Good morning! This week’s children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, is now available here. Jen has been on the road for work, but she found lots of great stuff for this week’s collection of nuggets. As you’ll see, we’ve got plenty of content on literacy and reading-related events; information on literacy and reading programs and research; and discussions about 21st century literacies. We don’t have grant, sponsorship, or donation news this week.
Happy 1st Birthday to Mrs. P’s Magical Library, a site designed to convey to kids that “reading is cool”. Sara Gundell of the Portland Book Examiner reports “The site was founded one year ago by Dana Plautz, Clay Graham and Kathy Kinney and is now headquartered right here in Portland. Plautz, Graham and Kinney knew that fewer and fewer kids are reading these days, and that parents have less time to read to their kids. That’s why the trio wanted to create a safe place for kids to explore, discover and enjoy classic literature, with the hopes that children would develop a life-long love of reading.” Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg for the link.
Speaking of milestones … First Book – with the help of R. L. Stine – distributed some of the one million books that are the result of the organization’s partnership with KPMG’s Family for Literacy program. “[During the event at a school in Harlem], Mr. Stine shared that nothing scares him more than the thought of kids growing up without books.” We would certainly agree with that!
Sara Lewis Holmes brought to our attention a new project by Goodreads. The Goodreads newsletter reports: “Each month, Goodreads will highlight a different charitable foundation that promotes reading. For our inaugural item, we’re proud to recommend the organization Room to Read, which partners with local communities in the developing world to establish libraries, create local-language children’s literature, construct schools, and provide education to girls.”
We’ve seen a fair number of references to National Family Litearcy Month, but we’d like to direct you to this National Children’s Museum news release. It has a nice collection of statistics, some very easy and creative ideas, and some great links. I am particularly interested in learning more about the Family Literacy Projects on a Budget workshop. (via Belly Itch)
Literacy & Book-centric Holiday Events/Activities
Over at Buy Books for the Holidays, the theme lists are starting to pop up. Beginning this week, the site will also be profiling indie bookstores. If you have a suggestion or need one, that’s the place to go. “Best of” lists are also popping up throughout the blogosphere, so you’re sure to make a great match. Don’t forget book accessories. I’m STILL thinking about those 10 great bookends that Sherry linked to at Semicolon.
Literacy & Reading Programs & Research
In late October 2009, the Kelowna Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library (British Columbia, Canada) launched the Parent-Child Book Club. Students in grades 5 to 7 and a “significant adult” in the child’s life read the selected book together, then join other families at the library to share their opinions and thoughts. This is an idea that children’s librarian Kristy Hennings brought with her from the Vancouver Public Library, where she worked previously. The first book was The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien; next up is Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath. (via the 153d edition of Literacy News)
Here is another innovative literacy program. School Library Journal reports, in an article by Lauren Barack, that “Twitter hopes fans will uncork their enthusiasm for its latest launch: Fledging Wine, a vintage set to make its debut next fall, with proceeds going to Room to Read, an organization that builds libraries and schools across the globe... For every $20 bottle of Fledgling Pinot Noir or Chardonnay, $5 will go to Room to Read to help finance its libraries, or what it calls reading rooms, plus schools, local language, and girls’ education programs, which the charity sponsors in nine countries across Asia and Africa. One case of wine, for example, funds approximately 60 new local language books, according to Fledgling’s Web site.” Link via @kishizuka.
Jen liked this little article from the Warren County (Ohio) Community Page about a local DJ, Jason “Stattman” Statt, who “visits local classrooms to read to students and emphasize the importance of reading.” Here’s a snippet: “When Statt’s mother challenged her nine-year-old reluctant reader to think about one profession that didn’t require reading, he quickly figured out the answer and became motivated to improve his reading skills. “Whatever it is you want to be when you grow up,” Statt shared, “you have to know how to read.” That goes for disc jockeys, too. According to Statt, he reads constantly as a dj– newspapers to generate topics to talk about with listeners, scripts to read on the air, and information about the music he plays.“
If you’re looking for a story about everyday literacy, head over to the Joy of Children’s Literature. Denise Johnson found two great ones. Here’s our favorite: Storywalks are used to promote reading to preschoolers
The Latino Family Literacy Program of Los Osos (California) is an eight-week program that engages English language learners as a family. Every night for 20 to 30 minutes, parent and child read a bilingual book together. Currently 25 parents are enrolled in this second session of the 2009-2010 school year. You can read more in Monica Quintero’s article for KSBY Action News.
The Early Ed Watch has a nice summary of the proposed Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act, which Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and John Yarmuth (D-KY) introduced in Congress last week.
This bill addresses the important need to reestablish a federal role in supporting early literacy, following the elimination of funding for the Reading First program. It also takes important steps to support adolescent literacy. But we worry that it shifts the focus of federal literacy efforts too much towards the middle and high school years, at the expense of critical PreK-3rd years, which build a foundation for all of children’s later literacy learning.
This month’s ELL Newslettersponsored by Big Deal Book.com and Delta Publishing is jam-packed with links to resources to help English Language Learners. Their list is as comprehensive as our roundups – no joke. One of websites that caught my eye was America’s History in the Making, which offers interactives build around the National Center for History in the Schools standards. As described in the newsletter: “Each interactive models a specific skill or set of skills, such as analyzing historical artifacts or using primary sources to develop a thesis. The first five interactives conclude with Classroom Extensions, which provide suggestions on how you can teach using these skills in your classroom. The final interactive, Balancing Sources, includes input from an advisory board of teachers, modeling how they might use the primary sources within the interactive.”
Valerie Strauss’s article The Answer Sheet (Washington Post, 9 November 2009) had garnered a lot of attention. It was talked about on Twtitter, and Jen who also fed it to our Raising Readers widget. This article and a recent European study about when kids should start school (which of course I can’t find!) offer many of the same observations.
Medical News Today published a summary of the findings in a new study about developmental dyslexia and student achievement. The study, conducted at Northwestern University, confirmed earlier studies that concludes that 5 to 10 perecent of school-aged children have difficulty separating the “important auditory information” from the noise around them (other students talking, clock ticking, etc.) The Northwestern study goes further by presenting findings that show there is a “significant neurological impairment.” From the article: “The researchers found that dyslexic children showed enhanced brain activity in the variable condition. This may enable dyslexic children to represent their sensory environment in a broader and arguably more creative manner, although at the cost of the ability to exclude irrelevant signals (e.g. noise).” It takes so much energy to “quiet” the noise that it affects their ability to learn. Simple strategies – some identified in the article – can overcome these challenges. (via @momsinspire)
Former high school math teacher and current Comic Vine author “G-Man” talks about comics being good for kids (link to UK Telegraph article). He also includes the trailer for Comic Book Literacy documentary and some suggestions for getting them into the hands of new readers:
If you ever have comics or books you don’t want, see if you can donate them to a local school, library or hospital. If you have any younger siblings, try giving them a child-friendly comic and read it with them.
Here’s his analysis of comic books as a learning tool (check out how he used reading in his math class, too!) Book Dads links you to a similar story (drawn on the original research) at Scientific Blogging.
In reading through some other recent Scientific Blogging posts, I found an article about the “science” behind why parents/teachers/doctors miss the diagnosis for girls with ADD. In a nutshell, ADD manifests itself differently for girls … but it affects their learning identically to the challenges boys face.
21st Century Literacies
In a press release on PR-Release.com, Angela Stevens explains why her company, Reading Horizons has created a web page with a free literacy resources for parents to complement its free Online Workshop which is designed for teachers. From the press release: “The free Online Workshop reveals Reading Horizons methodology for basic decoding strategies. It uses Web-based, full-motion video and flash animation to bring teaching concepts to life. This online training helps anyone, anywhere gain the skills to effectively teach those who struggle with literacy to learn to read.”
For anyone who wants to know about open education – or places to learn more – go no further than Anna Batchelder’s post at Literacy is Priceless. She defines what it is, talks about it in the context of teacher effectiveness, AND helps get you started with places to get all that free knowledge. As Anna says “To the sharing of knowledge.” Anna also has also started a conversation about the teacherless classroom over at the Curriki blog. She’s asking for your thoughts.
Monday Morning Wrap-up
The Winter Blog Blast Tour opens today. Wow. Oh. Wow! Don’t know what it is? or who’s involved? Head over to Chasing Ray for the complete schedule … and start your week off right.
Today’s Nonfiction Monday host is Tina Nichols Coury at Tales from the Rushmore Kid blog. Somebody just came home sick from school … I’m thinking it is going to be a great day to grab the laptop and “relax”!