Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – August in Review

Welcome new readers, subscribers, and followers!

As a literacy passionista, you know there is a lot of information about reading, books, and literacy in the blogosphere. Together, Jen Robinson @ Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Carol Rasco @ Rasco from RIF, and I pull together some of the cool / new / interesting content and publish a children’s literacy and reading news round-up twice a month. Jen and I split the early-to-mid-month edition, and RIF President Carol Rasco does a lovely wrap-up and look ahead.

If March enters like a lion and goes out like a lamb, what can we say about August? As Carol notes in her opening, it has been quite a month here on the Eastern seaboard. And lest you think the earthquake is done, our friends in Mineral (just 20 miles east of us)  had yet another aftershock just last night. From poetry to forecasts, Carol has everything covered in her August review.

Here are some other highlights from Carol’s post with fill-your-calendar events and ideas …

The Dot by Peter H ReynoldsSeptember 15 is a very popular day! It is International Dot Day. It’s the deadline for applying to be a panelist / judge for the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards (aka the 2011 Cybils).  It is the de facto travel day for many of us East-coasters attending the annual Kidlitosphere Conference in Seattle, WA. Oh! and its my 21st wedding anniversary!

Speaking of anniversaries … I hope I look as good as Babar when I turn 80 … and Through the Phantom Toolbooth celebrates 50 years of reading magic. You can find other book-ish anniversaries in this Publishers Weekly article that Carol found.

Back to Babar for a moment. I found it interesting that an illustration from Jean De Brunhoff’s book The Story of Babar is the “feature image” in a story When we shield our kids from scary stories, who are we really trying to protect? I remember the story, but apparently the scary part didn’t stay in my brain. (thanks to Susan Stephenson @BookChook for the link!)

Until last year, I didn’t realize that punctuality was a problem at school. It is not just a problem, but a big one. From Carol: It is difficult for many individuals who do not currently work in schools and/or have children in grades K-12 to understand the need to focus on attendance and attendance that includes punctuality! The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading recently featured online an article about Tackling Tardiness from Attendance Works; my favorite phrase was “perfectly punctual”….something there is lyrical and playful!

Perfectly punctual … Mary Poppins would be so proud! [Ms. Poppins is celebrating her fifth anniversary on Broadway this year!]

In the Literacy Research section, Carol included a link to “Are 21st century 5-year-olds cognitively ready to read?”, a post on The Answer Sheet, the Washington Posts’ educational blog. The author draws out points from a number of studies over a 25-year period (1974-2009). This particular finding really struck me. It starts out hopeful, but clearly doesn’t end that way.

Results showed no significant association between reading achievement and school entry age but, in countries with earlier starting ages, the achievement gap was larger for 15-year-olds. A few benefit from the early introduction. The students who depend on schools to become literate struggle even earlier—and longer.

While we’re on the subject of school, The “Intelligence Report” in the August 21, 2011 edition of Parade magazine asked the question: Is homework out of control? It’s a short piece that covers the science, cons, and pros of after-hours schoolwork.

This past weekend, Madonna Behen (the journalist who asked the homework question) had a cover story on 7 Ways You Can Improve Your Memory Now in the Sunday USA Weekend magazine. There is some really cool information, but this particular tip stuck out: “If you are having trouble learning and retaining new information on your computer screen … try changing the font to a style that’s harder to read.” Researchers at Princeton and Indiana University discovered that adults reading complicated text in an unfamiliar font scored better on tests than those who read in a popular typeface. If it is harder to read, then you concentrate more. Fascinating.

Our thanks to all of you for your interest in sharing your passion for literacy, creating bookworms, and spreading the news on various social media platforms! Thanks for reading.