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Children's Literacy Round-Up: June 1

Here is some recent children's literacy and reading news from around the wires. Is it just me, or are literacy and reading related stories everywhere in the news these days? It's wonderful to see!

  • Via the International Reading Association blog, I found an IRIN news story about a newly launched campaign in Yemen to increase education for girls. "The campaign targets seven out of 21 governorates, in addition to Socotra, Yemen's biggest island in the Indian Ocean. The campaign has been launched through a UNICEF initiative - Business Partnership for Girls' Education - formed in 2006 with private sector partners."
  • has a nice article by Jessie-Lynne Kerr about some second graders who recently dug up a time capsule that they had buried last August containing their reading goals for the school year. The kids also have a reading garden, which several cite as a favorite place. Oh, for all classrooms to have a "reading garden", a quiet, green place where kids can, and do, sit and read.
  • A number of bloggers will be participating in a 24-hour read-a-thon on June 28th, starting at 9:00 am PST. Dewey has the scoop at The Hidden Side of a Leaf. The gist is: "It’s sort of a reading challenge, only everyone participates at the same time. For 24 hours, we read books, post in our blogs about our reading, and visit other readers’ blogs. We also participate in mini-challenges throughout the day." The read-a-thon this year will benefit Reading Is Fundamental (RIF).
  • The Journal-Advocate (Sterling, CO) has an article by Carol Barrett about a four week summer reading program called Fathers Reading Every Day (FRED). "Men who participate will need to read every day with their child, or children, for four weeks beginning June 1. They should keep track of their reading time on the Father’s Guide Log." This program is separate from the library's regular summer reading program, which fathers can also participate in. But I have to say, I love that the program is called FRED.
  • Literacy and Reading News had two stories this week, both posted by Brian Scott, about programs that will give kids money for doing summer reading. First up, "Commerce Bank's Summer Reading Program encourages young people to read and additionally provides a goal for them to learn the importance of saving and money. Commerce contributes $10 into a new or existing young savers account for each child who reads 10 books throughout the summer." Also, "The Read to Succeed Summer Program is being launched today to incentivize elementary-school students to read this summer, earning $1,000 accounts in the CollegeBoundfund. The Program is conducted by Read to Succeed, Inc., a Rhode Island 501 (c) 3 nonprofit corporation founded this year."
  • The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a new article by Sue Corbett about the use of graphic novels in the classroom to draw kids into reading. She says "Comics are infiltrating the schoolhouse like never before because they are reaching that most elusive of creatures -- the reluctant reader. Faced with a generation raised in a visual environment dominated by television, the Internet and electronic games, teachers and librarians have found comics will lure readers -- especially boys -- who have a limited interest in books." Link via Susan from Chicken Spaghetti.
  • Also from the Star-Telegram is an article by Claire Abraham with suggested time travel books for different age ranges, for the local library's "summer time machine" summer reading program.
  • The Cape Cod Times has an article by C.M. Boots-Faubert about the benefits of audiobooks. The author says: "So what is it about audiobooks that make them popular? Part of it is the perception of books as learning tools, and part is probably a question of time; at least that is what has developed in industry surveys. People like to read — they just do not perceive themselves as having the time to devote to reading, and that is where audiobooks have come into their own." Sources for audiobooks are discussed in detail.
  • Also not to be missed is this San Francisco Chronicle article by Jill Tucker about an elementary school's book club. The club ended their first year with a celebration at a local tea room. "After the high tea, the children were scheduled to board a bus for Modern Times, an independent bookstore where they would spend up to $20 each on books - a donation from the Children's Book Project. The stipulation from the organization's anonymous donor was simple: The kids could choose whatever book they wanted, or in short, whatever gave them joy to read." The school librarian "started the book club, knowing some students struggle but find happiness in magical tales of knights with swords, scary ghost stories or mysteries with pint-size detectives."
  • The Salem News (Oregon) has a commentary piece by Juan Carlos Ordóñez, communications director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy, about the erosion in the relative salaries paid to teachers, and the impact that this has on the success of education reform. He concludes: "If we (Oregon) want to attract and retain good teachers, we must make teachers' salaries competitive. Closing the pay gap won't be cheap, but it will be well worth it if we truly want to leave no child behind and make our schools among the nation's best." Via the International Reading Association blog.
  • In Fayetteville, plans are underway to build a reading railroad, according to a Morning News article by Marla Hinkle. "The Reading Railroad will contain plants that are mentioned in children's literature, with a quote from the book near the plant. For example, a Willow tree will be called a "virtual Whomping Willow" as mentioned in Harry Potter books, and a chamomile plant will be identified with a Peter Rabbit reference." How fun is that?
  • In an article by Laura Donnelly and Julie Henry, The Telegraph (UK) reports on a study that found "Sad children do better than happy ones in school". "The research, carried out at the University of Plymouth, found children who were in a negative or neutral mood were more likely to be questioning and critical in their thinking, assisting them in tasks which required close attention. Those who were feeling happy and carefree were more likely to gloss over details and therefore more prone to error."
  • The Tribune-Review (Pittsburgh) has an article by Marilyn Forbes about a program called Books Come Alive, by which theater members from Stage Right perform "at local libraries with the purpose of bringing attention to the joys of reading". "We like to do entertaining and energetic adaptations of children's books with the purpose of encouraging young readers," said Stage Right artistic and Books Come Alive director Anthony Marino. "We hope that the children will enjoy our adaptations of these books and possibly pick up that particular book or another book by that author."
  • The UK Mirror has a lifestyle article by Monica Cafferky about "How to make reading fun and encourage kids to get stuck into a book". The article contains tips from Julia Strong of the National Literacy Trust, such as "Set a good example by reading for pleasure and talk about any other reading you do." Nothing is really new in the article, but it's a nice list of diverse suggestions, all in one place.

Hope you're all able to do lots of reading this weekend!