Here is some recent children's literacy and reading news from various sources.
- The Sun News (Macon, GA) has a nice article by J. Randolph Murray (the paper's editor) about sharing the thrill of reading. Murray describes in detail his history as a young bookworm, and explains "All of this is why I jumped to say "yes" when asked to participate in a "Celebrity Read" later this month at Parkwood Elementary School to kick off the Warner Robins school's Reading is Fundamental free paperback distribution program." My favorite part of the article is this: "She (my sister) also introduced me to the most enchanting place in our little hometown of Quitman, Georgia. I still remember the sense of awe I felt when I pushed my way through the heavy double doors to enter the Brooks County Public Library."
- The Storm Blog (Seattle's WNBA team) has a post by Jayda Evans about how guards Sheryl Swoopes and Katie Gearlds will be reading to children at a local art museum. "The players will read Impressionism-inspired stories and take participants on a tour of their favorite paintings". Here is a quote from Sheryl Swoopes in the press release: "As a child I never really had an opportunity to interact with adults and culture in a stimulating environment. This program shows kids how important it is to read, to be inspired by art and to excel in new areas. As athletes we know that we can play a powerful role in showing how these experiences can be both enriching and exciting."
- Care2 carried a recent press release about the partnering of the READING Pawz and Reading is Fundamental in Marion County, TN. The idea is "to inspire passion for reading and learning utilizing Therapy Animals who volunteer to offer children an opportunity to improve their reading in a setting which has proven not only effective but fun. READING Pawz and RIF plan on making reading fun through exciting motivational activities that culminate in *book distributions** opportunities for kids to choose and keep books at no cost to them or their families. READING Pawz RIF provides books to children through a network of local volunteers, who READING Pawz RIF programs and organize events."
- According to another press release (on RTTNews), "Audible ... announced that it has formed a strategic alliance with Bonnier's Parenting Group to promote kids' literacy through digital audiobooks. The company said that this alliance involves a Parenting-branded download boutique at AudibleKids.com and wide-ranging promotional efforts led by the magazine and its web site, Parenting.com."
- The Bellevue Reporter recently published an article by Lindsay Larin about "Story Slam, a free program designed to raise excitement about literacy among students. To encourage students to read and write more, (Bernie) Ornelas created the Story Slam contest, giving participants the opportunity to read a creative writing piece of their own original work in front of a live audience."
- Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect posted today about a new PBS series, Martha Speaks, featuring Susan Meddaugh's character Martha. As quoted by Tricia: "The half-hour show, which premieres nationwide Sept. 1, aims to teach 4- to 7-year-olds words as advanced as "communicate," "diminish," "courageous," and "concoct."" This Boston Globe article has more details. Terry also wrote about this at What Happens Next: The Reading Tub Blog. See also Terry's new list of great books (and workbooks) for back to school, with recommendations for kids of all ages.
- The New Zealand Herald has an education story by Nicola Shepheard about the country's deficiencies in children's literacy, and possible steps to improve. The article says: "We fall down in literacy. Out of 46 countries, our average-scoring 10-year-olds come in the middle at 24th, below the United States and the United Kingdom. But average scores hide the real problem: the gap between our best and worst readers and writers is among the widest in the world, and it's growing. Overall, girls do better than boys, again by one of the biggest margins internationally, and especially among low achievers."
- According to an article in the Log Cabin Democrat, the Conway (AR) Bookcase Project Committee will be holding a "bookcase literacy banquet", to raise money to provide local children with high quality, personalized wooden bookcases, and thus encourage literacy and reading.
- The Age (Australia) has an opinion piece by Christopher Bantick about the importance of making the reading experience pleasurable for kids, and the positive health benefits for readers. He specifically questions "the push for at least four Australian books to be studied in NSW classrooms by the end of year10" in the context of the idea that "children might like to read something they like". I found this a particularly well-balance article (with references to both Mem Fox and Enid Blyton).
And that's all the literacy and reading news for this week. Happy reading!