The Eleventh Plague: Jeff Hirsch
Louis the Tiger Who Came From the Sea: Michal Kozlowski

Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup: End of August Edition

JkrROUNDUP The end of August Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup is brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, The Family Bookshelf, and Rasco from RIF, and is now available at Rasco from RIF. Over the month of July, Carol Rasco, Terry Doherty, and I have collected content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; and suggestions for growing bookworms. Carol has put everything together this week in a jam-packed roundup.

The-Dot1She starts, appropriately enough for an east coast resident, by discussing the recent earthquake and hurricane, with poetry as well as links for parents to help discuss quakes and major storms. Moving on, Carol has the scoop on a bevy of upcoming events, from International Dot Day (I should have saved my review of Polka-dot Fixes Kindergarten) to the National Book Festival to Babar's 80th birthday.

Carol has a few interesting tidbits on the literacy and reading programs and research front, too. Like the article from Valerie Strauss at The Answer Sheet in The Washington Post: “Are 21st century 5-year-olds cognitively ready to read? and the FIVE CHANGES EVERY SCHOOL SHOULD MAKE, according to a Duke University professor. Carol closes with a video that reminds us all of the power of words. But do go and read the whole post.

I ran across a couple of other interesting articles yesterday in the NCTE Inbox newsletter:

  • Keith Oatley has an article in the Huffington Post Books section about studies that he's worked on that find that reading fiction is good for people. A recent study concludes: "It looked as if reading fiction increased empathy and social understanding, not that socially skilled people read more fiction. Raymond Mar and two other colleagues also did a study on preschool children, and found that the more stories the children had read to them, and the more movies they watched, the better was their understanding of others. Watching television had no such effect." Fascinating. And intuitive, I think. I'm pretty sure that reading fiction has affected my capability for empathy, dating all the way back to A Little Princess
  • Another study that I thought was interesting was outlined in a Fox News Children's Health article (original work published in the journal Cognitive Science) about how toddlers are able to understand more complex grammar than previously thought. Also "children can use grammar to help them work out the meaning of new words, particularly those that don't correspond to concrete objects such as 'know' and 'love'". Neat, I think!

In a related vein, Carol shared an article on Facebook that I (parent of a toddler) found interesting. Time Healthland published an article by Linda Park about what makes some preschools better than others. The gist, according to a recent Science article by Vanderbilt Professor David Dickinson, is that: "when preschool teachers engage children more in interactive conversations that require the youngsters to think and respond creatively, they go on to develop a more advanced vocabulary by kindergarten, which in turn translates to stronger reading and expressive skills by fourth grade." Presumably, one can also work to do this more at home, too.

And that's all for today. Terry will be back in a couple of weeks with the mid-September children's literacy and reading news roundup. Thanks for reading, and for caring about children's literacy.