More (Indirect) Evidence in Favor of Reading with Young Children
WBBT: Tuesday

Children's Literacy Round-Up: Marc Brown, Family Reading, and a Literacy Pig

Here is this week's children's literacy and reading-related news from the wires. There's considerable focus on family literacy and on parents reading with children, which seems to me a good thing.

  • Cheryl Rainfield sent me the link to a press release about the launch of this year's Literacy Foundation Gift of Reading program in Quebec. The release urges people: "To participate in The Gift of Reading(R): go to one of the many collection sites that support the cause, including 150 bookstores and seven book fairs in Quebec. Buy a book there for a child aged 0-12, ask for the Gift of Reading(R) bag and slip your present into it! Don't forget to write a word of encouragement to the child on the dedication sticker and fill out the project postcard."
  • Read All About It has an article about "Paul Minor, also known as Farmer Minor, (who) travels the country with his pot-bellied pig Daisy to encourage reading. The two visit libraries, where he reads from a surprisingly large list of pig-themed stories." What I say is, whatever gets kids' attention and shows reading in a positive light is a good thing.
  • I don't remember exactly how I found this one, but the National Center for Family Literacy (thanks to funding from Houghton Mifflin) recently released: Cultivating Readers: A Magazine for Parents. According to the website: "This parent-friendly magazine ... provides effective and easy strategies for promoting reading throughout a child's early years. The booklet includes activities for parents of children" of various ages. It's a 12-page booklet available for free PDF download. It's not very detailed, but I think it's worth a look.
  • In a related opinion piece in the Courier-Journal (Lousiville, KY), Sharon Darling (President and Founder of the National Center for Family Literacy) asks families to use today to jump-start literacy practices in the home. She has some specific examples, links, and literacy statistics.
  • Literacy News reports that "the KN Karen Neuburger® lifestyle brand ( has commissioned Kelton Research, a leading public opinion company, to conduct a national family reading survey... The result, fewer families are making time to read together at bedtime." The survey reports that parents "admit to reading to their children less often than their own parents read to them when they were young", and points a finger at increased television-watching.
  • The Salt Lake Tribune has a feature article by Brian Maffly about Room to Read founder John Wood. "Room to Read, based in San Francisco, ... has raised $42 million to date and has established nearly 4,000 libraries and distributed millions of books (to developing countries). The organization's goal is to provide educational infrastructure for 10 million kids by 2020 by running its operations like a high-growth start-up business." Room to Read is launching a new chapter in Utah.
  • According to the Times Online (and widely reported elsewhere), a new report by the University of Cambridge found that "The millions of pounds spent attempting to raise the standard of English in primary schools has had almost no impact on children’s reading skills ... (and that) Pupils feel anxious about school tests and are losing their love of reading in the drive to improve literacy levels."
  • Central Michigan University just held a children's literacy event. According to The Morning Sun, "Kids got free books, free snacks and goody bags with things like coloring books inside. They also had a chance to read to dogs, listen to 10- year-old Reese Haller, the author of "Fred the Mouse," and make any manner of things at arts and crafts tables."
  • A Children's Literacy and Arts festival was scheduled for this past weekend in Santa Clarita Valley. According to The Signal, "The free family-oriented event is sponsored by the SCV Chamber Education Foundation and is expected to draw more than 1,000 visitors for a six-hour program of storytelling, crafts, book-related activities, music and performances... The Children's Literacy & Arts Festival is a new community event introduced this year by the Education Foundation to instill a love of reading and the arts."
  • According to a November 3rd press release, "To promote early literacy among Los Angeles County children ages 5 and younger, First 5 LA, with the participation of First 5 LA Commissioner Corina Villaraigosa, today launched the "Read Early, Read Aloud" public awareness campaign at the annual Festival of Readers at Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar. Parents are being encouraged to read aloud to their children, participate in literacy events and consider books when choosing gifts for children during the holidays and other special occasions." See also a Daily News story on the same topic.
  • The Tribune Chronicle has an article about Marc Brown's speech to launch "the Trumbull County Educational Service Center’s annual literacy conference Saturday morning at Lakeview High School. It was the 15th year for the event that focuses on achievement in reading and writing." Brown talked about the importance of reading, and how "children’s books are also ways to effectively teach writing on into high school or for parents to spend quality time with their kids."
  • The Peoria Journal Star has an article about a new "Family Reading Night" organized by the Spoon River College Literacy Project "in partnership with libraries and schools throughout the area to encourage families to take time out for reading... The idea is to spend time reading together and to discover what a great habit "family reading time" can be."

Happy reading to all!