Welcome to this week’s edition of 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. Overall, it was a slower news week but there was something for all of our categories: events; raising readers; literacy and reading programs and research; grants & donations; and a few new resources.
It was spring break here last week, and I’ve been zooming through the reader and the various mini-round-ups have been a huge help. A favorite is Meg Ivey’s Literacy Voices Round Up. Check out the April 10 edition. Her links are great, but that picture at the end – the coolest!
National Library Week begins today! There are plenty of activities related to this year’s theme – Worlds Connect @ Your Library. Tomorrow is National Library Workers Day, so if you’re at the library, be sure to say “Thanks.”
Thursday is Support Teen Literature Day – which is also D-Day for Operation Teen Book Drop, sponsored by ReaderGirlz , GuysLitWire , and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association). There’s still time to think about where you want to leave your YA book!
This is the perfect week to make a trip (or two) to the library because next week is the first of two National Turn Off Week events this year. Formerly known as Turn Off TV Week, the events have expanded to cover all screen-related media. Visit the website to find events by state and registration forms. The Center for Screen-Time Awareness, which sponsors the event, is an international nonprofit organization that provides tools for people to live healthier lives in functional families and vibrant communities by taking control of the electronic media in their lives and not allowing it to control them. Turnoff Week is supported by national organizations including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Education Association, and President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. Since 1994, more than 50 million people have participated in Turnoff Week. Look for local events at your a Barnes & Noble store near you.
There is plenty going on in the Kidlitosphere and beyond for National Poetry Month, so no need to repeat that. But have you seen international poetry and art contest for youth. This annual event is sponsored by River of Words (a nonprofit) and the Library of Congress’ Center for the Book. River of Words “seeks to improve children’s literacy and cognitive skills through innovative projects that incorporate observation-based nature exploration, art, and poetry.” Read more in Geri’s post at the NCBLA (National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance) blog.
The Children’s Place has teamed up with Books for Kids in an online auction to promote children’s literacy. Books for Kids (no website) is a nonprofit that has placed more than 5 million books and created 56 libraries to aid in helping children learn how to read. Here are some of the celebs: American Idol judge Paula Abdul, Gossip Girl star Chace Crawford, I Carly’s Jennette McCurdy, Tony Hawk, Kim Kardashian, Debra Messing, Twilight’s Taylor Lautner, Samantha Harris, Sophia Bush, Tina Fey, and many more. The auction is open 14 to 24 April, and is hosted by eBay. Go here to bid on one of the messenger bags. Thanks to the Glamazon Diaries for the info (and you can check out some pics, too).
Speaking of celebrities … Jen found this piece about an event co-sponsored by FirstBook and Disney. Last Monday, they hosted a celebrity reading event to celebrate literacy and the DVD-release of Bedtime Stories, a Disney movie that hit theaters in December. When the movie was first released, FirstBook asked website visitors to leave comments with our favorite bedtime stories. Disney agreed to provide 1 new book for every comment generated. Last week, celebrities sat in an oversized bed at the Hollywood and Highland Shopping Center and read books like Oh, The Places You’ll Go! and Good Night Moon for two hours! Disney agreed to provide 100 free books for every book read in that time. Celebs read 15 books, so that was 1,500 free books for readers in need. Disney wanted to do more, and the company has donated 5,000 free books. Here’s the Press Release with more details.
If that’s not enough …
School Library Journal’s Battle of the Books begins today. Marya Jansen-Gruber has a nicely presented list of the first-round matches over at Through the Looking Glass Reviews. If you’d like to have the bookstore links (so you can get summaries) to the contestants, Abby (the) Librarian has them here.
Head over to Abby (the) Librarian for this week’s Nonfiction Monday Round Up. Thanks to Abby for this post and this one, which give us links to recent news, like Jen’s post about yesterday being Drop Everything And Read Day. Drats. The one thing I did not pick up yesterday was a book!
Big Green Stars – Both Jen and I loved this post at The Book Chook about using circulars that are destined for recycling anyway to let kids practice literacy activities. We also enjoyed this post at Chronicle of an Infant Bibliophile, about 15 suggestions for picking the best children’s books for babies. Infant Bibliophile collected excellent suggestions from Adrienne (a Children’s Librarian at Webster Public Library in Webster, New York) at What Adrienne Thinks About That, Laura (of Bib-Laura-graphy), a Children’s Librarian at a branch of Boston’s wonderful public library, and Valerie, who can be found at The Almost Librarian and is nearing the end of her education to become a librarian.
Another nice Book Chook post this week was about preparing for Drop Everything and Read Day: Book Chook Methods for Finding a New Book. D.E.A.R. Day is over, but we can always find a reason to get more books: because we love libraries and librarians; so we can participate in the Reading Together challenge;because we’re going to unplug our TVs …
At The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller shares suggestions, many reader-contributed, for teachers to help in building classroom libraries. This post is a great compilation of resources, and not to be missed by reading teachers.
Over at Literacy Launchpad , Amy has a wonderful, informative post about Imagination Library, a literacy program created by Dolly Parton. I admit that I knew about the Dollywood Foundation and Parton’s love of books and literacy, but I didn’t realize how broad her books-for-kids program had spread. Every month a child (under 5) receives an age-appropriate book in the mail. From the how it works page: “A community must make the program accessible to all preschool children in their area. The community pays for the books and mailing, promotes the program, registers the children, and enters the information into the database. From there The Dollywood Foundation takes over and manages the system to deliver the books to the home.”
Literacy & Reading Programs & Research
Debra Viadero opens her article about the evolution toward E-Education (Education Week) with this grabber: “… experts already generally agree on one point: Research shows that virtual schooling can be as good as, or better than, classes taught in person in brick-and-mortar schools.” Learn more at the Virtual School Clearinghouse project, a joint initiative of AT&T and the University of Florida. It is quite fascinating.
In what would seem to be a counterpoint article, Viadero also summarizes the findings of a $14.4 million federal study of reading and math software products. The study evaluates the effectiveness of several commercial products for improving student performance. For the second year, the results show “few significant learning differences between students who used the technology and those taught using other methods.” There is one product – LeapTrag by LeapFrog Schoolhouse – that has “produced significant improvement in student test scores.” Everyone seems to agree that the findings are disappointing; they also caution against using the study results to compare the effectiveness of the products. Read the article in the current edition of Education Week.
This morning at Literacy and Reading News , Brian Scott posted a summary of a new American Journal of Preventive Medicine report that suggests there is a nexus between literacy levels and the ability to estimate portion sizes. It’s an interesting premise, particularly in light of the general effort to super-size everything and disguise a “real portion.”
21st Century Literacies
Grants and Donations
The San Francisco Foundation (SFF) has awarded Super Stars Literacy, Inc. a $20,000 grant for the 2008-09 year “to support [Super Stars Literacy’s] comprehensive academic and social development daily after-school program to improve the academic and social development of elementary school children with challenging life circumstances.” Super Stars Literacy, Inc. is an the East Bay non-profit that builds literacy skills for primary grade children in communities with limited resources.
Get in the Game-Read – This is Lori Calabrese‘s new blog to celebrate the “North American tradition that signals the beginning of a new baseball season. Spring has sprung, fields are perfectly manicured, and everyone’s anxiously awaiting the Thwack of a bat smacking a little white sphere out of the park!”
Literacy Log – Brian Shephard has created this blog to offer “literacy news and strategies for all kinds of teachers.” Originally created in 2008, Brian is now kicking it up a notch and regularly posting about resources and strategies. Check out his Worldle project and learn how he’s using them to teach (and not just in English).
Blogs for Aspiring Teen Writers – Andie Cunningham put together a wonderful collection of blogs by authors, teacher, and librarians as the “perfect gift for soon-to-be fifteen-year-old niece. Her article in this week’s Choice Literacy newsletter is chock full of links of blogs by YA authors, moms, librarians, and teachers. It’s handy for those of us who are “wiser teens” now.