Sunday Afternoon Visits: September 14
Pirates, Cybils, and BBAW Ahoy

Children's Literacy Round-Up: September 14

Here is some recent children's literacy and reading news from around the papers and the blogs:

  • Via the International Reading Association Blog, "The Minister of Education (in Yemen) stated that the ministry is preparing a primary study to employ 30,000 university graduates under the program of Eradicating Illiteracy." The original article is by Almigdad Mojalli of the Yemen Times.
  • Also via the IRA blog, as originally published at The Press Association, "A National Literacy Trust report looking at the effects of literacy on the nation's happiness found stark differences between those with good literacy skills and those without. The report, which looked in particular at men's happiness, found that only half of men with poor reading skills were satisfied with their life so far, compared with 78% of men with good reading levels." The gist is that literate people are happier, which makes sense to me.
  • A Literacy and Reading News article by Brian Scott shares reading tips for parents of preschoolers. After some specific tips, the article concludes: "Reading is a wonderful way to bond with your children and provides memories they will carry with them all their lives. Proficiency in reading, more than any other skill, increases their potential for success in school and as an adult. In short, reading with your children is a gift that gives for a lifetime."
  • This news came from Kelly at Big A little a, as originally published in a La Jolla Light article by Kathy Day. "Longtime La Jolla residents Christopher and Karen Sickels have donated $1 million to the San Diego State University Library to fund an endowment and visiting scholar fellowships in children's literature. The Sickels, both SDSU alumni, are former teachers who said their gifts would be used to meet two primary objectives of serving all students and benefiting teachers and students, according to an SDSU news release."
  • The Columbia Tribune has an article by Janese Heavin about a new online tool "to help parents and educators learn what researchers say about student literacy without making them decipher the jargon that typically accompanies such studies. Betsy Baker, associate professor of literacy studies at the University of Missouri, is hosting a series of interviews with researchers who have had studies published in either Reading Research Quarterly or the Journal of Literacy Research. The biweekly "Voice of Literacy" podcasts, offered on the first and third Mondays of the month, will run through April."
  • The Sydney Morning Herald reported that "Education Minister Julia Gillard says the federal government faces a massive challenge to improve education standards for indigenous children after tests showed they lagged well behind the rest of the country. Ms Gillard released results of the National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) following testing in May of one million students across Australia in years three, five, seven and nine. Ninety per cent of students achieved the required minimum standards but Ms Gillard said the results would also be used to help disadvantaged students, particularly Aboriginal children."
  • In a brief announcement in the Jackson Times, "Homebound and Volunteer Services of the Ocean County Library has launched Sparks' B.F.F. Reading Club, a new county-wide outreach program. B.F.F. stands for Best Friends Forever. This program will encourage children and teens to visit the library and take advantage of the many services and materials Ocean County Library has to offer. Sparks, the library mascot, plans to visit the reading club participants at future state-sponsored Ocean County foster family events."
  • The Scotsman reports on a report that found that "Smaller classes 'help low achievers with literacy and numeracy'". The finding, by the social policy think tank Civitas, is apparently controversial.
  • The Earth Times shares a press release about a new collaboration between the Lunchables team and First Book. "To help kids reach their reading potential and instill the love of reading, Oscar Mayer Lunchables Lunch Combinations has teamed up with the non-profit literacy organization, First Book, to create the Lunchables Million Page Mission. For every parent who pledges to read 100 pages together with their kids during the back-to-school season, the Lunchables team will donate $1 to First Book. Research shows that when parents read to their children, kids in turn are stronger readers(3). This Mission will raise up to $10,000 to donate books through First Book to kids who otherwise would not have them."
  • The Milpitas Post (CA) has an article by Ali Abdollahi about a local girl, Jamie Yao, who, while in high school, "decided to initiate a summer tutoring program at the Milpitas Community Library for students entering grades one to seven to help promote literacy and love of reading in young Milpitans... The program has doubled in size since its first year (2006), now boasting 50 tutors and 70 students. Yao had to create a volunteer application process this summer because there was an overwhelming interest in volunteering for the program." Inspiring, yes?
  • I'm going to close with a link to a blog post that I really wish everyone would click through to read. The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller, has a heartfelt article about why reading books really matters. She says (among lots of other great stuff): "We read because we are lost and we are searching for home. We read because we feel isolated and need companions. We read because our lives have too little magic, wonder, heroism, laughter, or justice... This is why I must get my students to read." Donalyn is so much more eloquent than I am in conveying why getting kids to love books is so important. This is seriously a must-read article!

And that's all for today. Happy reading!