Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – Mid-February 2011

Literacy Reading News Roundup

Welcome to the mid-February edition of the children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog, and Rasco from RIF is now available at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub. Over the past couple of weeks Jen Robinson and I have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events, programs, and research. Carol Rasco from RIF will have some reflection for these past 30-odd days and a look forward to next month.

There is a lot packed into this short little month, so let’s jump in …


Over at Playing by the Book, Zoe has wrapped all kinds of neat stuff into one event: a Librarithon. During her daughters’ midwinter school break (which begins today!), they will be visiting 14 public libraries in 3 counties. Zoe’s inspiration is not only World Book Day (this year being celebrated on 3 March in the UK), but also to show support for public libraries, many of which have been threatened with closure. To make it truly worthwhile, Zoe is raising money for Book Aid International, a nonprofit whose goal is to “increase access to books and supports literacy development and education in sub-Saharan Africa.”  Learn more at Playing by the Book and following Zoe’s travels @playbythebook (Twitter).

Cat in the Hat by Dr. SeussAlong similar lines, everyone is gearing up for Read Across America Day on March 2 … which also happens to be Dr. Seuss’ birthday. There are some great printables and activities at Seussville (sponsored by Random House). Our thanks to Chris Singer [@Book_Dads] for the link to the National Education Association and the History of Read Across America Day. [Image credit: Seussville]

Looking for a new read to commemorate the day? Then do check out the just-announced 2010 Cybils winners.  To a person, the folks that served on the panels and finalist judges have talked about how spirited the discussions are and how rewarding it is to participate. Picking winners from the finalist lists isn’t easy … so check that out, too. I was on the first-round panel for the Easy Reader / Short chapter category … When Category Organizer Anastasia Suen sent us the link to this post, well, I danced right along with Elephant and Piggie.

We routinely reference some of the articles in The Big Fresh, the Choice Literacy newsletter. This week, we’d like to point out Brenda Power’s opening piece that talks about “curating reading.”  Great food for thought. “I’ve never been a fan of the word facilitator to describe the work of a teacher.  It’s a slippery, cold, cardboard-thin word. Hard to imagine a person living in it, let alone one with a beating heart.  Now curator – that’s an easy word to fall in love with.  It sounds like a cross between care and cure.  With the right book, we can cure almost any literary ailment afflicting young readers in our care – boredom with the same characters, frustration that their current book is too difficult, confusion about how text features work in a favorite nonfiction text.”

Literacy Programs and Research

Our thanks to Geraldine at Tidy Books for her thought-provoking post Facebook in Schools? She offers links to multiple perspectives: parent, teacher, and student. From there, we discovered, a website that “information for educators, parents, carers, and young people. It is used to strengthen their awareness and understanding of what digital citizenship is and encourages users of technology to be and become responsible DIGItal citiZENS.”

A recent edition of Education Week’s Digital Directions offers a wonderful example of how Skype has become a valuable tool for students … as a way to connect language students with native speakers, conduct virtual field trips, and more. “What I’ve found is that the learning transcends the Skype environment,” Blaurock adds. “The kids saw a reason in a traditional classroom to learn. And Skype helped make that happen.”

At the Choice Literacy website, Franki Sibberson talks about using the web to find new ways into books, songs, and stories. She offers some specific examples of different ways to connect the web and books, as well as ways to move beyond reading as literacy. “I have always believed that songs are critical to literacy development. Songs can be found all over the web, and accessed in different ways.” Then she goes on to talk about videos.

Gaston Caperton, former WV governor and current College Board president recently announced the State Capitals Campaign, a complement to the companies 55 by 25 (55% of young Americans earn a college degree by 2025). “Each stop of the campaign will bring together policymakers, educators and business leaders with the common goal of improving college success, especially for low-income and minority students, in the face of budget constraints, rising costs, and expanding enrollment. The campaign will celebrate successful and innovative policies and programs within each state that align with the 10 recommendations in the College Completion Agenda Progress Report and State Policy Guide.” (The Huffington Post via RSS Owl)

Unwrapping Literacy

No videos this time … just a look forward and back. Susan Fourtaine, in a recent post for Internet Evolution, brought us up to date on a cross-continent pilot project where Kindles to K-12 schools in Florida, and Ghana.  “In Africa, thousands of books by African authors have become available to international readers for less than $5 a piece. Random House donated thousands of titles.” Susan’s article is packed with additional links … well worth the read for anyone interested in Literacy 2.0.

In a letter to the editor of The Notebook (an online resource sponsored by the Philadelphia Public School system), Temple University Professor Gloria Endres talks about the value of learning Latin in school … at the elementary level.  She offers some interesting stats and closes with this “literacy is not taught in a vacuum.” Carpe diem!

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