Updated: Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup Mid-January 2011 (part 1)

Literacy Reading News RoundupWelcome to the first children’s literacy and reading news round-up of 2011. As regular readers know, this is a collaborative project brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, and Rasco from RIF. With the holidays and all the first-of-the-the-year announcements – 2010 Cybils finalists, Lee Wind’s and MotherReader’s Comment Challenge, the ALSC Media Awards – we decided to start the new year in the middle of the month.

Never fear, over the past month Jen Robinson, Carol Rasco, and I have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; and suggestions for growing bookworms. In fact, we have collected so much that Jen and I are splitting the Roundup! Today I’ll have the events, some literacy programs news, and Unwrapping Literacy. Tomorrow (and I’ll be back to update the link) Jen has more literacy program news and suggestions for growing bookworms at Jen Robinson’s Book Page.


Last week, Carol had a jam-packed post with some reflection for 2010 and thoughts about the coming year. It is a lovely post (which opens with a picture of books shaped into a Christmas tree! And if you scroll down toward the bottom, you’ll see her Looking Ahead section has events, festivals, and celebrations from now THROUGH April. Thanks Carol!

Jennifer S. Wilkov, media personality & host of the popular “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio just launched 52 Ways to Give Back with Books, a web series featuring a new program each week during 2011. Her first entry profiles Reading Tree. Their mission: “we collect books from families who no longer want them, and deliver them to children, families, schools and libraries that desperately need them.” (via Jenny Schwartzberg)

ALA News announced “As part of her presidential initiatives, ALA President Roberta Stevens launched a video contest for teens at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in San Diego. Why I Need My Library, which runs through April 18, encourages teens ages 13 to 18 to create original videos on why they think libraries are needed now more than ever.” Doesn’t that sound fun? Carol found this link, and thought it was especially important to promote, given the way that library funding is under siege right now.

Have you heard about the Heap the Honda event? It is part of Family Literacy Week in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Jenny Schwartzberg sent us this fun article about this event where people are encouraged to “donate new or used children’s books that are in good shape. The goal is to fill a Honda Ridgeline truck by Jan. 29 with books to go to kids in the community” of Kamloops British Columbia.

Literacy Programs and Research

Via First Book we found an Education World article about a recent international study that found that “The presence of books in the home has a greater influence on a child’s level of education than does the parents’ income, nationality, or level of education”, and a greater influence than previously imagined. The article includes several hypotheses on why the mere presence of books in the home has such a significant impact on children’s future educational levels, but it certainly makes sense to us intuitively. Further justification for RIF, Reach Out and Read, First Book, the Reading Tub, and other programs that give books to kids!

Our thanks to Susan Stephenson (The Book Chook) for the link to Innovative Literacy Projects. This international initiative is sponsored by Google, LitCam (The Literacy Campaign of the Frankfurt Book Fair), and the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, among others.

Unwrapping Literacy

Thank you Joyce Grant for alerting us to this PSA in her Reading Keeps Those Characters Alive post at Getting Kids Reading. I will echo Joyce’s thoughts: “It really touched me and I want everyone to see it, so please do share it.” It is an interesting contrast with Grant Wiggins’ article about banning fiction in schools … so eloquently countered by Angela Maiers.

The Library of Congress, Disney, and the Ad Council are joining forces for a multimedia campaign to promote reading.  This Huffington Post article has a great video with Rapunzel (of Tangled fame).

If Rapunzel isn’t available to be your role model, then do check out Franki Sibberson’s (A Year of Reading) interview/podcast  with Donalyn Miller (The Book Whisperer) at Choice Literacy. Donalyn and Franki talk about how teachers can model a literate life, but it is equally valuable for parents, too. It is worth 7 minutes to listen to Donalyn Miller on Modeling Literate Lives. You can also read the transcript.  “It’s letting them know that reading is something that I find is worth losing sleep over.” ‘Nuf said. (via The Big Fresh, 15 January 2011)

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