The Edge of the Forest, March Edition
The Zoo: Suzy Lee

Children's Literacy Round-Up: March 13

Here's the children's literacy news that caught my eye this week. There was a lot to choose from, with World Book Day and all.

  • Via Kids Lit, the 2006 James Patterson PageTurner Awards were announced. Thirty-nine winners will receive cash prizes totaling $500,000. From the press release: "From the Washington Center for the Book in Seattle, who started the breakthrough – and now widespread – "One Book" program, to the nonprofit organization 826 National, which works tirelessly to encourage creativity in children of all ages by providing enthralling reading and writing experiences, this year's winners come from 34 cities in 23 states, and their amazing efforts reach as far as troops stationed in the Middle East and underprivileged children in Botswana, Africa."
  • As has already been widely reported, March 2nd was Dr. Seuss's birthday, and the day declared Read Across America Day. Here is one article about celebrations in Pittsboro, North Carolina. Here's a quote about the celebrations: "The intended message of the day was that reading is fun and kids who read, and who are read to, do better in school." Sounds good to me! And here's another article about celebrations the Montgomery County Public School system.
  • And here's an article at Halifax Today (UK) about how local students celebrated World Book Day. At Riverside School, Hebden Bridge, children are dressing up as characters from books and comic books, and there's a book fair. "Head teacher Janet Widdas said the children and staff have enjoyed the special week. It has been fantastic and it is great to see the children so enthusiastic about reading.""
  • The Zaneville (Ohio) Time-Recorder published a nice article recently about how kids benefit when their parents introduce them to books. According to the article, "Reading Is Fundamental uses U.S. Census Bureau research that reveals about 50 percent of children ages 1 to 5 were read to seven or more times in the previous week. For children in families living below the poverty line, that number drops to 41 percent." The author, Meghane E. Moravcik of the Arizona Republic urges parents to try for more reading aloud.
  • There's an article in the Press Enterprise, with pictures, about a 17-year-old from Corona High School in Riverside, CA who reads books to kids at a local homeless shelter. "Anna (Dewey)'s weekly visits are part of Building a Bridge to a Better World Through Books, a literacy program she created at the shelter about a year ago."
  • For another literacy program, see this article from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, about the Pittsburgh area For the Love of Books program. "For the Love of Books is a program through the Mon Valley Education Consortium that allows classrooms from low-income school districts to participate in a field trip to a local Borders store. During their visit, students meet a local children's author or illustrator who reads their book and talks about what it means to be a writer. Students are also given a tour of the book store and are assisted with picking out their own book to take home with them as part of the field trip."
  • The Chronicle-Herald of Halifax, Nova Scotia has an article about how growing up with poverty and low literacy skills puts people at higher risk of health problems as adults. Dr. John Frank, scientific director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research population and public health branch, is extensively quoted.
  • The Jefferson County Public Library (in Colorado) just announced a new children's literacy program, named after a long-time county librarian Bill Knott. "Colorado's children are scoring way below basic reading levels, particularly those with limited resources. Knott's Kids is designed to create excitement for reading and learning," said Knott (in the article). "From my experience, it is this excitement that will push children to want to find out more."
  • A press release in the Logan, Utah Herald-Journal announced that "Utah State University early childhood education professor Ray Reutzel has received the school’s 2007 D. Wynne Thorne Research Award for his work on children’s literacy.... Reutzel’s research focuses on evidence-based reading and writing instruction and teacher knowledge assessment. To date, he has generated $2 million in external grant support for literacy assessment and instruction research. In addition, he recently developed and implemented approaches to improve reading instruction, particularly in rural and under-served schools in Utah."

And there you have it. A range of stories centered on literacy and encouraging kids to love books. Happy reading to all!