Partials: Dan Wells
Wonder: R. J. Palacio

Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup: Mid-June

JkrROUNDUPWelcome to the mid-June edition of the Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book PageThe Family Bookshelf, and Quietly. We focus this week in our events section on Summer Reading. We also have a couple of tidbits about literacy and reading programs and research. No specific suggestions for growing bookworms this time around - we figured that the focus on Summer Reading should be sufficient. Thanks for tuning in!

Literacy & Reading-Related Events

Red_logoSummer Reading: A reader of my Growing Bookworms newsletter asked me the other day if I had any suggestions for summer reading programs for her 5-8 year old kids. She was looking for something where they would track what they read, and possibly get prizes, with the general idea being to help keep the kids excited about reading over the summer. I suggested that she check out her local library (which turned out to have a neat program in place), and also try the Scholastic Summer Challenge. I brought the question to my networks on Twitter and Facebook, and received several other suggestions (I'm only listing national programs here - there are of course many local programs, too):

  • Barnes and Noble offers kids a free book if they read 8 books and document them in a reading journal. I would have been all over this program as a kid.
  • Showcase Cinemas is hosting Bookworm Wednesdays. At select screenings of children's movies on Wednesdays, kids can get in free if they bring a book report. "Accompanying parents or guardians and children under six years of age receive free admission and do not need to submit a book report." While I have mixed feelings about kids getting prizes for reading* (because for me reading has always been its own reward), I do like the phrase "Bookworm Wednesdays". Do they show movies made from books, I wonder? Because that would be cool.
  • Though not technically a summer reading program, the new kid-focused online book sharing site BiblioNasium gives kids age 6-12 a place to track what they've read, and share with their peers. They also offer some awards and gift certificates for reading. I knew about BiblioNasium, but @LibrarianDee suggested it in this context. Teachers can sign up their classes, and parents can sign up their kids individually. Also for teachers, the We Are Teachers site has links to a variety of articles to help teachers help keep their students reading and learning over the summer (via @BriteEyes49).

I also ran across a neat Summer Reading initiative for teens via Bookshelves of DoomSYNC, a collaborative effort, is providing 2 free audiobooks for teens during each week of the summer. They are pairing new young adult books with classic fiction. This week, for example, listeners can download  The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Some of the other pairings are quite entertaining.

RR Start with a Book BoatAnother great site for summer reading ideas is the new Reading Rockets Start with a Book site, where parents can find books recommended according to 24 kid-friendly themes. The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance has a nice overview of the new site.

*For more on the question of whether or not to include prizes in summer reading programs, see Stephen Krashen's thoughts at the Schools Matter blog. Krashen says: "Research consistently shows that rewarding people for activities that are inherently pleasurable can result in less interest in doing the activity. Rewards send the message that the activity is not pleasurable and nobody would do it without a bribe." I found this post via Tiny Tips for Library Fun, where librarian Marge Loch-Wouters muses on the use of prizes at her library.

In other reading-related events:

  • Images (3)RIF's Be Book Smart campaign will run from June 22nd to July 31st. Anyone who donates $3 to RIF will receive $10 off of a $50 purchase at Macy's. This campaign should hopefully have a big impact on helping RIF to reach their goal of giving a million books to kids.
  • Speaking of contributions to RIF, participants in MotherReader's 2012 48 Hour Book Challenge pledged a total of $1220 to RIF. Now that's Book People Uniting to make a difference!
  • The Summer Blog Blast Tour took place this week. The SBBT is an organized, cross-blog series of author interviews. Unlike other blog tours, which tend to end up providing the same information in a bunch of places, the SBBT features different bloggers interviewing different authors. You can find the master schedule for the 2012 SBBT at Colleen Mondor's blog, Chasing Ray.
  • Just in time for summer, Zoe at Playing by the Book has been collecting recommendations/reviews from a variety of bloggers for books about the seaside. She has a lovely collection of titles ranging from picture books on up. It's not too late to submit your reviews. Next month's topic will be books about space.
  • Are you going to ALA in Anaheim later this month? Mary Ann Scheuer asked me to help spread the word about the Middle Grade Meet-Up that the folks from Walden Pond Press are hosting. Mary Ann has all of the details at her blog, Great Kid Books. Also from Mary Ann, some great lists of recommended summer reads, by grade, in handy printable PDF format.
  • For the 100th episode of her podcast interview show, Brain Burps About Books, Katie Davis interviewed all 3 National Ambassadors of Young People's Literature. Current Ambassador Walter Dean Myers spoke about the motivation behind his "Reading is not optional" platform. You can find the show here.
  • Monica Edinger reports on Maurice Sendak's memorial service at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Literacy Programs and Research

I enjoyed this piece by Justin Minkel in Education Week Teacher about "The 1000 Books Project" that Minkel undertook with his second and third class. He says: " Each of the 25 children in my class received 40 books over the course of 2nd and 3rd grade, for a total of 1,000 new books in their homes. The project was simple to launch. Scholastic donated 20 books per child, and I purchased the other 20 through a combination of my own funds, support from individuals and local organizations, and bonus points." Then he talks about the impact that these home libraries had on his students, and the larger implications for our educational system. Minkel concludes with a simple truth: "To help kids develop a love of reading, put great books in their hands. Then watch in amazement as their worlds change."

Via Tasha Saecker at Waking Brain Cells. "The Guardian has news of a British survey by ICM and the Fatherhood Institute on behalf of Booktrust (a UK charity gives free books to children).  The study was done with more than 500 parents of infants participating. They found that 64% of parents were not reading to their babies at 7 months old and that 57% did not own a single book." Sigh! The happier part of the story is that the families who received books from Booktrust did start reading with their kids. Further evidence, should anyone need it, that a) book distribution programs are necessary; and b) book distribution programs work.

That's all for today. Carol will be back at the beginning of July with more children's literacy and reading news. And, of course, we'll be sharing literacy links on Twitter in the meantime @CHRasco@readingtub, and @JensBookPage. Thanks for reading, and for caring about children's literacy!