This Blog's for You: Ten of the Best from Betsy Bird
Wednesday Afternoon Visits: November 4: Kidlitosphere News and Views

Children's Literacy Round-Up: November 2

Jpg_book008 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.


Halloween Saturday, of course, was Halloween. One of my favorite blogger holiday traditions is by Camille from Book Moot. She always asks trick-or-treaters about their favorite books, before giving out candy. Here are this year's results.

November is Family Literacy month! November 1 is National Family Literacy Day, but we can celebrate every day. shows you what to do with 5 simple steps. The National Endowment for Financial Education also has a nice article about how to incorporate financial literacy in your activities and discussions. We also found, via tweet from @helainebecker, the Boston Herald's fourth annual Celebrating Family Literacy Month page (link goes to PDF), filled with activities to help families foster a love of learning. Helaine also shared a link to free resources from the National Center for Family Literacy.

Tuesday, November 3rd is Reading is Fundamental's 43rd birthday. We especially enjoyed this post at Rasco from RIF, in which Carol Rasco shares the winners of the RIF Birthday Photo Contest.

Literacy & Reading Programs & Research

A new Booktrust survey in the UK says that although 96% of kids say they enjoy books, "
one in 20 homes has fewer than 10 books, and those with boys tend to have fewer than those with girls. The research also suggested parents and carers with boys were less likely to read with them than they were with girls." The BBC News story (which we found via @HelaineBecker) also reports that "57% of parents and carers agreed that their child now spends more time playing video or computer games and watching DVDs than reading books." Sigh!

Hometown News recently published a feature article by Samantha Joseph about a woman, Betty Mulligan, who retired from teaching, only to find herself starting a children's literacy program. "
Ms. Mulligan started her latest venture as a volunteer at Caring Children Clothing Children or 4Cs, a charity that provides free clothing to children from low-income families. The charity has provided more than 5,300 children with just under 32,200 articles or clothing and 5,400 pairs of shoes this year. But the retired teacher was interested in helping to build its literacy corner, handing out free books to children who came in to "shop" with their parents."

DadSonReading shared an article about the Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED) program in Colorado. "FRED is a four-week program originally designed by Texas A&M University to encourage fathers to read with their children every day. Dads are asked to read with their children for 15 minutes a day during the first two weeks of the month and 30 minutes a day during the second two weeks of the month. By filling out a reading log and pre and post-program surveys on, dads will be entered into a drawing to receive free books or gift certificates to local bookstores. Fathers can also find links to appropriate books and literacy tips on the Colorado Dads Web site." While we've written about FRED before, we liked this article, which includes specific tips for dads reading with kids of different ages.

Ryan Carter at The Record-Herald recently reported on an innovative Ohio competition between school districts. "The county's focus this week is on the Miami Trace-Washington C.H. football game as the traditional rivals slug it out on the field Friday. However, there is another competition brewing between Fayette County's two school districts. This competition doesn't involve helmets and shoulder pads but rather literacy and education. It's a book drive and the two districts are calling it the "Black & Blue Kickoff for Literacy.""

Doret from TheHappyNappyBookseller clued me in to an interesting piece of news this weekend. Edi at Crazy Quilts reported "The Strengthening Kids’ Interest in Learning and Libraries Act, or the SKILLs Act, was re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week with support from both sides of the aisle. This legislation is intended to ensure that all students will have the support and resources they need for a quality education by establishing a goal that all public school libraries employ no less than one highly qualified school library media specialist."

Little Willow is passing on delzey's request for input from male readers ages 8 to 19. In her post at Bildungsroman, she explains that delzey is a graduate student contucting an informal survey which is, essentially 3 questions: What plots and stories are you tired of seeing in fiction? What can make you close a book within the first three pages? What sort of things make a book or character feel fake? The more males who participate, the stronger we can make their reading voice. Here's the link to the survey query at Fomagram, Delzey's blog.

21st Century Literacies

Lauren Barack recently reported in School Library Journal's Extra Helping that "Librarians and media specialists are secretly saying "I told you so" about the Walt Disney Company’s decision to issue a full refund on the Baby Einstein videos that parents have bought by the millions over the last five years. While stopping short of admitting that the 30-minute videos, which often feature classical music or introductory sign language lessons, didn’t turn babies into geniuses, the extensive refund offer from Baby Einstein does acknowledge a growing dissatisfaction and skepticism among researchers, educators, and certainly parents, that the DVDs are unlikely to speed up developmental pathways among infants."

At Literacy is Priceless, Anna Batchelder shared a 21st century update to a 1998 article by Jim Burke on Reading Rockets titled, "103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading". She said of Burke's article, "rest assured, the recommendations are still 100% relevant. That said, I thought it would be useful to create a supplement to Jim’s article that includes a few ideas on how recent software and web applications can be used to get kids excited and thinking about what they read Before/During/After a book!"

Booklights Last week at Booklights, Terry wrote a great post for parents about using a digital recorder to record and share books with kids when parents are traveling. She said: "Ultimately, this is an easy, fun way to get in that daily dose of read aloud. Any book that is fun to read together is perfect. The sound of your voice is what makes it special. In sharing a recorded book with a child, you are enriching their world. Not only are you giving them wonderful memories, you are helping them grow as readers. Because the recorders are portable, kids aren't tied to their computer or their boom box and they can carry that little bit of love with them anywhere!"

Grants and Donations

The First Book blog has a post by Greg P. about how volunteers from Barclays Capital recently donated 2000 books to the North Star Academy in Newark, NJ. The volunteers also spent a morning reading with first-grade students. Describing the event, Greg said "The intellect and enthusiasm of the students blew us away, and the incredible devotion of the teachers and staff members was obvious. The North Star students already shine, and with Barclays generously providing more resources to these curious, motivated learners, their futures are brighter still."

Speaking of First Book, we also found a Paramus Post article by Mel Fabrikant that said that "Jaguar Land Rover North America and the Tata group of companies in the United States announced a donation of 10,000 books to children throughout New Jersey as part of the companies’ partnership with First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books to children in need. Representatives from the premium-niche luxury automobile company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Tata Sons Limited, will gather today with the first graders of Jackson Avenue Elementary School to kick off the first distribution of 1,000 new books."

The Success Won't Wait blog recently reported receiving a donation of 1000 new children's books from WilBooks. Success Won’t Wait "is a not for profit literacy program based in Wilmington, Delaware. The organization’s mission is to encourage reading, particularly by children, and services Delaware and the surrounding states." The donation will help the organization to "further our mission and fulfill the needs of the local community!"

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that "The Queensland government has pledged $500,000 in new funding for a literacy program for indigenous children in the state's far north... The funding also provided books for the readers and encouraged parents to read to children from the day they are born".

Terry_readingtubfinal_1Terry will likely have a last-minute link or two at The Reading Tub. I also have a new article available today at Booklights. It's the start of new series that I'm going to post over there on Tips for Growing Bookworms. It won't surprise any of my regular readers that Tip #1 is to Read Aloud.

Wishing you all a book-filled National Family Literacy month.