Here are some stories about community literacy efforts that caught my eye this week:
- Out of the many wonderful stories about community programs for last week's Read Across America Day (March 2nd), I particularly enjoyed this article by Paul Johnson about programs in New Jersey. Among other details, the article quotes Patricia DiDonato, a retired teacher who dresses up as the The Cat in the Hat and visits schools. Ms. DiDonato says: "Anything any adult can do to inspire children to read is beneficial." I agree! The article also includes a list of children's books that take place in New Jersey.
- I also liked this article from the Peterborough (UK) Evening Telegraph, about Peterborough's celebration of World Book Day (also March 2nd). According to the article, by Rachel Gordon, "education chiefs in Peterborough aren't just putting literacy at the top of their agenda today – they have a long-term strategy to improve the lives of everyone in the city through the Read, Write, Inspire campaign." The article outlines the philosophy behind the campaign, as well as many of the specific efforts being undertaken, and concludes with an invitation for local residents to vote for their top 10 favorite reads. How wonderful it must be to live in a city that cares this much about reading!
- Another fun celebration of World Book Day took place at DEEPCAR School in Sheffield, UK, where the school organized activities based on a Roald Dahl theme, and both students and teachers dressed as characters from Roald Dahl books. Personally, I've always identified with Matilda, but it sounds like these kids and teachers enjoyed a full range of characters.
- The March 9th Sand Mountain Reporter (Albertville, AL) discussed the success of Big Spring Lake School's literacy initiative, part of the Alabama Reading Initiative. For this year's winter benchmark tests, 90 percent of the school's students reached the benchmark target. "There were a lot of tears shed when we got those results," Counselor Deidra Tidwell said. "Our goal was 80 percent and we thought we had a good chance, but when we saw 90 percent, we threw a party." Good for them, I say.
- And speaking of throwing parties, Bright Horizons, a provider of child care and early eduction, will be hosting five free children’s literacy festivals for families throughout the Raleigh Durham area on April 1 and April 8 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. You can find more information in this news release, or on the Bright Horizons website. Bright Horizons will also be hosting literacy festivals in Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey between now and May (depending on the state).
- Though more of an opinion piece than a news story, this column by David Lecam in the Weymouth, MA news caught my eye. The title is "What happens when you are not a reader?" Mr. Lecam gives an example of a person who thought that it would be possible to take a train to Hawaii. He goes on to review current literacy statistics, and to quote extensively from Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook. The overall recommendation of the article is to "remove the TV and the Game-Boy as well as the cell phone from the bedroom during homework time and start reading to the kids. Begin in their first year of life. Make them desire reading."
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend! -- Jen