Children’s Literacy and Reading News – 17 August

Literacy Reading News RoundupWelcome to the weekly children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog. Jen and I collected plenty of content for you about literacy and reading-related events; raising readers; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st Century literacies; and grants, sponsorships and donations. For the first time in a long time, we don’t have any new resources.  We hope you find new and useful information.

national_book_2009 The National Book Festival will be here before we know it. To provide festival-goers with the latest event news and information, the Library of Congress has added a variety of social networking features, including updates through Twitter and Facebook. To receive up-to-the-minute information for this year’s event such as author activities, day-of event details and much more, follow the Library on Twitter (@librarycongress, hashtag #nbf) or become a Fan of the Library on Facebook (

For many of us, seeing our kids off and/or heading back to school is a big event! Some of us are dreading the event, others are counting the days (8).  Denise Johnson has Three Resources for Back to School at the Joy of Children’s Literature. Her newsletter recommendations – The Big Fresh, Reading Rockets, and Curriculum Connections are good all year ’round! See also a couple of nice back-to-school posts at Reading Rumpus! The first is “an exhaustive list of books about getting ready for the very first day of school”. The second is “books to help elementary school children get back into the school spirit.”

everybodywinsWe learned about an upcoming auction in support of one of our Twitter literacy friends (@EverybodyWins). Here are some details from the auction site: “Starting on August 19, 2009, Everybody Wins USA will be auctioning off a number of fun and unique items to bid on to help us reach more children with our Power Lunch reading program – and the more items we have the more money we can raise, so we’re asking for your help.” A sponsor for the auction is another Twitter friend, @MrsPStorytime. (And don’t forget Mrs. P’s children’s writing contest, which begins September 1st. One of the judges is Dave Barry.)

In support of this summer’s United We Serve initiative, and Reach Out and Read (an excellent literacy program by which pediatricians give books to kids), “Wisconsin’s first lady, Jessica Doyle, visited Hirsch Clinic-VMH and read books to a group of children.” You can find more details in this Vernon Broadcaster article by Angela Cina.

Mark your calendar! Eugenia Kim will be hosting this Friday’s LitChat about how culture informs and directs storytelling. Given some of the recent discussions around the blogosphere, this is bound to be a very insightful and engaging. You can participate and/or follow along on Twitter at #litchat. Friday 21 August, 4PM ET.

Before we know it, Banned Books Week will be here (September 26-October 3, 2009). Have you seen the Google Map of Book Bans & Challenges (2007-2009) Thanks to bookshelves of doom and Abby the Librarian for the link.

Raising Readers
first_book In talking about First Book’s What Book Got You Hooked? campaign, Janet Squires went the extra mile … Over at her All About the Books blog, she not only lists some beloved titles and authors, she links you to resources to learn more about the book or author, as well as lesson plan ideas.

A recent study sponsored by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) concludes that there is a direct correlation between a dad’s involvement with his children and school success. It was interesting to me to see what constituted “parental involvement.” Things like winking at your 3-year-old or making a doctor’s appointment for them. (via Literacy and Reading News)

Melissa Taylor reminds us that even when you follow all the suggestions, your child may not like to read.  Melissa’s frustration with her daughter not enjoying reading as much as she does goes to the heart of raising a reader: it’s not going to be on OUR terms! There is no right age or time to fall in love with reading … but you can kill the joy at any age.

shareastorylogo-colorIf you followed along with Share a Story-Shape a Future in March, you probably read Sandra Stile’s article with tips and tricks for helping reluctant readers. Well, as Jen noted in her post last Friday, Sandra’s enthusiasm for reaching and encouraging readers in need is being killed with the academic equivalent of bureaucracy. In her post at Musings of a Book Addict, Sandra is (unfortunately) probably describing a scenario that infiltrates classrooms (Title 1 and otherwise) across the country. There is one bright spot though … “my classroom library is almost as large as our school library and I have more current books. Most books checked out of my room are from students who aren’t even mine. Other teachers send them to my classroom for books. I am glad to oblige them.” Being surrounded by books is a start!

Were you aware that reading allows you fly approximately two times as high as a butterfly in the sky? And that reading enables you to simultaneously be both anywhere and anything?” So begins the Reading Rainbow post at Children of the 90s blog. Meaghan (who has a video of her 8-year-old self recommending a book on the show) talks about the show, the library, and the power of reading – even while watching a TV show! Yes, we do wear our love for all things PBS Kids on our sleeves … we’re honest about it.

The Children’s Book Review has a guest post by Wendy Zachrisen about 10 ways to boost preschoolers’ literacy. For example: “Give baby talk the boot. Don’t “dumb down” things when you talk to your kids. They can handle tough vocabulary.” We found this via Tweet from @book_mommy and @linkstoliteracy.

In this week’s Big Fresh (Choice Literacy newsletter), editor Brenda Power links us to Franki Siberson’s article about making time for literacy chit-chat in the classroom. Her list of 16 questions can work just as easily at the dinner table or during the ride to soccer practice as they do in the classroom. One of our favorite points: “Instead of choosing books by level, I want students to choose books in the same way that I do – based on their interests, their tastes, their moods, and the time they have available to read.”

Catch more on Raising Readers in Jen’s post this week at Booklights.

Literacy & Reading Programs & Research

Information LiteracyAn Educational Research Articles article about literacy and language in education talks about how all of the “literacies” kids need work together. “During the preschool years and earlier, children are absorbing information about the world around them, including early knowledge of language and literacy. Educators have come to recognize that children acquire important literacy skills beginning at birth, and that success in grade school reading is largely dependent on how much children have learned before they get there.”

Last week, Jen’s roundup included John Daum’s essay in the Chatanoogan about illiteracy, crime, and kids. One of Daum’s points was that illiteracy is completely preventable. On Monday, Brian Scott (Literacy and Reading News) told us about a project being funded by the Government of Canada to “create professional development strategies for literacy practitioners to enable them to better understand and help adults with learning disabilities.” Sometimes it helps to remember that the benefits of learning to read can start at any age!

21st Century Literacies
hm_readerAt Literacy Launchpad, Amy shares a guest post from Karen Schweitzer of with 20 places to find free online children’s books.

Thanks to @teachmom for the link to 5 ways to create spectatular classroom. This is a piece from Dean Groom’s Design 4 Learning blog dated May 2009, but with school just around the corner, now is a great time to pull it back out. What interests me is the idea that just a few small changes – and integrated use of technology – could exponentially change the learning dynamic for kids.

Jen found this article about integrating technology in the preschool classroom (Room to Grow blog). I’ll admit that at first it made me squeamish. I’ve got very mixed feelings about early computer use. That said, as I kept reading, I liked what I saw. The article is less about sitting 4-year-olds in front of a computer and more about using the computer as a tool for bringing learning to life … like letting the kids bring in photographs and build stories around them. Check out the list of early childhood educator technology resources and training opportunities, too.

Grants and Donations
The ALSC blog announced a library outreach grant for targeting underserved populations. “The “Light the Way: Library Outreach to the Underserved” grant is sponsored by Candlewick Press in honor of author Kate DiCamillo and the themes represented in her books.  A $3,000 grant will be awarded to a library with exceptional outreach to underserved populations.”

Boeing has announced that it is donating $25,000 to the Trident (SC) United Way. This United Way Chapter will use the money for a literacy program it operates with the Medical University of South Carolina. Boeing is one of the United Way’s top 5 donors, with the company and its employees donating more than $36 million to the nonprofit across the nation. Thanks to First Book’s Odds and Bookends column for linking us to Molly Parker’s article in the Charleston Regional Business Journal.

factfirstYou will find this week’s Nonfiction Monday Roundup at All About Children’s Books. Our host is Sally Apokedak. She loves one of my all-time favorite books … so I know this will be a masterpiece of a roundup.  As for me this Monday morning, I can’t rise above anything longer than three syllables, my dear, never could. Can you guess the book?

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