This week’s children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog, is now available here. This week Terry Doherty and I have collected content for you about literacy & reading-related events; raising readers; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; grants, sponsorships & donations; and other new resources. We do seem to be hitting the dog-days of summer, however, and this week's round-up is a bit lighter than usual.
First Book just started accepting votes for their annual "What Book Got You Hooked?" contest. Readers can visit the website "to share the memory of the first book that got you hooked on reading and then vote for the state to receive 50,000 brand new books for children in need." My entry was Little House in the Big Woods, because this is the first series that I remember selecting on my own, and eagerly going from book to book.
Literacy and Reading News reported that August 1st was "the first day of a community-based book drive at more than 1,000 Borders(R) and Waldenbooks(R) stores throughout the nation. Borders and Waldenbooks' staff will encourage customers to purchase new children's books through the first week of September. All books will be directly donated to a local charity chosen by each store."
Terry found a short Winnipeg Free Press article about "Winnipeg Goldeyes players and city libraries ... (teaming up) to promote children’s literacy and the library’s TD Summer Reading Club." You all know that we love programs that tie athletics and reading together.
The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance recently announced a new joint project with the Library of Congress, National Ambassador for Young People's Literature Jon Scieszka, and several other authors. The project is a "rollicking story adventure game to discover The Exquisite Corpse!!!! ...The Exquisite Corpse Adventure will continue over the course of one year with each new episode and illustration appearing on the Library of Congress's new READ.gov website every two weeks!" The idea is to inspire kids to read this story, and then seek out other great books.
At Literacy Launchpad, Amy shares some thoughts for parents on helping children to select books at the library. In addition to posing some strategy questions, she offers "ideas for helping your child learn to find the books at the library that they really want to read". For example: "Find a book your child really likes? Encourage them to find other books by the same author. How cool would it be for your preschooler to already have a favorite author!"
Continuing a RecorderOnline series on helping school-age kids to enjoy reading, Davalynn Spencer writes: "how do we get a reluctant reader to read without knowing he’s actually reading? Give him a job that requires information gathering. And start in the kitchen."
Terry also found a nice post at Jamaican Mommies about preparing children for a successful life. She especially liked this part: "ensure that literacy as a hobby is well established long before your child [starts taking standardized tests in 4th grade]." [Emphasis ours]
In this week's The Big Fresh, the Choice Literacy newsletter, Brenda Power links to an article by Shari Frost about using chapter books for read-aloud in early elementary school classrooms. Shari says: "I learned from many years of teaching first grade that something magical takes place when a class shares the experience of journeying through a chapter book together." She shares her experience in teaching this to a group of urban teachers, and recommends specific titles.
At The Book Chook, Susan Stephenson shares several videos of parents reading to children. Her answer to the question "when should we start reading to kids?" is pretty much "as early as possible."
At Booklights, Pam Coughlan (MotherReader) shares three simple reading games for busy parents.
The Children's Book Review shares an article from RIF about how appreciating art can promote literacy. It says: "The next time you take children on an Artistic Adventure, try “reading” the works of art together. You’ll help children develop reading-related skills as they learn about the artist and the people, places, and time period depicted in the artwork."
Literacy & Reading Programs & Research
Traci Gardener from the NCTE Inbox Blog suggests that teachers use Laurie Halse Anderson's Write Fifteen Minutes A Day project (WFMAD) as a model for building community in the classroom. Traci says: "In the classroom, this kind of project can forge great connections among students. Just follow Anderson's example, and provide a prompt, advice, and encouragement. Anderson even says that the prompts can be reproduced for classroom use!"
The Spartanburg, SC online news site reported, in an article by Lee G. Healy, that local schools kept their libraries open during the summer, to encourage summer reading. Healy reports that "the program has been at no cost to the district, as schools were open to administrators and teachers anyway, and the libraries were staffed purely with volunteer teachers and community members. At Inman Elementary, early childhood education students from the University of South Carolina Upstate were a big part of the volunteer base." We love this!
Lee from Fantasy Book Review reports: "The Scottish Book Trust is to appoint a Virtual Writer in Residence who will use the internet to get adolescents hooked on reading and writing.The successful candidate will be named next month and the Trust has advertised for a dynamic teen fiction writer with a passion for inspiring young people and innovative ideas about how to do this... The virtual writer will make monthly contributions to the SBT blog and take part in live webchats with budding writers. They will also judge a national short story competition and lead events and workshops at schools.". Thanks to Charlotte from Charlotte's Library for sending us this link.
Crunch, the Minnesota Timberwolves mascot, is promoting literacy - with a retired ambulance. Reading to the Rescue is an effort by the Hennepin County Medical Center to raise literacy awareness to remind people how important reading is to a child's healthy development. If you donate a dollar, you can sign the ambulance which will be dedicated as Crunch's Den during the Timberwolves' first home game this fall.
I found a rather powerful opinion piece by John Daum in the Chattanoogan about the costs of illiteracy. Daum says: "The metric some states employ to estimate the future criminals they are going to have to incarcerate is the literacy rates of their elementary school students. Reading scores slipping? Well, we need to build more prisons. Don’t believe that books can save your child’s life? Read on…" He then shares some statistics about social ills that accompany illiteracy (though he doesn't provide sources for his data, so I can't verify the details).
21st Century Literacies
At Literacy, families and learning, Trevor Cairney discusses National Institute of Health research on the impact of new media on young children. He says: "While there are many wonderful benefits of new media, the upshot of the above studies is that too much exposure to 'new' media appears to be harmful." Here's a central part to the article: "experts suggest that language rich environments with lots of interaction with adult caregivers, stimulating opportunities for play and other forms of stimulation to learn, enhance brain development. However, they conclude that in contrast, those that encourage passivity and limit social interaction, creative play and problem solving "...may have deleterious and irrevocable consequences"."
At A Year of Reading, new school librarian (and long-time literacy champion) Franki Sibberson shares a variety of links to articles that stretch her vision for her school library. She's using the articles to help her think through how to create "a space that has something for everyone. A space where students, teachers, parents and community members love to hang out." I think that she's going to be successful.
Grants and Donations
Librarian by Day highlights a donation opportunity, explaining that: the "Louisville Free Public Library was hit by a flash flood caused by a storm that dropped 7 inches of rain in 75 minutes. Damages are estimated at $5 million, their servers, bookmobiles, offices, processing room and more were covered by 6 feet of water."
The First Book Blog reports: "This summer, Joey McIntyre, a member of New Kids on the Block, teamed up with First Book to provide new books to children in need at every stop of NKOTB’s North American tour... At the tour’s conclusion, more than 25,000 books and nearly $30,000 were donated!"
Learn-gasm lists 100 Best Blogs for Librarians of the Future. Link via @librariansview.