The early March 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 is now available here. Over the past couple of weeks Terry Doherty, Carol Rasco and I have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; and suggestions for growing bookworms.
I know that Carol just had her end of month roundup on Sunday, and normally we like to space things out a bit more. But there's simply too much time-sensitive news to wait until next week. And scarcely any overlap. Happy reading!
This week's roundup is quite heavy on events. There is a ridiculous amount going on in the world of books and literacy this month. Because there's so much, I haven't even tried to touch on other March celebrations, like Women's History Month (link goes to a neat effort by two kidlit bloggers). Although we've mentioned some of these reading-related events in past roundups, it gets a bit confusing with so many days dedicated to reading. So we're providing a quick summary again.
Today, March 2nd, Dr. Seuss's birthday, the NEA is celebrating Read Across America Day. You can find a great Seussville resources page at Random House. As the site explains, "Across the country, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too! Incorporate these guides and activities to celebrate reading with young people." [Image credit: Seussville]
On March 3rd, people in the UK and Ireland will be celebrating World Book Day. We've already highlighted special events taking place at Tidy Books (a campaign to give books to people in Africa) and Playing by the Book (a Librarithon). According to the World Book Day website, "World Book Day was designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and is marked in over 100 countries around the globe. The origins of the day we now celebrate in the UK and Ireland come from Catalonia, where roses and books were given as gifts to loved ones on St. George’s Day – a tradition started over 90 years ago."
March 7-11 is the Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour, an annual collaborative venue to share ideas and celebrate everything reading has to offer our kids. This year's theme is Unwrapping the Gift of Literacy. You can find a sneak peek here. I'll have more news about Share a Story as events unfold. [SAS logo created by Elizabeth O. Dulemba]
On March 9th, LitWorld is celebrating World Read Aloud Day. Their website explains: "World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology." They'll have a submission form on their site on March 9th, so that you can log minutes spent reading. You can also register on the site now to join the movement.
In honor of both Read Across America Day and World Read Aloud Day, Book Blog Fun is having a book club / reading event / contest to promote literacy. From an email from Lauri Chandler: "From March 2nd to 9th read with your kids, cousins, brothers, sisters, teachers and friends. Post a comment on our blog and let us know who you are reading with and you will be entered to win a copy of Mo Willem’s new Elephant & Piggie book, I Broke My Trunk! One winner will be chosen at random (name picked out of hat) from all those who post a comment on our blog from 3/2-3/9." They'll also be reading another Elephant & Piggie book, Are You Ready to Play Outside, as a book club pick, and welcome your feedback in the discussion.
Via The Big Thrill, an email newsletter from the International Thriller Writers' association, I learned about the Save the Libraries program, started by author Karin Slaughter to "spread the word about the needs for community support for public libraries." According to the newsletter, "The first Save the Libraries event, scheduled for March 12, 2011, will raise funds for the DeKalb County (GA) Public Library system. On that date fellow writers Mary Kay Andrews – who writes the Callahan Garrity mystery series as Kathy Hogan Trocheck – and Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help, will join Slaughter at the Decatur Public Library in Decatur, Ga., for “A Mysterious Evening.”"
And, looking forward, Drop Everything And Read (D.E.A.R.) Day will be celebrated in the US on April 12th, Beverly Cleary's birthday. More on that closer to the time.
Bottom line: you might as well just plan to read aloud with a child every day in March. Then you'll be sure not to miss any of these celebrations! And once you get in the habit of reading with a child every day, you'll be all set for D.E.A.R. Day in April, and all the months ahead.
Literacy Programs and Research
Reach Out and Read had a big announcement last week. "Until recently, the school readiness experts at Reach Out and Read handled literacy-related questions from pediatricians and parents of children with disabilities on a case-by-case basis. But, thanks to a partnership with CVS Caremark and their All Kids Can program, dedicated to serving the needs of children with disabilities, that’s no longer the case. A new Developmental Disability Literacy Promotion Guide is now being piloted at 57 community hospitals and clinics in Kansas City, Cleveland, and Philadelphia. The guide provides reading tips, recommended books, and literacy milestones for children with seven different disabilities: Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Cerebral Palsy (CP), Hearing Loss, Intellectual Disabilities, Speech and Language Problems, and Vision Loss."
I love local literacy efforts that quietly focus on bringing books to kids. Therefore, I was pleased to see this Lehigh Valley Morning Call story by Kathy Lauer-Williams about how nonprofit Judith's Reading Room donated a cart containing 566 children's books to the new children's emergency room at Lehigh Valley Hospital. "Judith’s Reading Room promotes “Freedom Through Literature” by providing custom libraries to nonprofit organizations that serve people who, for any reason, have limited or no access to literature." (via Jenny Schwartzberg)
I also enjoyed another article that Jenny sent me, about how a Philadelphia nonprofit called Children's Literacy Initiative is using a federal grant to help build classrooms that help kids to master reading skills before they leave 3rd grade. The article describes a reading-friendly classroom that I so wish all third graders could experience!
At Quiet: The Blog, Susan Cain and her guest contributor Royan Lee share some interesting thoughts regarding the power of using social media in the classroom to help introverted kids. Let's just say that I identified with the example that Royan gave of a girl who was very quiet in the classroom, but became much more confident and talkative on social media.
Suggestions for Growing Bookworms
The Early Childhood School Library Blog had a nice post last week about Building a Read Aloud Time. Nancy Jo Lambert (my new Twitter friend) shares a program for building up the amount of read-aloud time for preschoolers as they get older. She adds: "If you haven’t been reading aloud to your child and they are anywhere between the ages of 0-6 years old, it is never too late to start!", and she strongly recommends reading with each child individually when you have more than one child. (via @ReadAloudDad)
Melissa Taylor has a lovely guest post at Imagination Soup by Robin Merrill called "Why I Read Poetry to My Toddler." Here's a quick snippet (but do read the whole thing): "By reading him poems, I am introducing him to words that I would not normally use in the daily grind. By reading him poems, I am putting surprising images, sounds, and ideas beside one another and challenging him to make connections in his little brain. I hope that I am helping him learn to communicate, learn to understand, learn to think, and learn to love language the way that I do. And we are having fun while we do it!"
And finally, if you are looking to grow bookworms, you should head straight over to the 8th issue of Literacy Lava, a free PDF magazine created to help parents with their kids' reading, writing, and communicating. Creator/editor Susan Stephenson says: "In this eighth edition, you’ll find suggestions for developing plot in Writing Tips for Kids, storytelling as a way to bring literacy front and centre in kids’ lives, how to get kids reading, ... , great tips for a toddler book club, ideas for encouraging creative thinking in children, and how to help kids collect words." I especially enjoyed Stacey Loscalzo's article about shared reading time between siblings of different ages, and how older kids can benefit from picture books even as toddler s can benefit from hearing chapter books. But all of the articles are great - full of useful, hands-on tips, book recommendations, and activities.
Thanks for reading the roundup, and for your interest in Children's Literacy! We'll be skipping the mid-month roundup this month, because Terry will be sharing plenty of literacy news as part of Share a Story - Shape a Future. But I expect Carol to be back at the end of the month with a look back, and a look forward to literacy-related events for April.