There are lots of children's literacy and reading related stories out and about this week, especially from the Canadian press. Here are some highlights:
- According to a recent press release, the Las Vegas Gladiators (from the Arena Football League) held a children's book drive at their May 6th game, accepting donations of new and gently read books, and offering discounted admission in return. I like it when sports figures promote reading and literacy, because I think they have a particular ability to influence boys with the notion that reading is important.
- Rhonda Lee has a feature article in the Muskogee Phoenix (Oklahoma) about a special reading program for preschoolers called the “Curious? Read! Curious George Reading Program.” in April organizers "read Curious George books and did activities to help our children on their journey to literacy (the ability to read and write)." The article also discusses a Cherokee man in Oklahoma who created the first written version of the Cherokee language.
- Jennifer Neville has an excellent editorial in the Pembroke Daily Observer (Ontario, Canada) about the importance of literacy. She repeatedly urges parents to read to their children, saying things like "Reading to them every day for 15 minutes even when they are a year old can promote a love of reading, as well as enhance their cognitive skills."
- The San Diego Union Tribune has an article by David Hasemyer about the recent Race for Literacy Kids Magic Mile event, in which kids raced to raise money for reading programs throughout the county. My favorite part is a quote by 11-year-old Riley Hanson, who said that he ran because “Everybody should be able to read.”
- Children were given free books at their local mall as part of Washington County Reading Day, according to an article by Pepper Ballard in the Herald-Mail. "Washington County Free Library librarians and volunteers stocked tables in the center of the mall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with books to give out to children, who mostly were elementary-school age. More than 1,000 books were handed out, said Kathleen O'Connell, the library's assistant director."
- The First Book Blog has an article about what one community group did with Borders gift cards received from First Book. "The Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and Head Start program in Tacoma, WA purchased the old favorite Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina, for all of the young students in their program. Not only are the children reading the books and then taking them home, the instructors are introducing creative activities that bring the story’s lessons to life."
- May 6th to 12th is Reading is Fundamental (RIF) week. In this press release, Rhea Perlman, this year's honorary RIF Week chairwoman, offers her tips for making reading fun. She starts with "Have fun reading. If you enjoy reading, your children will more likely enjoy it too ... like sports or music."
- The Lindsay Daily Post (Canada) has an article by Catherine Whitnall about this summer's expansion of local literacy camps in the metro Toronto area. "Launched to help increase student literacy rates and improve EQAO results, the program complements other summer programs available."
- The Prince Edward Island Guardian is hosting a book drive for literacy. According to the article by Katie Smith, the goal is to raise $10,000, and use the money to spread books across the Island. I think that L. M. Montgomery would be pleased.
- An article in the Willamsport Sun-Gazette (Pennsylvania) by Alissa Eaton describes a new literacy program that appears to be following the example of the Reach Out and Read program. "The Lycoming County Library System is launching a new program, “Read to Your Bunny,” that focuses on getting parents to read more to their children. The program consists of providing waiting rooms of physicians, pediatrics, family practice doctors and obstetricians with children’s books and colorful wall posters."
Have you run across any news stories about programs that promote children's literacy, or encourage kids to love books? I hope so, because this is important stuff. Together, all of these people quietly working away to help kids to love books and reading are making the world a better place.