Welcome to this week's literacy and reading news round-up. The round-ups are brought to you as a joint effort between myself and Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub. We normally alternate weeks, but we're planning to give ourselves a small vacation over the holidays. The next round-up will be at Terry's blog, TubTalk, on January 5th. But not to worry - I have enough news for you today to hold you over. As Terry noted last week, the holidays have inspired a wonderful focus on encouraging the love of reading.
Literacy and Reading Programs and Research
The Irish Times reports, in an article by Jason Michael and Mary Minihan, that "Irish children do more physical activity, have high levels of reading literacy and are more likely to be happy when compared to children in most other European countries, according to ... The State of the Nation’s Children Report 2008." Do you think that they're happier because they have high levels of reading literacy? Thanks to the International Reading Association blog for the link.
Tulsa World has an article by Shannon Muchmore about a literacy tutoring program that helps both teachers and participants. The Northeastern State University reading clinic works with both children and parents. "The tutors are NSU graduate and undergraduate students who receive required credit and training for their participation... Working in the program allows NSU's students a hands-on opportunity that adds to their resumes and prepares them for their career." We found this link at the NCFL's December 12th Literacy Voices Roundup, by Meg Ivey. The NCFL post also linked to this article (PDF) "from The Council Chronicle about the role technology plays in teaching and learning."
John Micklos at the International Reading Association blog announced: ""Improving Adolescent Literacy: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice" is the theme of a day-long forum being conducted January 14, 2009, in Piscataway, New Jersey, by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Educational Laboratory." Registration for the forum is limited to 100 people.
According to an article in the Latrobe Valley Express (AU), "BABIES as young as four months will be targeted by a government literacy program. Parents who take their baby for a four month-old check-up will be presented with a gift certificate from their maternal and child health nurse. The certificate is redeemable at local libraries for a Young Readers Program bag containing a book and DVD as well as information about local programs promoting early and adult literacy." Another program targeting babies is described in this Buffalo News article by Charity Vogel.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports, in an article by Jean Hopfensperger, that "The Minnesota Reading Corps, an experimental reading program for kids ages 3 to 8, has seen swift improvement and could soon reach as many as 15,000 disadvantaged children."
An article by Ryan Brinks in the Jackson County Pilot describes the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program in Jackson County. "The new program, launched in November, offers book bags, bookmarks, stamps, stickers, free books and more for preschoolers between birth and 5 years old who reach multiples of 20 books read to them and milestones of 500 and 1,000. The climax of the ongoing project for those who reach 1,000 books is a certificate award and graduation ceremony during Children’s Book Week every November."
Enjoyment of Reading
Inspired by 9-year-old Alec Greven from Castle Rock, Colo., who has written a book How to Talk to Girls, Carol Rasco, the CEO of Reading is Fundamental, asks: "What is your take on the issue of choice in motivating children to read and to write?" I agree with Carol that "Choosing a book to own from an array of titles that are age- and reading-level appropriate is highly motivating."
In other RIF news, "Rachael Flatt, 2008 World Junior Figure Skating Champion, has teamed up with Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) ... to encourage kids to gear up for a year of reading fun through a special feature on the RIF Reading Planet."
This week's reading-related rant comes from Carlie Webber at Librarilly Blonde. Carlie takes offense with a Washington Post article that talks about how "one "graduates" from children's and YA literature to adult novels." Carlie says:" I don't think readers should read only children's and YA books all their lives... I do think, however, that children's and YA literature is not to be dismissed by any reader, especially those who think enough of their own maturity to call themselves grownups." As is generally the case on these sorts of issues, I agree with Carlie.
Nadine C. Warner at Kiddos and Books sings the praises of reading aloud to children. She actually has a poem about how Barack Obama is returning to basics by encouraging parents to read aloud with their children. She also offers tips and references.
There seems to be some disagreement over the role of fathers in encouraging reading. I mentioned this School Library Journal article by Gail Giles last week, which said that "if (a boy) doesn’t see a man reading, he won’t read". In contrast, we ran across a Sydney Morning Herald article by Adele Horin that agreed that "Fathers can raise boys' interest in reading simply by setting a good example and reading more themselves." However, the article also said that "In lone-mother families, boys and girls are equally influenced by their mothers' love of reading", according to a "study by Killian Mullan, a research associate at the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW." Thanks to Rose's Reading Round-Up at the First Book Blog for the latter link.
Meanwhile, Spring Park High School in Minnesota has what I think is a neat program to show kids that Real Men Read. According to an article by Debra Lau Whelan for School Library Journal, "It’s hard to miss this slogan while walking through the school’s hallways. There you’ll find 35 large posters of men enjoying a good read. And these role models aren’t celebrities or authors—they’re real men who the students encounter every day." The results have reportedly been quite positive.
Grants, Sponsorships, and Donations
Literacy and Reading News reports that "Super Stars Literacy (SSL) has been awarded a $15,000 grant from the East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF). EBCF selected the award-winning after-school program to receive the funds, in part, because its early literacy and social development programming speaks directly to one of the greatest needs EBCF identified in local communities: ensuring very young children are successful in the education system."
Also via Literacy and Reading News, "The Detroit Free Press is providing a new forum for student journalists at 14 Detroit high schools to house their works. It's called http://www.freephigh.com/... The Web site for the program, sponsored by the Free Press and Ford Motor Co., soon will offer photo galleries, videos and polls. Readers also can access the site from cell phones."
Lori Calabrese suggests several ways to share the gift of reading this year. As Lori says: "It's the stories at this time of year of fundraisers, donations, and giving that remind us all about the true meaning of Christmas."
Speaking of donations, I received an email this week from a representative of the Toys for Tots Literacy Program. She said, for readers who might be interesting in donating to an educational cause: "What’s great about this program is that as little as $1 really makes a difference. A $1 donation will put a book into the hands of a child in need, right in your own community. Your readers can donate via the donation page on the Web site, or by visiting any participating The UPS Store nationwide."
According to an article by Megan Crawford in the Maryville (MO) Daily Forum, "A new grant will be helping the special services team at the Maryville Middle School provide interesting materials for their students who have trouble reading or who are reluctant readers. Virginia Neff, the eighth grade special education teacher at MMS, said the new books that will be purchased with the $500 Maryville R-II Foundation classroom grant will be instrumental in helping struggling readers."
An article by Joshua Melvin in the Palo Alto (CA) Daily News says that "A Los Altos-based nonprofit will be giving the gift of reading to 4,900 children this holiday season. Hoopoe Books Literacy Program will be handing out the books to organizations in East Palo Alto, Palo Alto, San Jose and Sunnyvale. The donations come as part of a $90,000 grant the organization recently received from Kaiser Permanente... (All 11 books) distributed through the literacy program are folk tales from Afghanistan, the Middle East and Central Asia."
New Web Resources
Terry discovered a new video children's book recommendation series on YouTube and TeacherTube called Reading Rooster Recommends. The series is sponsored by the South Carolina Center for Children's Books and Literacy, the USC School of Library and Information Science, and the South Carolina State Library. We learned about Reading Rooster Recommends at the Libraries & Life blog.
As linked above, Carol Rasco, the CEO of RIF, is new to blogging, and I've added her fun and informative blog, Rasco from RIF, to my regular blog reading.
Kansas has a new state resource called Kansas Book Connect. The website calls it: "a web-based book-searching tool ... which allows students, parents, and teachers to use the personalized reading range to search for interesting and appropriate books. Whether doing a quick search or an advanced search, you can always refine your list based on reading and maturity levels—helping you put the right book in the right hands at the right time to promote effective reading practice. " Kansas Book Connect is part of a larger state initiative. We learned about Kansas Book Connect from a post by Louise Ash at Reading Today Daily, the IRA blog.
Brian Scott at Literacy and Reading News reports that "The International Children's Digital Library (ICDL), which is the world's largest collection of children's literature available freely on the Internet, has signed an agreement with Google to augment its vast collection of public domain children's literature with public domain titles digitized using Google's state-of-the-art scanning technology. The result will be the addition of potentially thousands of scanned, searchable children's books to the ICDL."
Terry discovered a fun event announcement at CultureMob: "The much-loved Mr. Potato Head character will lead young visitors and parents on a number of fun and educational adventures. From trips to outer space to jungle safaris and archeological digs, each activity will provide children with engaging learning experiences.The exotic and fanciful exhibit is designed to develop school readiness and academic skills for young children, focusing on literacy, problem solving, mathematics, science and social studies." As Terry said to me, the neat thing about this is the way that it engages kids in learning without their "knowledge", by making it fun.
And that's all for this week. The next literacy and reading round-up will be on January 5th, at TubTalk. Thanks for reading!
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.