Welcome to the 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. This week’s edition includes events for reading and literacy as well as ideas and posts about raising readers; literacy and reading programs and research; and a new book review/literacy resource.
First an admin note: If you are reading this Roundup on a site other than Jen Robinson’s Book Page or Scrub-a-Dub-Tub it has been scraped and the content stolen. We’ll leave it at that … for now. My thanks to Bianca Schultz (The Children’s Book Review) and her mid-April 2009 post about blog scraping (that I luckily have kept starred in my reader)! Now, on to the fun stuff …
In honor of last week’s Teacher Appreciation Week, Lori Calabrese suggested 10 ways that parents can show their appreciation for teachers, including donating books in a teacher’s honor. Lori notes: “Most teachers live on moderate salaries and have an unfairly low retirement wage. However, teachers are the ones who work with our children day in and day out on writing, reading, math, and much more. It only takes one great teacher to make a difference, so why not say thanks?” And she has concrete suggestions for how to do so.
Children’s Book Week opened Saturday with Ambassador Jon Sciezka hosting an event in New York. There are plenty of really neat things happening. This week there are official events in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Seattle. The Website also has a great list of local events, too. Here are some other places to visit.line
- Over at the Wild Rose Reader, Elaine Magliaro has put together a nice list of Children’s Book Week Links and booklists. If you’re not a regular at Wild Rose Reader, head on over … Elaine always puts together the best booklists!
- TeachingAuthors.com will commemorate the week with “a series of posts on the importance of reading and how it influences, inspires, and informs us as writers and teachers. We’ll also include several “Writing Workouts” for writers and those who teach writing.”
- UPDATE: Just One More Book!! is helping kick off Children’s Book Week with a video that offers advice to aspiring readers from some of your favourite authors and illustrators. It’s Episode 20 in their Rock Stars of Reading series, that also includes an interview with David Mazor, Founder and Executive Director of Reader to Reader — a non-profit organization that distributes books to schools and libraries in need.
There are more than 5,000 free books waiting for children to pick them up as part of the seventh Annual Harrisonburg (VA) Kids’ Book Festival on May 16 at James Madison University. More than 4,300 children are expected to attend the event. The free books promoting literacy also come with free food and entertainment for children and parents.
If you’re heading to the UK in the next year, stop by the MacRobert building at Aberdeen University to see the children’s exhibit sponsored by the Reading Bus, a literacy organization. Students in three elementary schools and six city schools created arts and books to celebrate the history of the grounds that are now part of the University. The students worked with north-east artists and writers to produce books and art about the history of Old Aberdeen landmarks.
Mark you calendar for MotherReader’s 48 Hour Book Challenge. The dates are 5 to 7 June 2009 … literally around the corner. Please be sure to read MotherReader’s Post with the basic guidelines. This year, Pam is following up on a suggestion to link the contest with a way to promote the “greater good.” She is encouraging participants to support the efforts to help Bridget Zinn with her medical costs, and offers some starter ideas for you to consider. Lots of your friends will be there ..
Muffin Tin Monday is a weekly blog gathering of mommies, daddies, and caregivers who serve at least one meal a week in a muffin tin! You’ll find the week’s submissions every Monday at Her Cup Overfloweth. This week’s theme is (drumroll) Children’s Literature. “Choose a children’s book or nursery rhyme and build a muffin tin meal around it!”
The theme of this week’s Right to Read event in New Carlisle, PA is “make reading a habit at home.” An article in the Springfield News-Sun explains that in addition to traditional spirit-week type activities at school, organizers have also created family events, like the chance to win a prize if you “catch” a teacher reading at the New Carlisle Public Library. (via Meg Ivey’s Literacy Voices Roundup for May 8)
Over at Literacy Launchpad, Amy has photos and descriptions of five favorite literacy-related toys. Some things you’ll guess right away (like magnet letters on the fridge) but others, maybe not. This isn’t a product promotion, Amy spends more space talking about how her son connects with the toy than describing the toy itself.
Speaking of playing … check out Mosylu’s post about playing with books on Kid Tested, Librarian Approved. A guaranteed smile for a Monday: “[Books are] meant to be held captive on the shelf, primly aloof until it’s time for the mandated twenty minutes, and then put hastily away in favor of the toy bucket. So what if that board book is gummed to pieces, or that copy of Dr. Seuss starts to shed pages like a collie in springtime? Regardless of what your elementary school librarian may have taught you, books are not sacred objects to be preserved for future generations. They’re meant to be shared and loved now.”
The confession of a literacy evangelist: “I admit it. I am obsessed with getting kids to read, and not just read, but I want them hooked on reading like a junkie in an alley.” It may SOUND like you, but those are Kristine’s words (Best Book I Have Not Read). Last week she announced her Summer Reading Kick-off event (inspired by Franki Sibberson at Choice Literacy). She’s recruiting elementary reading specialists, intermediate teachers, and librarians to “give parents the ‘teacher said’ clout to help them keep their kids reading over the summer.” Here are a couple of places to get a head start on summer reading:
- Check out Claire’s summer reading list at The Horn Book website. As Jen says in her Thursday Afternoon Visit , “There are some great titles, all nicely organized by age range.” Link via Read Roger and Jen Robinson’s Book Page.
- Baseball lovers might want to stop by Moms Inspire Learning to see the baseball books list Dawn Morris created. Like Claire, she has categories based on the age of your audience.
Librarian Eva Mitnick (Eva’s Book Addiction) answers the question “how do we get kids not only to read but to demonstrate their love of books in such an exciting and innovative way that other kids can’t help but be hooked?” with E-coolness at the Library. She has examples of video reviews by kids, a link to the King County Public Library Teen Summer Reading Club, and some ideas on tools for creating podcasts or videos with kids. The 8-minute video about the interactive library is just amazing.
As blogs like Literacy, Families, and Learning, the BookChook, and others regularly show us, literacy is more than just learning letters and reciting word combinations. It’s about discovery and play, too. The editors of Strollerderby have released their list of Ten Best Children’s Museums in the United States. Here’s the invitation: “Escape to a place where there’s no need to use indoor voices, and your kids can touch EVERYTHING!” There are three additional “don’t miss” recommendations. My favorite is the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia. Gotta love the name!
Jen found Family Literacy Moment: Sleepover Party on the Scholastic Parents blog. Els Kushner (aka Librarian Mom) tells a great story herself, how her nearly-nine-year-old daughter and her two friends, “who just an hour earlier had been doing their best to practice at being teenagers…now were all getting equally worked up and excited over a picture book.” I won’t tell you what it is, but it is between #36 and #40 in the the Fuse #8 Top 100 Picture Books poll.
KLo is a mom, a teacher, and an admitted bibliophile. She also has some front-line observations and a question about reading: Why Do Some People Not Do Something So Vital? Here are the (unintended) findings of one of her school projects: “Earlier this year, I did an interdisciplinary project with the biology and social studies teacher at my school. As an introduction to the project, I read my students The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. I don’t think any more than 3% of them had heard (never mind read) the book before. This made me more sad than I can put into words.” (via an EverybodyWins tweet)
Marge Loch-Wouters (Tiny Tips for Library Fun) has a great summary of Valerie Baartz’ post about books and music, so I’m going to let her tell you … “Valerie over at The Almost Librarian has a wonderful and useful post with great suggestions on combining stories with related songs. Doing this encourages great connections for kids. Children’s librarians who program know this is a great way to enhance books and Valerie has a stellar set of match-ups.”
Literacy & Reading Programs & Research
Coventry Telegraph.net has a re-post of an article from Anna Grainger’s blog (NFI). Anna emphasizes the symmetry between writing and learning to read; something we’re seeing more of. “Together with reading, writing is one of the key skills that a person needs in order to make them an effective communicator whilst allowing them to carry out everyday tasks. As with reading, the younger you can encourage your child to write the better.”
Lisa Guernsey offers two antidotes to Kindergarten cram. Her post was prompted by Peggy Orenstein’s article in last week’s New York Times magazine, when Orenstein asked “When did 5 become the new 7, anyway?” Guernsey’s Early Ed Watch post is filled with links to research studies and resources parents and teachers can use in their quest to “[preserve] playtime and child-centered exploration while also recognizing the need for intentional teaching [that] introduces academic concepts related to literacy, science and math skills in pre-k and kindergarten classrooms.”
LitNotes is a new series on Literacy Now. In these posts, you’ll find material designed to support family literacy staff in the delivery of Parent and PACT Time in their programs. The first topic in the series focuses on vocabulary. (Via Literacy Now)
The National Center for Education Statistics released a new government report that looks specifically at the reasons why 30 million people (14 percent of the US population older than 16) can’t read. A main goal of the report is to further pinpoint the underlying issues: is it a lack of basic skills such as decoding? or is it a lack of vocabulary or comprehension? If you don’t want to read the full report, Stacy Teicher Khadaroo lays out an excellent analysis in her article Why do Millions of Americans Struggle with Reading and Writing? in a recent edition of the Christian Science Monitor.
This week’s Big Fresh (the Choice Literacy newsletter) links us to Inside the Baby Mind, an article by Jonah Lehrer for the Boston Globe. In a nutshell: “By using new research techniques and tools, [researchers have] revealed that the baby brain is abuzz with activity, capable of learning astonishing amounts of information in a relatively short time. Unlike the adult mind, which restricts itself to a narrow slice of reality, babies can take in a much wider spectrum of sensation – they are, in an important sense, more aware of the world than we are.”
At The Book Nosher, Robin Gaphni offers book reviews for children’s books from preschool through middle grade. In addition to the traditional summary and analysis, Robin always includes a BookNosher Tidbit and BookNosher activities. Like many of us, she emphasizes the importance of reading aloud with kids of all ages. In a recent review of Ida B., she not only says “it screams to be read aloud,” but she tells you why.
Last but not least, Cari and Holly are hosting this week’s Nonfiction Monday roundup at Book Scoops.
Updated: photo credit: FLICKR photo collection. Image http://www.flickr.com/photos/35588171@N05/3468820461/