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

JkrROUNDUPWelcome to the mid-September children's literacy and reading news roundup, brought to you by Carol Rasco from Quietly, Terry Doherty from The Family Bookshelf, and me. I have a couple of literacy and reading-related events today, a couple of article about literacy programs and research studies, and a whole host of posts with suggestions / thoughts for growing bookworms. Thanks for stopping by! 

Literacy and Reading-Related Events

RIF_Primary_VerticalIn case you missed the news release that I posted this week, RIF has launched a new initiative to promote science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) via their multicultural book collection program. The news is well worth a look (and features several quotes from our own Carol Rasco). 

ThrilledThe literacy-themed PBS Kids show WordGirl launched a new season this week. WordGirl's word of the month for September is "thrilled". 2 1/2 year old Baby Bookworm is still not watching any television to speak of, but I have started DVRing WordGirl episodes for when the time is right. 

The Library of Congress' 2012 National Book Festival will take place September 22nd and 23rd in Washington, DC. Here is some information that their media people sent to me:

"This year's event features an impressive author lineup and family activities that will delight book fanatics of all ages. Here's a sneak peak at what this year's festival has to offer:

Famous children's authors, readings, and book signings. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to meet and get books signed by your favorite authors. Avi, Michael Grant, Natalie Babbit, Bob Balaban, James Dashner, Peter Brown, Anna Dewdney, Mary Pope Osborn, Jewel, Patricia Polacco, Laura Amy Schlitz, Jerry Spinelli, Philip C. & Erin E. Stead, and David Ezra Stein will all be at the festival!

Family activities. Kids can celebrate Clifford the Big Red Dog at his 50th birthday party, take their photo with PBS Kids characters like Arthur and Curious George, play with Lego Duplo bricks in the Read & Build area, color art on the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, and sing and dance in Target's Family Storytelling Stage Pavilion."

And while not exactly a literacy event, we did want to share the news that Wednesday, September 19th, is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. We were reminded of this event by a post at the ESSL Children's Literature Blog, where the librarians suggest a number of resources to use in preparing for this important event. Argh!

Literacy and Reading Programs and Research

Over at A Fuse #8 Production, Betsy Bird recently highlighted a Boston organization that really ought to have been on my radar, The Foundation for Children's Books. Betsy says:

"this organization is particularly keen since they “bring acclaimed children’s book authors and illustrators into underserved K-8 schools in Boston for visits and workshops focused on writing and illustration.”  Folks like Barbara O’Connor, Grace Lin, Mitali Perkins, Bryan Collier, and many many more.  From what I hear, this year they’re hoping to expand their work in six schools, increase the number of donated books they bring to each school, and start a “Books for Breakfast” professional development series in Boston classrooms where they focus on particular “libraries” of new books–for example, “great non-fiction for 4th and 5th graders,” and then donate the books that they highlight to those classrooms."

But do click through to the rest of this week's FuseNews. I especially liked the photos of a railcar converted to a library. 

At Waking Brain Cells, Tasha Saecker shares shares (and comments upon) the results of a recent National Literacy Trust survey of the reading habits of 21,000 UK kids and teens. Tasha notes: "What I find most troubling about the survey results is that one in five children said that they rarely or never read in their own time." She also shares a great quote from the director of the National Literacy Trust: "We need to make reading irresistible. We want to call on families and professionals working with children and young people to make ten minutes in their day for reading." Indeed!

Suggestions for Growing Bookworms

My friend Liz sent me the link to a nice article by Regan McMahon at CommonSense Media about How to Raise a Reader. While not ground-breaking, McMahon's article provides a concise, parent-friendly summary of tips. Like: "Feed the favorite-author addiction: Once your kids finds a writer they love, they may want to read all of his or her books -- a great excuse for a trip to the library or an opportunity for book swapping among friends and classmates."

I found this recent Washington Post article by Nancy Carlsson-Paige thought-provoking. Carlsson-Paige, a guest in Valerie Strauss' column, asks "Is technology sapping children's creativity?". While she notes that there is not yet much research available on the long-term effect of kids' use of devices, there are some things that we do know, and can extrapolate. She discusses the importance of play (real, three-dimensional play), and the impact of screen time on relationships. Without the article being at all didactic, Carlsson-Paige made me want to put my iPhone out of reach a bit more when I'm with Baby Bookworm. (Discovered via a post on the NCBLA blog).

Speaking of the ways that our behavior influences our children, I liked this Telegraph article by Anita Singh about author Charlie Higson's advice to parents. "Charlie Higson, writer of the Young Bond spy series and The Enemy zombie saga, says parents should look at their own reading habits if their offspring rarely pick up a book." I've always been conscious of this, but I do want to be careful to let my daughter see me reading physical books, not just on my Kindle or phone. 

Terry found this one. The lovely blog Growing Book by Book has started a monthly interview series featuring "a variety of people who know a whole lot about literacy." At the end of August, Jodie interviewed Tracy Reynolds, an early childhood educator who is currently working at home, encouraging her four sons to love books. Tracy shares a number of thoughts and suggestions related to promoting literacy in the home, for kids ranging from babies to teens. 

Speaking of literacy in the home, Choice Literacy shared the news in last weekend's newsletter, the Big Fresh, that Read-Aloud Handbook author Jim Trelease has out out some brochures on reading. Nonprofit organizations can request permission to print these out and share them with parents. This issue of the Big Fresh also linked to a nice article by Franki Sibberson about building fluency with books that are fun for kids to read aloud over and over and over again

Finally, at Literacy, families, and learning, Trevor H. Cairney shares Eight Ways Reading Helps Writing. He says: "After 30+ years reading the research of others and doing my own research as well, I can conclude that if a child is read to, and eventually begins to read themselves, that there will be an influence on writing." Then he gets into the specifics. Well worth a read. 

And don't forget to register for KidLitCon if you are planning on going. The deadline to register for the precon (Friday) portion of the event is TODAY. 

That's all that we have for you today. Carol will be back with a September wrap-up at the end of the month. And in the meantime, we'll be sharing reading-related news on Twitter @CHRasco, @TheReadingTub, and @JensBookPage. Thanks for reading, and for caring about children's literacy. 

This post © 2012 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.