Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – Mid-April Edition

Literacy Reading News RoundupWelcome to the first edition of the new bimonthly children’s literacy and reading news round-up brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub. As Jen had mentioned in March, she and her husband Mheir were expecting in June. Well, their new baby bookworm arrived last week, and Jen is enjoying the thrills of being a new mom for the near term.

Before Jen began her hiatus we talked about the roundups and tweaked our format. First, we will no longer regularly include a Grants and Donations section. Instead, we are going to focus on events that are unique, inspirational, or have national/global impact. We will rely on the monthly Roundup of New Resources to cover 21st Century Literacies, and our daily news updates to highlight other interesting information.

Because of the new format, our links to Nonfiction Monday and Poetry Friday hosts have lost their context. I have added a box with links to each of these popular events on the Book(re)Marks blog (our roundup archive) so that you will have ready access to the schedules at Picture Book of the Day and A Year of Reading, respectfully. To continue with our interest in closing with something positive, we’ll include some type of media presentation (most likely a video).

Last and certainly not least, Carol Rasco, President and CEO of Reading is Fundamental (RIF), and Susan Stephenson of the Book Chook and Literacy Lava volunteered to help with the Roundups during Jen’s hiatus. We are incredibly grateful and honored to have their energy and enthusiasm … so please stop by Rasco from RIF and Book Chook to welcome them aboard!


Now that we’ve borrowed books from our library this week … What? You haven’t gone yet? What are you waiting for? You will need them next week, because it is National TV Turnoff Week (April 19-25). Each year, millions of families round the globe turn off their television sets and computer screens (except for work) and find an alternate form of entertainment. The Center for Screen Time Awareness, which sponsors the event, has a fact sheet with data about screen time and very young children.

Literacy Programs & Research

The Sixty Second Parent has a nice video about the benefits of reading to preschoolers. What I particularly liked about the video (aside from the fact that it’s short) is that it offers practical, everyday ideas you can use to engage kids with language … from reading cereal boxes to cutting pictures from magazines. (via @60secondparent)

The Center for Research and Reform at Johns Hopkins University recently released the findings of the first randomized-assignment study of bilingual education for English Language Learners. The question: which is better/stronger/more helpful (pick your word) – English immersion or native language-English. Some of the students were followed as many as five years. The study findings (PDF) suggest that both are equally effective. According to Robert E. Slavin, the center’s director, “The conclusion is that one way or another, kids work it out to about the same degree.” You can read more discussion in Mary Ann Zehr’s Education Week article or the study itself (link above).

Tina Turbin booksIn an essay at Content Caboodle, author Tina Turbin (Danny the Dragon series) explains a mom’s role as a valuable asset to society. Although she touches on the “usual stuff” (making PB&J sandwiches, chauffering, et al), Tina’s emphasis is on the role moms – and parents, really – play in their kids futures. “Studies are more than ever showing that what parents do now will affect their children’s future … More than that, parental involvement such as staying in tight communication with teachers, participating in school or extracurricular activities, and especially reading to your child are proven ways to ensure that children end up not only literate, but also to make more likely to graduate from high school and attend college. When you look at it, the income-earning potential of your child is determined by how often you help him with his math homework, go to those PTA meetings, and read to him before bed. Now that’s a lot of responsibility.” She takes this one step further by asking us to look at our impact on society as a whole, too. Definitely worth a read.

There is a fascinating study about the use of peer storytelling as a literacy tool at the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) Portal. The study, presented as part of a conference on computer support for collaborative learning analyzes the interactions of preschool students with Sam, an “embodied conversational storyteller who tells stories in a developmentally advanced way.” Here is the key finding: “Storytelling in a context of peer collaboration provides a perfect place where children not only learn language skills important for literacy, but also learn to be critical listeners of others’ stories. Preliminary evaluation showed that by interacting with Sam, 5-year-old children’s stories more closely resembled Sam’s linguistically advanced stories with more quoted speech and temporal and spatial expressions. In addition, the children listened to Sam’s stories carefully, assisting her and giving suggestions on how to improve them. With Sam, children not only learned new linguistic behaviors that are important for literacy, but also to become critical listeners of other’s stories.” [note: Apparently this first came out in 2002, but it was new to me.]

That’s a Wrap …

Earlier this week we heard that Everybody Wins! DC’s Power Lunch program was going to be featured on NBC’s Nightly News With Brian Williams in the “Making A Difference” segment. Their segment was bumped for breaking news, and will come again soon. Instead, we’re going to close with talking about an event near and dear to our hearts: Operation TBD (Teen Book Drop).
Since 2008, Readergirlz (a literacy nonprofit) has sponsored this annual event that invites teens and Young Adult authors to leave a book in a public place. Each year, Operation TBD has donated 10,000 books to teen readers in need in pediatric hospitals around the country. This year, Operation TBD launches TODAY! Thursday, 15 April 2010. With Operation TBD 2008 Readergirlz partnered with YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association); for Operation TBD 2009, GuysLitWire became a partner; and this year If I Can Read I Can Do Anything has joined the team. This is a multi-faceted event, and this year, you can buy books from the TBD Wish Lists. Purchases go directly to two tribal school libraries. You’ll find everything you need – from bookplates to blog banners, a list of YA authors already committed to dropping a book, and much more at the readergirlz website. C’mon … there is nothing better you can do today! It’ll make you feel good all weekend long!

Thanks for your interest in literacy and reading. We would love your feedback on the new plan and revised categories … if there is something you particularly rely on us for, then PLEASE let us know and we’ll see what we can do to get it back into the mix.

Image Credit: No Television is a modified image from the Open ClipArt Library.

3 responses to “Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – Mid-April Edition

  1. This literacy news roundup is exactly what I’ve been searching for–all in one place! In fact, your whole site is awesome. 🙂 I’ve just linked to you in my literacy resources section. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Erin … and I see you’ve found the Book Chook, too! Susan is a WHIZ at creative literacy, particularly in ways to “exploit” computers to help kids develop basic skills. If you’d like an archive of what used to be weekly versions of the roundup, head over to Book(re)Marks. This has all the 2010 editions.

  2. Pingback: Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – MidApril 2010 | BOOK(re)MARKS
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