Welcome to the latest children's literacy and reading news roundup, brought to you by Carol Rasco from RIF and Quietly, Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub and The Family Bookshelf, and me, right here at Jen Robinson's Book Page. There's been a lot ongoing and is a lot upcoming in the world of children's literature and literacy. Here are some highlights.
Literacy and Reading-Related Events
The 2012 Cybils Winners were announced this week, of course. This is always a big event for children's book bloggers, and for the authors, teachers, and libraries who rely on their recommendations, but we've all written and tweeted and Facebooked about it extensively already.
International Book Giving Day was also this week. I participated by buying two books for my daughter from our wish list, and by sending two copies of The Pigeon Wants a Puppy to an elementary school classroom in a high poverty area of Lowell, MA (through a beta of a nonprofit that I'll tell you about later). I'm pretty sure that the latter will have considerably more impact than the former.
The NEA's Read Across America Day is coming on March 1st. Read Across America Day is "an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss. NEA’s Read Across America also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers, and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year."
March 6th, on the other hand, is World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by LitWorld. "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." On the Read Aloud Day blog, staff members have been sharing favorite read-aloud stories.
The fifth annual Share A Story - Shape a Future literacy-themed blog event is scheduled for March 4th - 8th. Share A Story is "a blog-to-blog experience so we can build a community of readers, one person at a time."
This year's theme is Literacy the First Five Years. Organizer Terry Doherty is looking for hosts and guest bloggers. Details are here.
Drop Everything and Read Day, celebrated in honor of Beverly Cleary's birthday, is coming up April 12th. But we'll tell you more about that next month.
Zoe Toft just announced the Second Annual Edible Book Festival at Playing by the Book. Bruce Ingman is this year's festival patron. The idea is to create an edible version of a book, and submit a photo of said book to Zoe by March 20th. Sounds like fun! I look forward to seeing the photos.
And to close this events section, two tidbits to brighten the day of any children's literature fan, both via @PWKidsBookshelf:
- An elementary school in New York City is being named after Maurice Sendak, reports Rocco Staino in the Huffington Post.
- Syd Hoff's home in Miami Beach has been declared a historic literary landmark. (Article in the Miami Herald).
Literacy and Reading Programs and Research
Here's a neat announcement from Publisher's Weekly: "First Book, which provides new books to children in need, has announced the launch of its OMG (Offering More Great) Books initiative. The nonprofit will spend $500,000 on books featuring minorities, characters of color, and others whose experiences will resonate with the children the organization serves."
The African Literacy Project delivered it's one millionth book this month. According to Alia Wilson in the San Jose Mercury News, "United by a passion for books and reading, volunteers across the nation have made it possible for the African Library Project to deliver its one millionth book this month. Founded by a Portola Valley woman in 2005, the nonprofit group was created to increase literacy in a country whose population has the highest percentage of illiteracy in the world."
Speaking of Libraries, author Terry Deary made a doozy of a statement to his local council in Sunderland, England. As reported by Alison Flood in The Guardian, Deary declares libraries "no longer relevant", and that "People have to make the choice to buy books". His position seems to be that libraries hurt authors, publishers, and bookstores, by giving people the expectation that books should be free, even as these same people willingly pay for other forms of entertainment, such as movies. It seems to me that he needs to take a longer term view. As a child, I lived in my local library, reading hundreds and hundreds of books to which I wouldn't have had access otherwise. Now, as an adult, I love books. And because I love books (wait for it) ... I BUY books. Practically every day. But I'll leave you to read the Guardian article, and form your own rebuttals. (Via Susan Stephenson, a devout proponent of libraries).
Gary Schmidt's OKAY FOR NOW (one of my absolute favorites, just released in paperback) is the NPR Back Seat Book Club selection for late Feburary. Readers are asked to submit questions for Schmidt on the NPR website.
Suggestions for Growing Bookworms
I found (via NCLE SmartBrief) a post by Elena Aquilar at Edutopia on Ten Ways to Cultivate a Love of Reading in Students. Though the list is focused on teachers, there are also suggestions for hour administrators and parents can help. For example, Aguilar suggests taking students on field trips to "your local library, a university library or a bookstore", and that "parents can organize and administrators can support or encourage". There are additional tips from teachers in the comments.
On Squeetus this week, Shannon Hale shared a guest post by "first grade teacher, literacy specialist, and all around fab lady Kirsten Wilcox" on strategies for parents to help beginning and struggling readers. There are some good ideas, and some additional tips from readers in the comments.
This is an article from November, but I just discovered it via tweet from @ReadAloudDad. Teri Harman shares tips for reading aloud to children with special needs, such as autism, for KSL.com (a Utah television station). The tips are brief but practical. Harman also includes some suggested read-aloud titles.
At Growing Book by Book, Jodie shares thoughts on how music and literacy can complement one another. Like this: "Music is a great way to build literacy skills. Rhyming, syllable recognition, phoneme substitution, word recognition, listening, fluency, and intonation are just a few areas that can be practiced through music." She includes resources and book / song recommendations.
Trevor Cairney has had two exceptionally useful posts at Literacy, famililes, and learning this month:
- Why Older Readers Should Read Picture Books. This is a revised version of a post that Trevor wrote in 2010 and highlights what he sees as "four myths about picture books." Like this: "Myth 1 - 'Picture books are easier than chapter books'. While some are simple, they can have very complex vocabulary and syntax." But do read the whole thing. Personally, I would be devastated if my daughter stopped reading picture books at the age of four.
- Developing Comprehension in the Preschool Years. Trevor recaps four phases (defined by Caitlin McMunn Dooley) in the emerging comprehension of 2-5 year olds, and alos provides 10 simple tips that parents can use "to help comprehension emerge." As parent to an almost-three-year-old, I found this very useful stuff.
And that's all we have for you today. But Carol will be back towards March 1st with the end of Feburary roundup. And we'll continue to share literacy news as we find it @JensBookPage, @ReadingTub, and @CHRasco. Thanks for reading, and for caring about children's literacy.
This post © 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.