This week's children's literacy round-up highlights recent news articles about community efforts for children's literacy and love of books.
- In a February 19th article, the Arizona Daily Star (Tucson) profiles Nancy Pitt and Libby Hoffman, two friends who established the First Page Literacy Fund to help launch children on the path to success. The two friends, and avid readers, were motivated "to start First Page in 1999 after reading A Hope in the Unseen : An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League by Ron Suskind." Since 1999, their fund "has provided more than $170,000 to 94 literacy projects, including support for family literacy nights; books for students, preschools, schools and libraries; and money for tutors and reading instruction." You can read more in the Arizona Daily Star article.
- The Observer (UK) has a February 19th article about young reading and writing prodigy Adora Svitak. Adora is a prolific reader and writer, with a 296-page book published, and hundreds of stories and poems written. She is on a personal mission to encourage other children to read and love books. According to the article, she hopes to visit Britain to "convince children ... of the joy of reading." Some questions are raised in the article as to whether Adora will be as well-received in the UK as she is in American schools. You can decide for yourself by reading the article, or you can visit Adora's website.
- In a February 22nd article, the Washington File describes Dolly Parton's Imagination Library literacy program, which gives books to young children in Tennessee. "240,000 children under age 5 throughout the United States ... received 1.9 million books in 2005" through this program, founded in 1996. "Parton started the literacy program when she realized how few families have books in their homes to read to their children." Ms. Parton was also apparently inspired by the fact that her own father was unable to read or write. More information is available at the Imagination Library website.
- On Wednesday, February 22nd the Palatka (Florida) Daily News ran an article about the new Children's Reading Center Charter School in Palatka. This is a school focused on teaching children to be better readers. It sounds great to me!
- And finally, in a February 22nd article, the Bay Area's Daily Review describes Oakland A's co-owner Lew Wolff's visit to a Fremont school. "Wolff and his daughter Kari read baseball-themed children's books to nearly 130 first- and second-graders while taking part in the team's pro-literacy Home Run Readers Program at Pioneer Elementary School... "All learning programs are important, but reading is the key," Wolff said. "You're lost without it."' I couldn't agree more! Personally, I'd like to see the A's move down to San Jose. But that's another story.