It's time for this week's round-up of children's literacy and reading-related news. Happy reading!
- Terry had another excellent round-up of reading news at the Reading Tub's blog, What Happens Next, on July 7th. My favorite link from it was to the LOST Book Club website, where you can see all of the books mentioned in the television show LOST, by season, and discuss them with other fans. The book references are one of my favorite things about LOST, and I love that someone at ABC took the time to set up this website.
- In the UK Telegraph, Tom Peterkin writes about Children's Laureate Michael Rosen's concerns about reading for pleasure. Rosen "said ministers were making a "big mistake" by not putting enough emphasis on reading for pleasure in schools. He attacked the "tests and targets" culture of the classroom saying: "It's not sufficient simply to have children learning how to bark at print. You must have enjoyment going on at the same time. If you read for pleasure children will achieve. "The Government is making a big mistake by not saying reading for pleasure is as important as learning to read."" I think that this is a problem in the US, too, and it's good to see Rosen standing up and discussing it. Do go and read the article!
- The Jackson Sun has a nice article about the importance of summer reading by Ashley Anthony. Link via the International Reading Association blog. For example, "Elizabeth Parnell, children's librarian at Jackson-Madison County Library, wants to help families instill a love of reading in their children. Books can take them on an adventure to anywhere they can dream, quench a curious mind, or even open up a whole new world of thought," she said. "Research has shown that kids who read during the summer perform better when school resumes in the fall."" The article also includes a few kid-recommended titles.
- Also via the IRA blog, Larry Carson at the Baltimore Sun writes about the importance of an expanded summer Head Start program in getting kids ready for kindergarten.
- The St. Petersburg Times recently published a guest column by George Bastable, a language arts teacher, about instilling a love of reading in kids. (Funny, I can't see the name Bastable without thinking of E. Nesbit's The Treasure Seekers - seems fitting). George Bastable says: "My love of reading spawned from my family. My parents loved to read, which spread to my siblings, which spread to me. My mother and sister read to me. I devoured my older brother's 23-volume Chip Hilton sports series many times over. But it shouldn't just come from home. Mrs. Osborne, my fourth-grade teacher, catapulted my love of literature by reading aloud to me. And, I suppose, to the rest of the class. It was her choice of titles that helped. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Born Free, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Island of the Blue Dolphin. It's been more than 40 years and I still remember." I just hope that if he's reading these classics to his students, he's also reading them some new titles.
- The Worcester News (UK) writes about the success, and recent granting of awards, from "a ‘Dads and Lads’ reading project organised by the Worcester Warriors Education Programme. Warrior’s players Ben Jones and Matthew Jones presented the proud young boys with their awards at Worcester Library. The scheme was set up after national statistics indicated that boys are reluctant readers. Its aim was to encourage reading through the use of male role models, particularly fathers."
- According to a recent Australian Broadcasting Corporation news report, "The Queensland Government is considering asking parents to go back to school as part of a radical new plan to improve children's reading skills. The classes would be aimed at parents with low literacy skills, who themselves struggle to read and write. Queensland Education Minister Rod Welford says parents could be offered a variety of reading classes and tutoring sessions before school and at night."
- MLive.com (MI) recently ran an article by Myron Kukla from the Grand Rapids Press about summer bookmobiles. It reminded me of the difference that the bookmobile made to young Livy Two in Kerry Madden's Maggie Valley books. "The West Ottawa Public Schools vehicle and two neighboring counterparts, Holland Public Schools' The Big Read (Red) Bus and Zeeland Public Schools' the Zee Bus, are all about bringing reading to children. The bottom line: Keep minds active."
- The Carolina Peacemaker (NC) has an article by Jeanna Covington that says that "A modest-sized delegation of North Carolina A&T State University students are traveling throughout the West African city of Accra, Ghana this week, helping to increase the literacy of vulnerable youth in the capital referred to as “street children.” Five rising sophomores, accompanied by two faculty members, are presenting more than 1,200 books to organizations in Accra dedicated to empowering young people through education."
- In a recent news release, "Sharon Darling, president & founder of the National Center for Family Literacy encourages parents to take a minute – literally – to engage their children in learning activities while they go about their daily routine." She shares several concrete suggestions, like "While you’re waiting for the bagel to toast, have your child look for the letter B on any items on your kitchen counter or table. Count as many as possible before the toaster pops."
And that's it for this week. I'm sure that Terry will have some more news for you in a couple of days, though.