Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – 15 February

Literacy Reading News RoundupWelcome to the Cybils Winners/St. Valentine’s Day/President’s Day/Lunar New Year/oh-no-not-more-snow edition of 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, is now available here. This week Jen Robinson and I have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; and grants, sponsorships & donations.

Note: This week’s images are from All images link to the original source.


Donalyn Miller has a brief but important post at The Book Whisperer about several effective literacy programs that are slated to lose federal funding for 2011. She notes: “With so many questionable educational initiatives, we must fight to keep literacy programs that have been proven to work.”

Here’s an idea that reminds us of Laurel Snyder’s suggestion to take reading to the mall from last year’s Kidlitosphere Conference. In Tampa Bay, University Square Mall has just celebrated the grand opening its Literacy Learning Center. The center, run by the nonprofit It’s All About Kids, uses almost 6,000 square feet of retail space. The center’s purpose is to “encourage children to read, focus on academics and develop social skills.”  Read more in Raena Boston’s St. Petersburg Times article.

Literacy Programs & Research

David Elzey has started a series Building Better Boy Books at his Fomagrams blog.  “Despite this lack of concrete definition [of what constitutes a ‘boy book’ or ‘boy reader’] I still think it’s a vitally important topic of discussion. Boys have this knack for negatively demanding our attentions. They do so by insisting they hate books…But they need us, desperately. They need our help in understanding that reading can and should be a vital and important part of their lives.”

A new study in the March issue of Pediatrics will report that “certain characteristics of children’s home life seemed to make a difference in whether early language problems persisted. One of those was whether parents read to their children on a regular basis. “There is ample evidence that reading to a child can help prevent early problems in child development and learning,” lead researcher Dr. Ingrid Schoon, of the University of London, told Reuters Health in an email.” See more details in this Reuters article. (via @ReachOutandRead)

The Irish Times reports on a study that found that 71% of mothers read a bedtime story to their children “nearly every night.” “Of those, 28 per cent said they read to their children every night, while 30 per cent said they did so most nights. Some 13 per cent said they read to their children every other night. Most of the parents who did not read to their children said their children were either too young or too old. All parents surveyed had at least one child under 10 years. One-fifth of mothers who did not read to their children said their hectic schedules were to blame.” Link via Katie B’s Odds and Bookends column at First Book.

In a commentary for Education Week, Nancie Atwell makes the case for “why literature should continue to be taught in the 21st century.” Atwell says: “giving corporate interests a role in setting education policy is like letting foxes supervise the henhouse. These foxes are not vested in children’s reading books. They are interested in profitmaking—in selling prefab curricula, standards, and the diagnostic, formative, and summative tests that measure them. The irony—and tragedy—is that book reading, which profits a reader, an author, and a democratic society, is also the single activity that consistently relates to proficiency in reading, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress.”

At Kid Tested, Librarian Approved, Maureen pointed out a recent article about The Value of a Picture Book in the January 2010 issue of Psychology Today. Pam Allen not only describes life lessons that kids can learn through stories, but she offers some suggested reading, as well.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh announced a $250,000 initiative to give every child born July 1 and after a free book. The book is being written for this initiative, which was described in the Queensland Courier Online.

We know that Why Kids Re-Read Books is a re-post at Literacy, Families, and Learning, but it is oh-so-worth repeating it in the Roundup! [Just checking to see if you catch the irony.]

New Hampshire Public Radio recently ran a feature about the Children’s Literacy Foundation’s efforts to “spread a love of reading and writing among low-income, at-risk and rural children”, with emphasis on working with mothers who are in prison.

21st Century Literacies

The New York Times Room for Debate blog takes on the question of whether or not school libraries need books. A number of panelists respond formally (including the headmaster of Cushing Academy, the school that announced last fall that they were getting rid of most of their books), followed by 300+ reader comments.

Grants and Donations

The National Center for Family Literacy blog recently announced: “Applications for the new Better World Books/NCFL Libraries and Families Award are now available! Through this opportunity NCFL and Better World Books will reward and enhance existing family programming and expand literacy-building practices of families in library settings. The three $10,000 grants awarded each year will connect more families to their local libraries and expand their literacy efforts in new and innovative ways. The deadline to apply is March 3, 2010”.

And here’s a fun contest. “Win $5,000 for your school and motivate your students to read! The Raise a Reader program, sponsored by the International Reading Association and Parents magazine, allows your students to log their reading minutes as they devour books throughout the spring. The school with the most minutes read per student enrolled at the school will receive $5,000 for their library. Individual readers are also eligible for great prizes.” (via @linkstoliteracy) reports in an article by Dudley Brown that “A recent study has led some local health care providers to step up their roles in promoting early childhood literacy. The Mary Black Foundation held a special grant cycle following the release of Jumpstart’s September 2009 report, and it awarded $110,000 to three projects focused on early childhood literacy. ” (via Jenny Schwartzberg)

Wrapping Up …

Nonfiction Monday

Amy Graves is hosting today’s Nonfiction Monday round-up is at Art of Irreverence. I love her title “Famous First Ladies edition.” Head over to see what it’s all about. Later this week, author Irene Latham is hosting Poetry Friday at Live.Love.Explore.  Thanks for your interest in children’s literacy!

17 responses to “Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – 15 February

  1. Glad to hear so many recent awareness builders about the need for parent/child reading together. USA is is worse shape than Ireland according to stats you show. Moms here who read to kids / don’t read is about 50/50 currently. 3 million children are estimated in 14 South Eastern states as at-risk because of lack of books in home, being read to, according to SECA. Their books program is distributed through participating pediatricians.
    Our Early Literacy Partnership is getting results reports in from partner organizations that 85% of parents in our program are feeling more confident to read to their children, and more interested to continue reading time at least 5 days a week because they are seeing their kids interest. These low-income rural parents are delighted to experience reading picture book Teddy Bear’s Favorite Pictures as a good activity with their children. (has Parent Points step-by-step guidelines). Parents Tip sheet helps.

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