Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: June 21: #SchoolLibrarians, #SummerReading + ReadingChoice: All Important

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookAccess, #Dyslexia, #FreeRangeKids, #GraphicNovels, #GrowingBookworms, #HungerGames, #ReadingChallenges, #ReadingChoice, #SchoolLibrarians, #SummerReading, #SummerSlide, #testing, #ViewpointDiversity, conversation, learning, play, and publishing. 

Top Tweet of the Week

GameChangerIf Kids Can’t Read What They Want in the Summer, When Can They? | Excellent op-ed from @donalynbooks @sljournal on why kids need choice in #SummerReading to develop #LoveOfBooks | Please share w/ #teachers you know


On the Importance of Learning to Argue - @HdxAcademy "In order to flourish (as a society), we must engage in truly #CivilDiscourse" | #ViewpointDiversity #conversation

ListeningLeaderAm I Listening? – #SchoolPrincipal @ritaplatt shares her efforts to cultivate a Listening #Mindset @ReadByExample | I think anyone could benefit from working to improve #listening skills

Events, Programs + Research

New research finds: Thinking About Their Own Multiple Identities Boosts Children’s Creativity + Problem-Solving Skills – @Psych_Writer @ResearchDigest @sarahegaither #FlexibleThinking

The #GlobalReadAloud and integrating w/ a #Literacy Curriculum | #GRA19 @pernilleripp #ReadAloud

A Core Subgroup of Believers Don’t Just Think #LearningStyles Are Real, But Also Inherited + Hard-Wired In The Brain – @mattbwarren @ResearchDigest | Seems counter to #GrowthMindset | @pritirshah

Growing Bookworms

DogManFleasThis post will bring a tear to the eye of people who care about kids + #reading | Dog Man to The Rescue: How #BookAccess Saved My 3rd Grade Student by #SchoolLibrarian @RaisingReal @nerdybookclub

#NoSummerSlide Week 3 from @TheReadingTub – Goal Getters Edition | Encourage kids to think about things they want to do over the summer while building #literacy

The Purpose of reading…What is your reading offer part 2. | @smithsmm on things #schools need to do to create readers, w/ deep dive on purposes kids may have for #reading

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

MatildaMy Favourite Villains by @ClaireFayers @AwfullyBigBlog | Who are your favorite fictional villains? I'm with Claire on Matilda's parents. Ugh!

This is interesting: #HungerGames prequel set 64 years earlier coming in 2020 @Scholastic #SuzanneCollins #dystopia #YA

The Adults Voluntarily Giving Themselves #Reading #Homework | @julieebeck on #ReadingChallenges in @TheAtlantic via @MindShiftKQED | Personally, I prefer to read as the spirit moves me. I don't even do #BookClubs

Were Youth Books Truly Diverse in 2018? @lochwouters takes a look at the #publishing statistics | #DiverseBooks #kidlit #DiversityJedi

AlphaBooks for the #Dyslexic Child Reader: Why the British Do It Better — @fuseeight @BarringtonStoke | #publishing #kidlit

Parenting + Play

America Needs More Kids on Bikes - @jasongay @WSJ | "But really the reason I want you to ride a bicycle is this: You’ll be free." #FreeRangeKids #independence

5 Things That Might Be Worse Than #SummerSlide@HonorsGradU reflects on joys of summer that kids might miss by spending their time on mandatory #SummerReading assignments + such

Schools and Libraries

This is a travesty | In a liberal Boston suburb, kindergarten teachers say their students are learning to ‘hate’ school + hate reading, as standards force out play-based #learning @washingtonpost @valeriestrauss

Non-negotiables for #schools - is JOY one of them? | @Jennifer_Hogan

#SchoolLibrarians, is no-one listening? How to help #schools understand our role by @Elizabethutch #GreatSchoolLibraries | Personally, I have loved + appreciated school #librarians since elementary school

A parent who is a African American, lifelong Oakland resident + Democrat shares why she thinks Bernie Sanders is wrong about #CharterSchools in @mercnews

Testing and Grades

Why Can’t Everyone Get A’s? @alfiekohn @nytopinion takes on "the false belief that excellence is a zero-sum game" + the insidiousness of evaluating kids relative to one another #standards #testing #grades

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: June 19: Sending a Young Reader to Summer Camp Edition

JRBPlogo-smallToday, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every three to four weeks.  

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have two posts with my daughter's latest literacy milestones. The first is about writing and revising a personal narrative. The second is about encouraging others (mainly my husband) to read more. I also have a post with tips for parents to encourage kids' summer reading, and another for parents about allowing and encouraging their kids to read graphic novels. Finally, I have a news release from Barnes and Noble with the results of a recent survey on readers' summer reading (and associated screen time reduction) plans.

Since the last newsletter I published four posts with literacy and reading-related links shared over the past few weeks on Twitter. In the interest of brevity, I have not included them in the newsletter. You can find them here: May 24, May 31, June 7, and June 14. I have a summary of our recent reading below. 

Reading Update:  In the last four weeks I finished one middle grade title and eight adult titles (six fiction and two nonfiction). I read/listened to: 

  • WimpyKidHardLuckJeff Kinney: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck. Harry N. Abrams Books. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed May 20, 2019, read aloud to my daughter. I've been enjoying these books, but am ready to take a break to move on to reading something a bit more substantial with my daughter over the summer. 
  • William Kent Krueger: Tamarack County (Cork O'Connor, No. 13). Atria Books. Adult Mystery. Completed May 21, 2019, on MP3. Still good! 
  • Gytha Lodge: She Lies in Wait. Random House. Adult Mystery. Completed May 21, 2019, on Kindle. This is the first book in a new UK-based police procedural, and it quite held my attention. I look forward to future installments. 
  • Daniel H. Pink: When: The Science of Perfect Timing. Riverhead Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed May 23, 2019, on Kindle. This book convinced me to delay drinking my morning caffeine until I've been up for an hour. I found it absorbing, but in looking back don't have a lot of other takeaways at this point. I need to go back and look at my notes.
  • StrangerDiariesElly Griffiths: The Stranger Diaries. HMH Books. Adult Mystery. Completed May 24, 2019, on Kindle. This is an excellent, twisty standalone by Griffiths, author of the Ruth Galloway series (one of my favorites). It's a modern gothic, told from several perspectives, and keeps the reader guessing. 
  • Dana Reinhardt: Tomorrow There Will Be Sun. Pamela Dorman Books. Adult Fiction. Completed May 25, 2019, on Kindle. This is kids and YA Reinhardt's first foray into adult fiction. It's about two families who travel to Mexico to celebrate the 50th birthdays of the two men, long-time business partners, and secrets that are revealed. The end seemed a bit anti-climactic to me, but I am used to more standard mysteries, rather than reading about personal drama. 
  • WhereYouGoBruniFrank Bruni: Where You Go Is Not Who You'll Be. Grand Central Publishing. Adult Nonfiction. Completed May 26, 2019, personal print copy. This book is written for high schoolers and their parents, about the excellent education and quality of life that can be obtained by not stepping onto the elite college admissions hamster wheel. Though this process is still a few years away for my daughter, I still tore through the book. It's one of those titles that I find myself bringing up to other people in conversation. Highly recommended, especially for younger high schoolers. 
  • James Tucker: The Holdouts (Buddy Locke, No. 2). Thomas & Mercer. Adult Mystery/Thriller. Completed May 29, 2019, on Kindle. This is the second (and maybe final) book in  an Amazon-published thrilled series. I didn't find either book plausible, but Tucker has a real knack for keeping the reader turning the pages via cliffhangers. I read this one very quickly. 
  • William Kent Krueger: Windigo Island (Cork O'Connor, No. 14). Atria Books. Adult Mystery. Completed June 4, 2019, on MP3. Still good. I'm going to be caught up with this series soon, and so am taking a break to listen to some other titles in my queue. 

MapOfDaysI'm reading Cracks in the Ivory Tower: The Moral Mess of Higher Education by Jason Brennan and Philip Magness  and listening to A Map of Days (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children, Book 4) by Ransom Riggs. I've re-started reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to my daughter, after I cleverly suggested watching the movie of Order of the Phoenix right before the start of summer vacation. Please no one tell her who the Half-Blood Prince is - she is dying to know, but doesn't really want spoilers. 

AlvinHo2In terms of her own reading, she packed six books to take with her to her five-night sleep-away camp (her first time). I don't imagine she'll get through many (or any?) of them, but she seemed  to find it comforting. I think only two of her selections were graphic novels - the other books were middle grade fiction titles she is either partway through or interested in reading. This included the second Alvin Ho book by Lenore Look and LeUyen Pham, after she tore through the first one in about a day. 

One recent moment that I enjoyed was when we went to an open house at the camp a week before her session. She met another girl who was going to be in her session. They were talking about which sleeping location they hoped to be placed in for camp. I overheard my daughter say:

"I hope we're in (specific unit) because there's a library there. I like to read."

That's my girl! Continuing to define herself as a reader. 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms! 

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Growing Bookworms: In Defense of #GraphicNovels for Kids' #SummerReading

FirstDayOfSummerReadingMiaJust in time for kids' summer reading, I ran across two articles last week defending graphic novels as "real reading." Here I share some notes from those articles together with my response based on my experience with my daughter [pictured on her first morning of summer vacation, as I was trying to get her to rally to leave the house.]

In the first, written two years ago, librarian Molly Wetta at Book Riot shares her Annual Reminder that Graphic Novels are "Real" Reading. As far as I can tell, there's nothing much in this piece that is any less relevant today than it was two years ago. Molly  says:

"I love helping children select books they’re excited to read, and delight in finding them titles based on their own interests and reading tastes. However, without fail, I will encounter parents who are not allowing their children to read graphic novels, or are telling kids these “don’t count.”"

She then shares a number of talking points that she has developed for parents and other caregivers on the literary merit of graphic novels for kids. She also links to some lists of recommended titles (though these will not include the very latest releases, of course). Her arguments about the benefits of graphic novels for visual learners and the way that graphic novels help kids learn to make inferences are well worth a look

The second piece I came across was a recent blog post written by teacher Pernille Ripp titled Not Too Easy - Embracing Graphic Novels at Home. Pernille begins by reminding readers that graphic novels are the biggest reason that her oldest daughter believes in herself as a reader. She notes that despite kids' enthusiasm for graphic novels:

"... one of the biggest push backs in reading also happens to surround graphic novels with many parents and educators lamenting their “easiness.” Within these missives lies a movement to then steer kids away from these “dessert” books and into “harder” reading, or outright banning the reading of graphic novels, telling kids that these books are just for fun, don’t count toward whatever set goal or points, or even confiscating them from kids seen reading them."

In the remainder of her post, she shares reasons why parents should defend their children's reading of graphic novels, and why they are not, in fact, too easy. She notes that in her own experience "it is the pictures that actually add to the sophistication and difficulty of graphic novels because of the skills required to read the images."

LunchLadyReadingThis point meets with my own experience. Not having grown up reading graphic novels, or even as much of a fan of comic books, I find graphic novels difficult to read. I'm much more in my comfort zone reading linear text. When I have to move back and forth between the pictures and text bubbles, and potentially other text from a narrator, I don't know where to put my focus. Although I could certainly enhance my skills in this area, my point is that reading integrated text and pictures is a zone of relative weakness for me as a reader. My daughter, on the other hand, is a master at this. She has been devouring graphic novels since I first slipped Jarrett Krosoczka's Lunch Lady books into her eager hands (about three years ago, see photo to the left). And for what it's worth, despite what remains a primarily graphic novel diet, her standardized test and other reading scores are more than sufficient. 

Pernille also adds, in response to concerns that kids plow through graphic novels too quickly:

"However, here there is one distinction in the habit of many readers of graphic novels; while they may read the graphic novel quickly on the first try, what often happens then is the re-reads of the same graphic novel as they pore over the pages more closely once they have navigated the story once. This process is one that only adds value as their understanding deepens with each re-read." 

This certainly meets with my experience in watching my graphic novel-obsessed daughter. When a new graphic novel lands in her hands (particularly if it is from a series that she already enjoys) she sits down with it immediately and plows through it. She will often finish in less than half an hour. The other day she did this with Red's Planet, Book 2 and suggested to me that I should be borrowing graphic novels instead of purchasing them, since she reads them so quickly.

MegJoBethBut she re-reads them. Sometimes many times. Sometimes many times over a few days (as recently occurred with Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy: A Modern Retelling  of Little Women) and sometimes after a break (Invisible Emmie and companion titles). I find it fascinating to watch as she reads the same book over time, extracting different levels of meaning. Even though she can read them quickly, I consider purchasing these books a worthwhile investment. 

One other point: a commenter on Twitter argued (after I shared Pernille's piece) that a steady diet of graphic novels can harm some kids' ability to be able to visualize on their own. If they are spoon-fed illustrated stories, the argument appears to go, they become less able to make their own pictures when reading non-illustrated texts. I don't know about the research in this area, and I could imagine this being the case for struggling readers. What I do know is that my daughter says that she has no difficulty at all visualizing when she reads standard texts, and that she thinks reading graphic novels and picture books has helped in her case. 

But I am running on. There's lots of other material for parents to help understand the benefits of graphic novels in Pernille's piece. Please do go and read the whole thing, along with Molly Wetta's piece. Take their guidance, together with my family's experience, as you  decide whether or not to encourage your children to read graphic novels this summer. My take is: yes, graphic novels are real reading. They have their own distinct benefits. Most important: kids love them, which bolsters reading choice (and hence reading itself). 

[See also this link to a list of articles defending graphic novels for kids, maintained by Jess Keating.]

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.

News Release: Barnes and Noble Surveys Readers on #SummerReading Plans + Balancing #Reading + #ScreenTime

There's some food for thought in the following press release from Barnes and Noble. They share the results of an online survey of 1,502 adults in the United States who plan to read a book this summer. The sample included 1,001 respondents who are the parents of school-aged children between 6 and 17 years old.

I think it's important to note that this is a sample that is biased towards being pro-reading already. Still, among that sample, the results seem to me to be a mix of encouraging ["70% (of parents) said summer reading for their kids is just as important as reading during the school year"] and depressing [while most parents want their kids to spend some time device free, the bar for that seemed very low, including spending an hour or two offline per day]. News release is below: 

Put Down the Phone, Pick Up a Book:
Most Readers Plan to Break the Electronics Habit
and Focus on Reading This Summer, New Survey Shows

In Push for More Device-Free Time, 9-of-10 Parents Will Ask Their Children to Sign Off to Read, According to Barnes & Noble-Commissioned Independent Study

New York, NY – June 12, 2019 A large majority of American readers (80%) plan to put away their cell phones to focus on reading this summer, according to an independent survey of 1,500 reading adults commissioned by Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world’s largest retail bookseller. Of those expressing the desire to make reading a priority, many have vowed not to look at their phones for between 30 minutes and two hours during each reading session.  


The survey, conducted in early May by the market research company Atomik Research, also showed nearly 90% of parents with children between six- and 17-years old plan to ask their youngsters not to use electronic devices like cell phones and video games during certain periods of time during the summer. Of those, 44% said they want their kids to be device-free for more than three hours; 21% would be happy if their kids were off phones and videos for one-to-two hours a day.

“Parents have high hopes for themselves and their kids when it comes to reading habits this summer,” said Tim Mantel, Executive Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer for Barnes & Noble. “The desire to impose device-free time on themselves and their children was very strong among survey respondents, an indication of the importance of reading across generations.”

In fact, 61% of parents surveyed said summer reading is very important to their families, and 70% said summer reading for their kids is just as important as reading during the school year. In a sign that reading is a shared activity in many households, 69% of parents said their families read together during the summer, with more than half of parents (55%) planning to read the same books as their children this summer so they can have a bonding experience.

Parents also have high expectations of the number of books their children should read this summer, compared with the broader sample.  Of the 1,500 readers surveyed, 38% hope to read one to three books this summer, while 37% hope to read four to six books. Among parents, 35% want their child/children to read four to six books this summer, 26% want them to read 10 or more books, and 25% want them to read one to three books.

What (and How) Will They Be Reading?

Among the full sample of readers, 48% said they plan to read books in the mystery genre this summer, 37% in the history genre, 34% in the fantasy genre and 33% in the science fiction genre.

Sixty-nine percent of summer readers said they will most often read a print book. Nearly a quarter (24%) of summer readers will most often read a book on an electronic device, while seven percent will listen to an audiobook. Of those reading or listening on a device, 34% will use an e-Reader, 34% will use a cell phone and 32% will use a tablet.

In Storytelling, Books Win the Day

The survey also found that when it comes to storytelling, books are favored over movies and television programs hands down. Respondents said that when a television show or movie is based on a book, more than three-quarters (77%) of both summer readers and parents say the book is usually better than television show or movie.

"Even with the amazing technology in modern film-making and the broad variety of television programming, respondents still enjoy the reading experience more in terms of storytelling," Mr. Mantel said.  "The idea of curling up with a good book never loses its appeal."

Research Methodology:

Barnes & Noble commissioned Atomik Research to conduct an online survey of 1,502 adults in the United States who plan to read a book this summer. The sample included 1,001 respondents who are the parents of school-aged children between 6 and 17 years old. The margin of error fell within +/- 3 percentage points, with a confidence interval of 95%. The fieldwork took place from May 7-9, 2019.  Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency.

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: June 14: #GraphicNovels, #SummerReading + the #ToBeWritten List

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this fairly busy week include #BookLists, #FathersDay, #GraphicNovels, #Homeschool, #NoSummerSlide, #PoetryFriday, #PuzzleBooks, #ScreenTime, learning, publishing, reading, research, and testing.

Top Tweet of the Week

RealFriendsGood stuff here! Annual Reminder from @molly_wetta for parents that #GraphicNovels are "Real" Reading |@BookRiot #SummerReading #JoyOfReading

Book Lists

Ten #PictureBooks for #FathersDay | #library display / #BookList suggestions from @abbylibrarian

10 Cozy + Magical #PictureBooks by Megan Wagner Lloyd | @nerdybookclub #BookList

Is there a book about... Jennifer Wharton shares #PictureBook #BookLists for common bibliotherapy requests that #librarians may receive #Adoption #Emotions + lots more

MadLibsBest #PuzzleBooks for Kids: The Perfect Travel Companion, timely #BookList from @momandkiddo | #MadLibs, Mazes + lots more

50+ #YA Paperbacks For 2019 #SummerReading | Detailed + varied #BookList from Kelly Jensen @BookRiot, organized by release date

Do We Expect #Nonfiction to Be Serious? — @fuseeight looks at some of the funnier books of 2019 to see how they do with the challenge | #PictureBooks #GraphicNovels

Educations Research

New research shows lower test scores for 4th graders who use tablets in #schools, but some types of computer use by older #students do help | @jillbarshay @hechingerreport #testing #ScreenTime

Ask the Cognitive Scientist: Should #Teachers Know the Basic #Science of How Children Learn? | Yes, says @DTWillingham in #AmericanEducator

Growing Bookworms / Summer Reading

#NoSummerSlide Week 2 – #FathersDay Ideas for families to enhance #Literacy from @TheReadingTub

Not Too Easy – Embracing #GraphicNovels at Home – thoughts from @pernilleripp on the benefits of visual complexity, re-reading + generally enticing books

There's some fun stuff in @ReadBrightly's #SummerReading Challenge for Kids — 2019 Edition, but I agree w/ @jennifergarry that parents should NOT make #reading a chore

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

HappyKidCan + Should Traditionally Published Authors Market Their E-books? @gail_gauthier has some thoughts + experience w/ this ? | #ebooks #publishing

At Two Writing Teachers, @BethMooreSchool suggests that teachers use a #ToBeWritten List (like a #TBR list) to encourage summer #writing

Are You Book ‘Poly’? asks @ehbluemle @PWKidsBookshelf | Me, I'm usually #reading at least 1 book on Kindle, 1 in print + 1 #audiobook | Sometimes more to mix #fiction + #nonfiction

Ten Unpopular Bookish Opinions from @literacious | I kind of want to get her "All #reading is good reading" (re: kids) put on t-shirts and make people wear them around the neighborhood.

Most Comprehensive Review To Date Finds The Average Person’s #ReadingSpeed Is Slower Than Previously Thought – @mattbwarren @ResearchDigest | Implications for #teachers in declaring "slow readers"?


PeasAndCarrots"When Tanita hugs you" -- I loved this skinny poem by @kellyfineman, but now I want a hug from @tanita_s_davis | #PoetryFriday

Schools and Libraries

This makes sense to me! Why the #School Nurse’s Office Should Have a Well-Stocked #Library by Melissa McDonald and @mrsmelanieroy @nerdybookclub

#Memorization is Not a Bad Thing says @gcouros | Students may not need to memorize dates, but should spend time discussing + #learning implications of events

What's it Like Switching from #Homeschool to #PublicSchool, and why might families do it? @mamasmiles

Why #Homeschool? 10 Great Reasons to Consider #Homeschooling from @mamasmiles | Time, personalization + more

The Secret Source of Lost #Learning + Educator Burnout | Musings from @rickhess99 on the impact of excessive paperwork in #schools


#STEM Tuesday Spin Off @MGBookVillage | Let it Rain STEM! @marykaycarson looks at science, technology, engineering + math re: rain, w/ #kidlit recommendations

© 2019 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage