Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – 9 November

Literacy Reading News RoundupHappy Monday! 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 and I found plenty of literacy and reading-related events; information on literacy and reading programs and research; and discussions about 21st century literacies; and some grant, sponsorship, or donation news.

With November comes the holiday and end-of-year frames of mind. Starting this week and continuing for the remainder of the year, we’ll try to segregate the general book-ish events from those that have a holiday tie-in.

Everybody WinsCongratulations to our friends at Everybody Wins! Rich Greif sent us this announcement: “Lionsgate, makers of the new movie Precious, will be supporting a week of TwitCause, the largest social cause portal on Twitter, to help raise awareness and donations for Everybody Wins! USA, a children’s literacy organization that builds the skills and love of reading among low-income elementary students. Every time someone includes the hashtag #Read2Kids in a tweet between Thursday, November 12 and Wednesday, November 18, Lionsgate will donate $1 per tweet up to a maximum of $1,000.” Everybody Wins! USA is a nationally recognized literacy and mentoring organization with a mission to build the skills for and a love of reading among low-income elementary students. There are chapters in 16 metropolitan areas and the District of Columbia.

Thanks to Charlotte (Charlotte’s Library) for telling us about The Little Auction that Could, a fundraiser for a “very special library.” This is an opportunity to own a signed copy of the books our favorite authors loved as kids. Karla Preissman, a mom in Florida, asked famous people to sign their name in a book from their childhood that influenced their life. The money from the auction is going to t the Hibiscus Children’s Center, to “build” a library for these children of abuse and neglect. Charlotte has a nice list of some of the contributors and their books at Charlotte’s Library.

Literacy & Book-centric Holiday Events/Activities

Although we traditionally think of Toys for Tots as a wonderful US Marine Corps campaign to collect toys for children in need, Toys for Tots also has a Literacy Program.  This past week, The UPS Store® and Mail Boxes Etc.® launched their book drives ” bring awareness to the issue of children’s literacy and remind families of the importance of reading together.” These companies are the exclusive sponsors of the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, and at participating locations, you can buy $1 donation cards through Thursday, December 31. For every dollar donated, a book will be placed into the hands of a less fortunate child. The money stays in YOUR  community, it isn’t pooled and sent somewhere else. (image source: personally edited ClipArt)

When you purchase your holiday greeting cards from Heartfelt Charity Cards, an e-commerce based retailer of charity greeting cards, 10% of each card sale benefits First Book. Over the past five years, First Book’s alliance with Heartfelt has helped us to provide ore than 3,200 new books to children in need. Browse the gallery of options at and select First Book as your charity of choice. (via First Book)

Literacy & Reading Programs & Research

We always take note of unique literacy programs, especially those that feature people kids look up to promoting literacy. Therefore, as you can imagine, we liked this story from Emma Foster at Community Newswire, about how “A former British Special Forces soldier who has written best-selling books for children and adults has today launched a national reading competition for children. SAS hero Chris Ryan has joined up with the National Literacy Trust’s Reading Champions project, which aims to get more children reading… Participants will compete in team-based “reading missions” with all schools that take part receiving a wallchart to mark their progress.”

Via the NCFL’s Literacy Voices Round-Up, we learned that “U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), and Representatives John Yarmuth (D-KY 3rd) and Jared Polis (D-CO 2nd) announced they would introduce major legislation to fund comprehensive literacy programs in states across the country. The Literacy Education for All, Results for the Nation (LEARN) Act will provide $2.35 billion in grants to fund state and local school-based literacy programs that span from early childhood to grade twelve. The LEARN Act will create the flagship federal literacy program to ensure that students have the literacy skills to succeed in school and their future careers.” More details in the Lake Stevens Journal.

Inspired by the Wisconsin Cops ‘N Kids program (which we’ve mentioned previously), the Whittier, CA police department is teaming up with the local library to launch “A Book of My Own” program, which “inspires successful learning while diffusing often stressful situations. “There are times when police arrive, such as in a domestic disturbance call, where children are present,” said Bonnie Weber, library services manager. “Books and a stuffed animal may calm the child involved.” Patrol officers this week began carrying up to five packages, which include a book and small teddy bear, to distribute to children they encounter on calls.” More details in this Whittier Daily News article by Sandra T. Molina.

There is an interesting study in the latest Indus Asia Online Journal with a critical analysis of the role parents play in their child’s education, and how their own education influences their attitude toward their child’s learning. What I took away from the study (done in India) is just how universal and timeless the keys to raising readers are.

In a completely different analytical study, Sharie created a list of the different ways media use children’s literature in ads, videos, and songs. The list is based solely on her own observations of what she sees in her daily life. Check it out at the Children’s Literacy blog. Can you think of any other recent examples?

21st Century Literacies

Cookie Monster Google LogoWell, Nokia just blew my idea for making a personal digital recording reading a book out of the water. It seems that they have partnered with the Sesame Street Workshop to “create an interactive reading experience that can involve grandparents and grandchildren no matter how far apart they may find themselves. The Storybook research project melds the tactile and visual pleasures of reading a real book with video conferencing technology which allows distant relatives to take an active part in a child’s literacy development.” In his article for GizMag, Paul Ridden describes The Storybook, an interactive device that looks like a book but which allows interactive reading across distances. Literary videoconferencing. Cool! [Like Jen, Cookie Monster is one of my favorite Sesame Street friends!]

Along a similar line, over at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom, there is a great post on the value and ways to use books on Tape (or books on CD) to promote literacy.

At Literacy, Families, and Learning, Trevor Cairney offers some parent-friendly content on what reading comprehension is and why it matters. As is his practice, he also walks you through Sketch-to-Stretch, a strategy that is easy to use and can be very helpful in gauging and expanding a reader’s comprehension.

At Librarian by Day, Bobbi Newman has a nice recap of recent discussions about transliteracy and the digital divide. She extracts several key quotes from a recent Google conference, Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age (as covered in the New York Times blog) to suggest that libraries play a role in minimizing the gap. For those interested in transliteracy, Bobbi also has links to several groups and projects on the subject.

MonticelloOne of my favorite Jefferson quotes is “I cannot live without books.” So it seems only appropriate that the new Young Readers Center is in the Thomas Jefferson building of the Library of Congress. Having visited the Children’s Literature Center (a VERY cool place!) during the recent Kidlitosphere Conference (thanks again, Pam), I was surprised to learn that this is the first time in the LOC’s history that it “has a space devoted to the reading interests of children and teens.” Read more and check out the pictures from the Center’s opening at the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance blog. (photo source: gallery)

Bon Education CEO/Founder Anna Batchelder has created a series of Mom 2.0 workshops. Anna announced the series on her blog, Literacy is Priceless. Beginning November 24, 2009, Bon Education will host these sessions:Digital Tools for Homework Help;Blogging 101;Developing Young Readers: Strategies & Technology Tools; and Digital Literacy & Cyber Safety: What Kids and Parents Need to Know

Grants and Donations

In several previous roundups, Jen and I highlighted the need to support literacy for blind readers. So, it was particularly nice to see that folks are doing something to bring the joy of reading to those who cannot read the printed word. From “The University of South Carolina Upstate’s Special Education–Visual Impairment Program in the School of Education recently received a grant for $497,675 from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services at the United States Department of Education. This grant will enable USC Upstate’s Visual Impairment Program, in collaboration with the South Carolina Vision Education Partnership, to significantly increase awareness of Braille and knowledge of how best to teach it.”

If you need a few more nuggets to get you motivated, head on over to Jen Robinson’s Book Page for her Sunday Afternoon Visit. It’s filled with great stuff … like links to the new episode in The Exquisite Corpse Adventure, Lori Calabrese’s new Meme Fish for a Free Book?, and a very interesting post at At Books & Other Thoughts, about the value (or not) of parents redacting their kids’ books to take out objectionable language.
Facts First! Nonficton MondayToday’s NonFiction Monday shoutout goes to Abby (the) Librarian. She is hosting the roundup. I had the pleasure of meeting Abby at the recent KidLitosphere Conference … trust me. She knows her stuff, so I’m sure she’ll have some great books of her own to add to the collection!

14 responses to “Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – 9 November

  1. Great stuff this week, Terry. Excellent finds on the Children’s Literacy Blog and the Storybook Research Project. Interesting in general how much 21st Century Literacy news there is this week – something in the air, I guess.

  2. WIth an only grandchild half way across the country I am very excited about the potential of this Nokia / Sesame venture; thank you for bringing it to my attention!

  3. Charlotte – You are most welcome for the link. I am so glad that you brought it to our attention. Kids love to “escape” through books … and for these kids, it would be such a blessing!

    Carol – It is a pretty cool idea. Technology is such a double-edged sword, and it’s nice to find stuff that helps people connect without taking away the fun of sharing a story.

    Jen – It must be something in the air: 21st Century literacies and, as you point out in today’s Literacy ‘Lights column, lots of chatter about reading with kids. I read your note about ‘Lights on the draft and completely forgot to go over to add it today! Sorry.

  4. I come and browse often, but I haven’t ever stopped long enough to say thank you for all you and Jen do for literacy! You ROCK!!!

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