Here is some children's literacy and reading news from around the wires.
According to this Telegraph article by Richard Alleyne, "Browsing the internet is better than reading books for boosting the brain power of middle-aged and older adults, new research has found... Brain scans showed that going online stimulated larger parts of the brain than the relatively passive activity of reading a novel or non-fiction book." Seems to me it depends on the book, and on what you're browsing on the Internet. But I do buy that deciding which link to click for more information is more active than reading a straight through. Thanks to the International Reading Association blog for the link.
And, according to a Sydney Morning Herald article by Julie Robotham (this one also discovered via the IRA blog), "as much as 70 per cent of reading aptitude is inherited. The logical conclusion of that finding, based on research by Professor Brian Byrne from the University of New England, is that specific techniques to teach reading - the subject of an interminable argument between proponents of rival phonics and whole-language approaches - can make only a modest difference to most children."
Parenting.com has a short article by Melody Warnic with tips for reading with active babies. For example, "Stack books like blocks, or put them in a wagon to pull into another room. The more your baby interacts with books as playthings, the more she'll enjoy discovering what's inside." Thanks to Cheryl Rainfield for the link.
WBZ (Boston radio) had a brief report this week by Paula Ebben about keeping boys interested in books and reading. "Jeffrey Wilhelm is one of the nation's leading experts on males and literacy. He says often, writing is just plain "vanilla", and that can make it tougher to keep boys as interested in reading as girls... Now publishers like Scholastic are using research as a springboard to create a new generation of books geared toward boys, using blood, guts, gore, even bathroom humor to give boys something they want to read."
According to a Staunton News Leader (Virginia) article by Brad Zinn, a Waynesboro police officer named Mark Kearney has started a literacy program called "Book 'Em". Their slogan is "buy a book and stop a crook." The idea is to create a base for kids and get them reading, and that this will reduce the later chance that the kids will drop out of school and get into trouble. The organization just held their fifth annual Book 'Em event to encourage children to read.
Looks like it was a good week for First Book. According to LiteracyNews.com, "The 2008 Back to School Book Donation will make available more than 300,000 new Random House books, which will be distributed nationally (by First Book) to schools, libraries and literacy organizations serving low-income youth." Another news release reports that "Eight O'Clock® Coffee Co. is teaming up with Candlewick Press to contribute up to 8,000 books to First Book."
In the UK, "Poetry is being "frozen" out of school timetables because of the demands of tests and Government inspections, according to Michael Rosen, the Children's Laureate." Graeme Paton has the details in this Telegraph article. "The comments came as the National Literacy Trust - a charity promoting reading among children - warned many publishers were now failing to produce new poetry books because of a lack of demand from schools."
Finally, if you need more reading news, check out Terry's October 15th Reading Round-Up at the Reading Tub blog. Happy reading!