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Children's Literacy Round-Up: Read Across America Day Edition

I'm a bit pressed for time because I'm on a business trip this week, but I couldn't let the NEA's Read Across America Day (held this year on March 3rd, the day after Dr. Seuss's birthday) pass by without sharing some children's literacy and reading news with you:

  • Via Sara Lewis Holmes (and did you see Sara's recent good news?), I learned that Toys for Tots is launching a new children's book drive, its first year-round initiative. They'll be working with the UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. to "offer our nation’s most economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing them direct access to books and educational resources that will enhance their ability to read and to communicate effectively." You can see the press release here.
  • Nancy Lowell George has an article in the Christian Science Monitor about the joys of reading books aloud to kids during long car trips. She says: "Reading chapter books in the car is like quizzing a child on spelling words while she soaks in the bathtub. The audience is captive. They can't wander off or flip on the television as they would at home. Instead, they listen and gaze out the car windows until their imaginations take over... A fringe benefit? At young ages they learned what every reader knows: The book is always better than the movie." Thanks to the International Reading Association blog for the link.
  • At the Tiger's Bookshelf (part of The Paper Tigers blog), Janet shares tips from parents about engaging children in reading, including virtual book clubs and question-filled, interactive reading sessions.
  • The Age has an interesting article by Margaret Cook about rethinking the way that books are recommended to kids, especially to "reluctant readers". The article cites research into why children do and don't read by Professor Adrian Ashman from the University of Queensland's education faculty. For example, "Professor Ashman found that prerequisites for recreational reading included availability of literature, individual reading skills and motivation. "But what most attracted the 'avid readers' was connecting with the story. Regardless of what they read, they wanted to identify with the characters, they liked the story to be authentic and they didn't like predictability."" The article also includes some tips for fostering a love of reading in kids. Most of the tips aren't new, but they are all things that can't be said enough.

And that's all I can manage today. There are tons of other news stories out there about literacy events in honor of Read Across America Day, from opinion pieces about the importance of reading to features about kids eating Green Eggs and Ham. Click here for a Google News listing of a few. The important thing is, take a few moments to tip your hat to Dr. Seuss today, and perhaps think about what else you and your children can do this week to celebrate books and reading.