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Children's Literacy Round-Up: March 27

Here's my summary of the children's literacy news stories for the week. In case I haven't said this before, I include in these round-ups any articles that I find about efforts to help kids to enjoy reading and love books. What you'll find here are articles about literacy programs, programs that give books to kids who wouldn't have them otherwise, efforts to encourage parents to read aloud to their kids, and school and community programs focused around making reading fun. Enjoy!

  • The Denver Post has a nice article this weekend by Jenny Deam on helping parents to help their kids choose books. The article features quotes by Anita Silvey and other experts, including: "By far the toughest age to buy for is the older elementary and middle school kids" and "Some other tips if the adults are doing the choosing is to know what the child has read last and what his or her friends are reading. Kids have their own unofficial Oprah list."
  • The Walla Walla Union Bulletin features a story by Erica Anderson about the Walla Walla Kids Read program, sponsored by local author Patrick Carman. "The program was offered to all Walla Walla and College Place students in first through sixth grade, to encourage kids to become stronger readers and to introduce them to another level of reading and thinking." Walter Wick, photographer for the I, Spy series, and Rodman Philbrook, author of Freak the Mighty, held multiple sessions with local kids.
  • Author Mitali Perkins suggests that a helpful step in learning a new language is to find a version of a favorite children's book in that language, and read that. She says: "By the end of Babar's story in Thai, my meager store of memorized vocabulary had quadrupled. I was starting to get the language — the way sentences were formed, the rhythm of conversation, the subtleties of Thai humor. Best of all, I was questioning my conviction about being a dunderhead when it came to learning another language as an adult." Worth a try for anyone, I'd say.
  • The First Book blog writes about illiteracy in Washington, DC, saying "The need for First Book is apparent in many places, but often it seems especially obvious to us here in Washington, DC, where the First Book national office is located. DCist posted their thoughts about a study by the State Education Agency that shows that a third of the people in Washington, DC are functionally illiterate." First Book is focusing efforts to get books into kids' hands in DC in particular.
  • The Big Fresh from Choice Literacy lists several web resources for literacy information, reporting the "the top seven web resources beyond the Choice Literacy site our subscribers voted for with their clicks in previous issues."
  • According to a recent press release, Holiday Inn Express is partnering with Reading Is Fundamental to get more books into the hands of kids. "As part of the partnership, RIF will receive a donation equal to 9 percent of the consumed room rate for every guest who initiates a reservation via http://www.hiexpress.com/rif starting today... In addition, Holiday Inn Express properties across the country are committing to raise at least $1,000 per hotel this year by engaging their staffs and local communities in unique ways such as hosting book reading parties. All hotel funds raised will stay in local communities for the purchase of new books and literacy resources, and will benefit local RIF programs."
  • The Pensacola News Journal has an article by John Parnham about a new community program called ECARE: Every Child a Reader in Escambia (county). "ECARE is a business-led, community-wide "movement" created to eliminate early childhood illiteracy in Escambia County. ECARE wants to give every child a realistic opportunity to learn how to read so they can fully participate in, and benefit from, the education process. Its mission is to create a literate work force which is the foundation for economic growth in our community." The article includes current literacy-performance statistics, and talks about how ECARE aims to help.
  • According to the Brampton News (Ontario, Canada), the Peel School District is hosting a free conference for parents about literacy on March 31st. " The conference, Make a difference in literacy and beyond—practical ways parents can boost learning, provides parents of children at all grade levels with useful tips to help their children be successful." More than 50 workshops are planned, and some 1200 parents are expected to attend.

And that's all for this week. Happy reading!