Here is some recent children's literacy and reading news from around the wires:
- Jennifer Schultz wrote a great post last week at the Kiddosphere about National Library Week. She discusses places in the world where books are brought to children on camels, and links to an article about the "various ways books are brought to isolated communities around the world." This definitely gives some perspective on how lucky we are in our library access in the U.S.
- Via the International Reading Association blog, I found a fun article from the Greenville News by Nathaniel Cary about the Limos for Learning program, a five-year-old reading rewards program by which children are given limo rides and a celebratory lunch to celebrate their achievement of reading goals. "Betsy Ross, president of Limos for Learning, started the program because as a pharmacist, she saw many patients who couldn’t read their own health-care materials. Early intervention was the key, she said."
- The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle has a short article by James Hawver about a recent event by which "members of the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester raided the children's section (of Borders) Sunday afternoon, walking away with $4,000 in free reads. The giveaway was sponsored by First Book, an organization that helps children from low-income families read and own their first new books." The program was clearly a huge success.
- ArkCity.net has an article by Sally Burr about a teacher who received a grant for a project to help fifth grade students become better readers. " When Jefferson teacher Tamara Cassidy attended a reading conference last October and learned of a content-area Reader's Theatre kit, she recognized its potential to improve reading scores and turn kids on to reading. The only obstacle was the $325 price tag. Enter the Arkansas City Public Schools Enhancement Fund with an invitation to teachers to apply for a Great Ideas Grants and the rest is history." This program has also been quite successful in making reading more fun for kids.
- The Log Cabin Democrat has an article by Monica Hooper about the "Fourth Annual Awards Ceremony for the Conway Bookcase Project", a program that gives preschoolers their own books and oak bookcases. The idea is to start the kids on a lifetime of reading, and give them pride in their ownership of books.
- This press release about the role of mothers in raising readers caught my eye. "On May 11 -- the day of celebrating the mothers in our lives and all they do for us -- the National Center for Family Literacy is encouraging moms to renew their commitment to making reading a daily habit for the family. “Those fond times spent in a rocking chair reading with your mom are more than memories,” said Sharon Darling, president & founder of the National Center for Family Literacy. “They are critical for children’s future academic success. That’s right, your performance on tests and in school is greatly influenced by your mother’s education level and involvement in your schooling.”" I just hope they do an initiative like this for Father's Day, too.
- The Arizona Republic has an article by Mark Ryan about the role of television and the Internet in raising literacy levels. The article includes observations like this: "Researchers have noted that there appears to be an overlap between children's pre-reading television viewership and their skill base in reading. For example, when it comes to word knowledge, the kind of programming a preschooler watches can really augment his or her vocabulary." But he does add this: "Remember, parents (and grandparents!) are a child's most important teachers. Use the visual arts via the Internet and TV and ongoing interaction about what you are seeing to promote literacy." Seems to me that more time spent reading books together is still the best thing, but I'm sure there are ways to use television and the Internet to support literacy efforts, too.
And that's it for this week. Happy reading!