Congratulations Katherine Paterson
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Children's Literacy Round-Up: March 17

Today we have a St. Patrick's Day round-up of community literacy activities.

  • The Baltimore Chapter of the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc., (TLOD) just held it's second "Boys and Girls Booked on Barber and Beauty Shops" event, to help spark interest in reading. During the event "local community role model read to kids at a successful encourage boys and girls to read more." After the readings, children each have the opportunity to select a book to take home. I read about this in a Baltimore Times article by Janine Guerrier-Smith.
  • The Washington Times had a March 13th article by Jen Waters about the Everybody Wins! DC program, a nonprofit organization that began in 1995 to promote children's literacy. Under this program, about 1400 adults volunteer to read with children during lunch hour, directly helping the children with their reading, and also influencing the kids to have more positive associations with books. In another part of the program, "professional storytellers give group presentations designed to excite children about reading... The students take home books related to the program, to help increase their home libraries." The article has lots of great quotes from the children and from the program mentors.
  • I learned from a link on the A Fuse #8 Production blog (a new blog by a New York City children's librarian, and one that I like a lot) about a new program by which the US and Egypt are working together to provide libraries of Arabic and English titles to all of Egypt's 38,000 public schools (700 books per school). You can read the full article, by Sarah Gauch, in the Christian Science Monitor online. This program will involve a huge logistical effort, but I applaud the goal "to encourage children to read in a country where few have access to books and a quarter of adults are illiterate."
  • The UK's National Literacy Trust (a charity dedicated to promoting literacy) is auctioning off an edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4), signed by numerous cast members (including the actors who play Harry, Ron, and Hermione). Proceeds from the auction will support Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), a program that offers free books to children in disadvantaged areas of the country. You can see a press release about the auction here.
  • The San Juan Islander had a story on March 16th about the San Juan Reading Foundation Literary Partnership. The article discusses reasons why reading to your child for 20 minutes per day is beneficial, and includes a nice list of tips on "raising a reader". Nothing really new in the list, but a nice reminder about the importance of reading with children. I especially like the title of the article "Read 20 minutes a day, produce lifelong advantages."

Happy St. Patrick's Day! -- Jen