Here's some recent children's literacy and reading related news from around the wires. Some is encouraging, some not so much, but it's all worth knowing about. This week's edition features several international stories.
- According to a recent press release, "Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) and Colgate-Palmolive Company were honored with a GOLD Halo Award for the Healthy Bedtime Habits campaign to encourage reading and brushing in young children... The Halo Award, awarded by the Cause Marketing Forum, is America's highest honor for organizations involved in cause marketing."
- Another press release details the results of the Orlando Sentinel's "One Book One Community(TM) program, encouraging Central Florida residents to read Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwaters between January 14 and February 28, 2007." The program had it's most successful year yet.
- In less encouraging news, the Jamaica Gleaner has an article that quotes teachers as saying that a government reading program has failed, and that 40 to 50 percent of fourth graders are failing grade literacy. The government has started a new literacy program to combat shortcomings left by the previous program. The "ministry had begun deploying literacy teachers to the 100 lowest performing primary schools under a new literacy programme announced two months ago. At least 120 of them are to be deployed to the schools in phases to help reduce the level of illiteracy. A national literacy co-ordinator has also been named as well as regional co-ordinators."
- And, for a quirkier tale of literacy, according to the Hindu News Update Service, "(l)engths of index and ring fingers of seven-year-old children could indicate how well children will do in mathematics and literacy, a study indicated. In the study to be published in the British Journal of Psychology, scientists compared the finger lengths of 75 children with their Standardised Assessment Test scores. They found a clear link between a child's performance in numeracy and literacy tests and the relative lengths of their index (point) and ring fingers."
- The Argus (CA) has a discouraging article about a documented increase in television watching among children under the age of two, and a decrease in library funding that's occurring at the same time. "The abandonment of libraries is part of a national picture where about half of public libraries in the United States had cuts or flat funding last year. This comes as their use has actually grown nationally."
- The Jakarta Post reports a high level of interest in children's books at a recent Jakarta Book Fair. "Seto Mulyadi, chairman of the National Commission for Children, said children's books were in high demand mainly because young people have started to develop reading habits. "This is a positive thing. By reading, children's abilities, including their general knowledge, will improve," he told The Jakarta Post on Monday." He went on to outline other positive links between reading books and the future of Jakarta's children.
- The Government of Uganda is planning "to partner with Uganda Children's Writers and Illustrators Association (UCWIA) to promote a reading culture among African children", according to AllAfrica.com.
- Hebrew Book Week is being celebrated in Israel, according to Ha'aretz (Tel Aviv), with a multitude of book fairs and literacy activities focusing on children's books.
- And, to share one more press release, "A $2.5 Grant from Grinspoon Foundation will enable The PJ Library to expand its reach to 10,000 children by 2008. The highly successful family Jewish identity-building initiative modeled itself after Dolly Parton's Imagination Library children's book gifting program. Philanthropist Harold Grinspoon brought the Imagination Library to Western Massachusetts, then was inspired to adapt the concept to the Jewish Community, to build Jewish identity in young intermarried and unaffiliated Jewish families. The PJ Library mails a year's worth of free-of-charge, brand new, age-appropriate Jewish children's books and music CDs to more than 5,300 children ages six months to six years, operating in over 35 cities and towns nationwide."