Welcome to the mid-January children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, and Rasco from RIF. Because there was so much going on at the beginning of the month, we waited to publish our first roundup of the year until now. But not to worry, Terry Doherty, Carol Rasco, and I collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related news. In fact, because we ended up with so much news to share, we had to divide the roundup into two parts. Terry shared part 1 at The Reading Tub yesterday, with information about literacy-related events, some literacy program news, and Unwrapping Literacy. Part 2 is now available here, with more news about literacy and reading programs and research, as well as various suggestions for growing bookworms.
Literacy Programs and Research
Jenny Schwartzberg sent us the link to an article by Denise Smith Amos about a nice home-grown program: a Cincinnati-area girl collects children's books from her friends, and shares them with kids who need them. I liked this bit: ""I was surprised at how excited the children were when they were receiving a single book," McKenna said. "Normally I just go to a bookstore when I want a new book. It looked like I gave them a million dollars by just giving them a single book."" This one made me feel a tiny bit guilty about Baby Bookworm's positively bountiful library...
Sarah @TheReadingZone brought to our attention a CNN.com opinion piece about the benefits of play-based over skills-based learning for kids of all ages. Erika Christakis and Nicholas Christakis say: "we wonder why play is not encouraged in educational periods later in the developmental life of young people -- giving kids more practice as they get closer to the ages of our students. Why do this? One of the best predictors of school success is the ability to control impulses. Children who can control their impulse to be the center of the universe, and -- relatedly -- who can assume the perspective of another person, are better equipped to learn." They give several examples of how play-based learning helps with this. And apparently the question of play is a hot topic right now, because the New York Times just ran a piece proclaiming that the movement to restore children's playtime is gaining momentum. (via @ReachOutAndReadNY) [Image credit: manicmorff from MorgueFile]
Via @ReachOutAndRead we found a fascinating article about a new study on infant language development. When brand new babies heard the same brief sound spoken by their mothers and by a nurse, their brains reacted in completely different ways. "The work, published this week in the journal Cerebral Cortex, adds to growing understanding of how infants start to learn language from the minute they are born." How cool is that?
Here's one with a tangential relationship to literacy: Parentella references a recent NPR report and includes a transcript of a #PTCHAT about the impact of texting on our children's social skills. Literacy is a bit part of communication and the links to this CNN article about texting and teen/adult disconnect and related topics may be of interest.
Know a great literacy teacher? It's not to late to nominate him or her for the Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year Award, via the National Center for Family Literacy (deadline January 31st, the person's program director has to actually fill out the form). Thanks to @CuedSpeech for the link.
Suggestions for Growing Bookworms
Read Aloud Dad has only been blogging for about 4 months now, but he's already one of our go-to sites. And clearly a kindred spirit. In a mid-December post he shared The Three Most Important Words when Reading Aloud, with some spot-on advice. There's also a nice comment from @TessasDad about creating and stocking a reading nook. We also liked The Secret To How To Become A Read-Aloud Ninja.
This one is a bit of a stretch as literacy news, but I liked it so much that I had to include it. At The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller responds to a recent New York Times piece about the current passion for dystopian literature by many young adults. Donalyn offers her thoughts, derived from years of experience in talking with kids about books, saying: "My students love these books because they love good stories. Action-packed battles between good and evil forces, strange, futuristic worlds, protagonists who fight for what's right when the adults in their lives can't or won't--it's great storytelling stuff. Reading dystopian books brings excitement and adventure into my students' boring, routine lives." And really, isn't that what it's all about? Finding great storytelling, in whatever genre, that makes kids excited about reading. [Image is of recent Printz winner Ship Breaker, by Paulo Bacigalupi]
While some of us may be looking ahead to having an iPad, others are using iPods in wonderful, unexpected ways! In the Canby (Oregon) school district, several classes of fourth- and fifth- graders are using them to help with reading aloud. District Says iPods Fire Up Kids for Reading (The World) opens with a wonderful example of an iPod and reader at work. [We'd love to include quotes, but the prohibitions are pretty strict!] [Via @Bob_Books and @HawaiiBookBlog]
Maria Burel has a nice Examiner.com article with five quick suggestions on how to be a literacy mentor at home. I like the little "hooks" that Maria uses before each of her suggestions. Click through to see what she means by "Just Keep Swimming" and "Sing a Song of Sixpence".
Aaron Mead recently interviewed Elizabeth Kennedy, who runs About.com's children's book blog, about children's books and literacy. I especially liked Elizabeth's answer to Aaron's closing question. "Q: If you were standing on a soapbox full of children’s books, what would you say to your audience? EK: Read to your child every day. It’s a gift that will last a lifetime. Get a library card and use it weekly. Support public libraries. Be a reader yourself and discuss what you are reading and what your children are reading with them." Straight up and to the point, everything you need to know!
Terry is bemoaning the fact that she didn't see Betsy Bird's wonderful article Planet App: Kids' Books Apps are Everywhere before asking the question Does Everything Have to Have a Screen? Leave it to the librarians. Huzzah! [Thanks to the January 8, 2011 edition of the Big Fresh for the link]
And that's all the literacy news for today. Carol will be back towards the end of the month with more children's literacy and reading news and a look forward to February. Happy reading!