p> <p>No one will ever know what Robin faced in those final days, but Billy provides some insight into what it must be like for someone who was renowned for his sharp wit and high-functioning mind to live through its unravelling, not knowing what it was or what to do about it.</p> <p>“I put myself in his place. Think of it this way: The speed at which the comedy came is the speed at which the terrors came,” Billy said. “And all that they described that can happen with this psychosis, if that’s the right word — the hallucinations, the images, the terror — coming at the speed his comedy came at, maybe even faster, I can’t imagine living like that.”</p>

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5 incredible facts about Helen Keller

<p>There are few historical figures as inspirational as Helen Keller. Born in Alabama in 1880, a childhood illness left her both deaf and blind by the age of two. Despite this, she went on to become a prolific author and political activist.</p> <p>Chances are you’ve seen her story in the 1962 film<em> The Miracle Worker</em>, starring Patty Duke as Keller and Anne Bancroft as her companion Anne Sullivan, but there’s so much to this incredible woman.</p> <p>Here, we’re taking a look at some of the little-known facts about Helen Keller.</p> <p><strong>1. She had many famous friends</strong></p> <p>In 1895, when she was just a teenager, Keller met legendary <em>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn</em> author Mark Twain at a lunch in New York. They bonded over their political views, with Keller, who was the same age as Twain’s daughter, saying he “treated me not as a freak, but as a handicapped woman seeking a way to circumvent extraordinary difficulties.” Twain introduced her to oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers, who, along with his wife, funded her education.</p> <p>Prior to meeting Twain, when she was just six years old, Keller met Alexander Graham Bell (the inventor of the telephone). Bell, whose wife was also deaf, had founded several schools for the deaf and advised Keller’s parents to enrol her at the Perkins Institute for the Blind, which she attended and soon met former student Sullivan. Bell and Keller remained friends until his death in 1922.</p> <p><strong>2. Two of her greatest passions were music and animals</strong></p> <p>Even though she could not hear, Keller was a great fan of music. Through her highly sensitive fingers, she could “hear” music through the vibration of instruments and the human voice.</p> <p>She was also a great lover of animals, particularly dogs, with whom she was able to forge a strong connection. In fact, she was responsible for introducing the popular Japanese breed of dog, the Akita, to America, after being gifted one (called Kamikaze-Go) from a police officer while visiting Japan.</p> <p><strong>3. She won an Oscar</strong></p> <p>Well, not quite, but the 1956 documentary about her life (<em>The Unconquered</em>) won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, which Keller herself accepted. She also dabbled in acting, starring in a 1919 silent film about her life,<em> Deliverance</em>, and performing on the Vaudeville circuit with Sullivan.</p> <p><strong>4. She travelled the world</strong></p> <p>Keller’s advocacy for people with disabilities took her all over the planet. She visited 39 countries, including the UK, France, India, South Africa and Korea, and met with historical figures the likes of Winston Churchill and Japanese Emperor Hirohito.</p> <p><strong>5. She almost married – three times</strong></p> <p>At the age of 36, Keller fell in love with her then-assistant Peter Fagan, a newspaper journalist seven years her junior. The couple took out a marriage license and tried to elope three different times.</p> <p>Sadly, they were never able to go through with it. At the time, eugenics (the belief that reproduction should be limited to those with desirable health and physical traits) was still popular, and to top it all off, Keller’s family stood in the way of at least one of their failed elopements due to concern that only they could care for her.</p>

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