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 plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; and grants, sponsorships & donations. We've also been posting other news items throughout the week in our Del.ic.ious feeds and Between the Roundups Widget (see more detail about those here). I'll have some additional (non-overlapping) raising readers links in my Literacy 'Lights from the Kidlitosphere post at Booklights today.
Terry and I would both like to say Happy Blog Birthday to Rasco from RIF. We can't believe that one of our favorite sources for children's literacy news has only been around for a year. We look forward to many more discussions with Carol Rasco and the RIF crew.
The Peterborough library is going to the dogs ... and Terry, for one, is wishing she could be there. From Oct 5 to Oct 9, kids who participate in a series of reading workshops will get help from some canine friends. The workshops are part of Children’s Book Week, an event organized to promote primary school children’s passion for reading. Canine-themed activities will take place all over the city during the week. Two paws up for the news article in the Evening Telegraph!
I, of course, remain more excited about programs that unite books and baseball. So I was happy to find this press release via Twitter (originally posted by @EverybodyWins): "Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids today announced the release of a special Kevin Youkilis Hits for Kids edition of Curious George at the Baseball Game, in partnership with global education leader Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. "I am excited to partner with my little buddy Curious George," said Boston Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis. "The Curious George books were a big part of both my childhood and my wife Enza's. We are thrilled to team up with this beloved monkey whose curiosity for learning, and charming, inquisitive nature inspires children everywhere to explore their world."" Love it!!
Resource Shelf reported last week in detail on the official launch of Read.gov, a site from the Library of Congress designed "to encourage the reading of books and to interest users in learning about the authors and illustrators who create them." The Exquisite Corpse Adventure (a continuing story designed to encourage reading, to be published online over the next year, and which I talked about last Wednesday) is also included. Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg from Jenny's Wonderland of Books for the link.
Speaking of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, ReadingRockets and AdLit.org have come up with a plan to use the ECA as a prompt for a 2009-2010 writing challenge. "The Reading Rockets and AdLit.org Exquisite Prompt challenge is an activity that gives K-12 students a chance each month (October through June) to flex their writing muscles with writing prompts — and win fabulous prizes! The prompts are inspired by the 18 authors and illustrators participating in the Exquisite Corpse Adventure." Denise Johnson has more details at The Joy of Children's Literature.
The results are in from First Book's What Book Got You Hooked campaign. An email that I received from First Book said: "more than 289,500 votes were cast, thanks to the enthusiastic support of friends like you who helped spread the word near and far. And even more exciting is this that year's winning state, Hawaii, cast more than 90,000 votes to win a distribution of 50,000 new books! Our congratulations go out to the Aloha State! Programs serving kids in need in the state which are registered with First Book will be eligible to participate in the book distribution which will take place in the coming months. We'll be announcing the list of America's favorite books early next week, so please stay tuned!". I actually voted for Hawaii, so I was extra-happy with the outcome.
It's over now, but we learned from the October 4th Book Dads Weekend Wander that The Great Children's Read was held yesterday in New York City. Here's the scoop (from the website): "The New York Times has partnered with children’s libraries from the three public library systems of New York City — Brooklyn Public Library, The New York Public Library and Queens Library — to establish the list of Favorite Read-Aloud Stories. Celebrities from film, TV, community and Broadway will read from the 20 books on the list live at the Great Children’s Read! Please click here to see the full schedule."
At Through the Looking Glass Book Review, has a reminder about Jumpstart's Read for the Record event. "On October 8th people all over America will be reading Eric Carle's book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Consider holding an event in a local school, business or library to raise awareness about literacy issues, and to raise money so that Jumpstart can put books into the hands of children."
Literacy & Reading Programs & Research
Avast matey! Before you think Terry has gone off the deep end ... she found a neat story about a couple in Utah who want every Utah elementary school (emphasis Terry) to have the same reading experience that Municipal Elementary in Roy is enjoying this week -- inside a pirate-themed bookmobile; a semi-trailer with walls lined with thousands of books. John and Lynn Bergmann want to expand the Small Smiles Reading Program statewide. Children reading below grade level get to keep one book of their choice when the bookmobile visits a school. You can read a feature story about the bookmobile here.
Terry also found this feature story from the Calgary Herald. Tamara Gignac writes about a Calgary literacy program that helped a father to give his daughter the gift of reading. It's always nice to see success stories that stem from literacy programs (and from caring parents, of course).
TeacherNinja Jim Randolph linked in his Friday Roundup to a truly inspirational NPR story (Produced for Morning Edition by Vanara Taing) about a school librarian who went far beyond the call of duty to find the right books to engage "a rather troubled high school senior". Olly Neal is now a lawyer, and credits librarian Mildred Grady for changing his life back in the 50's. After Neal (embarrassed to check out a book) stole a book from the library, a book by an African-American author, Grady and her colleague scoured other library systems for books that would appeal to him, and left them on the same shelf. He thought that he was stealing (and returning) the books, but in fact, they were feeding him a life-long appreciation for books. Great story!
Speaking of efforts to engage boys in reading, Katie B's Odds and Bookends column from First Book linked to a Philadelphia Inquirer story by Rita Giordano about a school that created posters of local men with their favorite books. The school printed up t-shirts saying: "Real men read". "That's the name of a campaign started last school year at Glassboro's Thomas E. Bowe School to locally address a national concern - boys falling behind academically, particularly in literacy." The program has apparently been a big success. I especially like how they've involved "local heroes - teachers, district employees, police officers, community and government leaders, all men the students see around school and town." What a good example of the "it takes a village" approach.
The StatesmanJournal.com (Oregon) reports, in a story by Tamra Goettsch, on local initiatives aimed at encouraging early literacy. For example: "The purpose of the Lending Library kit is to encourage early literacy among the children in child care and to promote literacy within the child's home. Kits include 50 books for young readers, tote bags for young readers to borrow books overnight and a video that helps parents understand the importance of reading. In addition to the books and totes, each kit includes multiple resources to aid child care providers in fostering emergent reading skills among infants, toddlers and preschoolers and to encourage families to actively participate in their child's literacy development."
"Comic Book Literacy" is an independent documentary film that showcases the utilization of comic books to promote literacy and education. Throughout the film educators, researchers, writers and artists give commentary in both an historic and contemporary context on a variety of subjects related to the topic. (Link via email to Terry from the Director/Producer)
21st Century Literacies
In an upcoming free webinar, Michelle R. Davis (senior writer for Education Week's Digital Directions) will be moderating discussions about E-Learning's Role When Emergencies Strike. Although "Swine Flu" is the grabber, in an email, Education Week emphasizes that "[e-learning] tactics are also being considered for use when hurricanes, snow, or other situations prompt school closings." The Webinar will take place Thursday, 8 October 2009 beginning 2 PM (ET). An archived version of the event will be available within 24 hours for those who cannot participate.
Bobbi L. Newman, who blogs at Librarian by Day, has been giving a lot of thought to translitercay, which Wikipedia defines as "the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks." In this post, Bobbi writes about why she believes that libraries need to focus more on transliteracy. She also has a libraries and transliteracy slideshow. Although not directly children's literacy focused, Bobbi's posts highlight the ways that reading affect many aspects of our lives. Thus this idea has relevance for everyone thinking about 21st Century Literacies.
At Literacy is Priceless, Anna Batchelder has an interesting post about digital storytelling. She suggests: "If you are looking for a project to build your students’ communication and digital literacy skills, why not have them participate in a digital storytelling project?!" She then offers "“How to make a Digital Story” in a nutshell".
We wrote a few weeks back about the private high planning to remove all of the books from the school library. This weekend, Brian Kenney, Editor-in-Chief of School Library Journal, shares an open letter to the parents of the school's students enumerating the problems with implementing a bookless library now. He says: "Librarians also work to develop a love of reading in students that leads to increased literacy skills. We do this by encouraging free or voluntary reading—reading because you want to." He then outlines why that's not going to happen in a paperless environment today: "I don’t know where the millions of books he claims your children can access will come from. Yes, you can assemble a limited collection of ebooks, mainly nonfiction, which will support the curriculum. But the books freely available on the Internet—like those scanned through the Google Books Library Project—are largely classics or they’re old, obscure, and scholarly tomes." I believe that we linked back in September to Mary Pearson's post on this topic. She tweeted this weekend to mention that commenters on her post supported Brian Kenney's views on this, too.
Grants and Donations
In a post on her Sirona Cares blog, Michelle Lacourciere wrote about an effort to create a tri-lingual library for the Mission of Hope School in Haiti. Her effort has turned into a community project, with people purchasing books online and five seniors at a French School in San Francisco organizing a community service project for their class. As a result, French Books are flooding in for the children's library.
The First R Foundation, which encourages children to read by having community leaders read to kindergartners and first-graders in local schools, has raised the money to match the $3,000 donation challenge from a Wingaersheek resident. With the matching grant, the organization will be able to realize one of its collective dreams: give a copy of the book being read in schools to each and every one of the children in those classes. (via Gloucester Times) [Side note, this news item made me smile, because I remember as a teen going to Wingaersheek Beach.]
That's all I have for you today. But Terry will likely round up a few last-minute items this morning at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub (ETA: here they are). And I'll have some additional links, more focused on how parents can help to encourage young readers, at Booklights. Thanks for reading, and for your interest in children's literacy and love of books.