Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – mid-June 2010

Literacy Reading News Roundup Welcome to the sixth 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 their new Baby Bookworm to arrive this month. With Baby Bookworm now home, Jen is still enjoying the best of both worlds … as a mom and a reader. She periodically sneaks a peak at what’s going on in the Kidlitosphere … so just in case she’s reading, here’s what’s going on!
Roundups aren’t quite the same without Jen, so I was particularly tickled Sunday when I saw the @JensBookPage Tweet about the Coolest Bookstore, with a link to this Mercury News article about teacher Nan Caldwell and the bookstore run by her second graders. (thanks @Franki22 aka Franki Sibberson)


With Father’s Day just around the corner, I thought I’d round up some links where dads talk about reading with their kids. I WAS going to draw your attention to a cool MEME I discovered about dads, kids, and books a couple Fridays ago, but when I went back to find it I hadn’t saved it! [Hate when that happens.]

Open ClipArt of dads

  • Because we tend to think about here-and-now, you may have missed this March 2007 post about why dads should read to their children at Be a Good Dad. I love all of Good Dad’s points, but this one seems especially apropos for Father’s Day: “The physical closeness of story time and the cuddling are going to bring you closer to your kids. You will end up tickling them more often. You will end up hugging them more often. You will stroke their hair more often. That’s called bonding and your kids will love you for it.”
  • As the great folks at Colorín Colorado point out, “there is nothing like reading a favorite story with Dad or Grandpa!” They even offer a Father’s Day booklist, with stories from a number of different cultures on their website. [They also have a new bilingual soccer booklist in honor of the World Cup.] [image credit: ArtFavor on]

Summer is already here for some of us and just around the corner for the rest. There is a lot of chatter on the Web about the summer reading (link to my own post at Booklights). Why? Because we want the best for the kids in our lives, and reading can help them get there. Here are some spots to find some really great suggestions.

I don’t know about you, but I was shocked to learn (via Liz B @ Tea Cozy) that Ireland has just named its first Children’sLlaureate (Laureate na nÓg). The video is fabulous, and Siobhan Parkinson will grab you with any number of observations. I loved this one: My wish as laureate would be that every child in the country would have access to a nice, bright, warm, cheerful, comfortable library where they can go and find the books that are going to open their minds and bring them off to wonderful imaginary places. That sense of excitement and that sense of joy over books I want every child to talk about and not all children do get that.
first book drive to give away children's booksFirst Book and the family of Cheerios cereals have teamed up with Jon Scieszka, author of Junkyard Fort and the former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, to help distribute 100,000 books to children in need across the country. By answering the trivia questions featured in the challenge, you can help select the states that will receive new books for local kids. Visit today to be a part of the 100,000 Book Giveaway!
Here’s another Giveaway … From now until 24 September 2010, teachers can sign up at for a chance to win a graphic novel prize package. The grand prize is a $1,000 package, second place is a $300 package, and two runner ups will each receive a $100 package. Each package comprises award-winning children’s graphic novels and titles designed to motivate reluctant readers. Every signup is an entry, so schools may enter multiple times. Learn more at

Literacy Programs and Research

If you are rethinking your library (personal, school, classroom) or trying to deal with the bulging bookshelves and carpet of books, you might consider donating your gently used books to Kingston Springs Elementary School in Nashville, TN. As you may remember from Give a Book Help a School, Shelli Johannes’ post at Market My Words, this elementary – and many others – suffered unspeakable losses during the May 2010 floods.
According to this June 11, 2010 Angola Press announcement, nearly 5,000 citizens in Caxito (Northern Bengo Province) attended literacy lessons this year. “In 2009 8,460 people were enrolled, 4,014 of whom ended the academic year with good result, being 1,066 men and 2,948 women.” Pretty impressive.
The headline for a new (UK) National Literacy Trust study is that children as young as seven are more likely to own a mobile phone than a book. The meat of the article, though, points to other more valuable data. Ninety-three percent of the 17,000 students (ages 6 to 16) had books of their own AND believed that reading was important to succeed in life. For those who didn’t own books, only 80 percent saw reading as important to life success. Please do read Sarah Harris’ article in The UK Daily Mail, as she contrasts the NLT effort with recent US and Australian studies.
Kati Haycock’s quote about the impact of teachers on student success (2010 Literacy Trust study) has resurfaced (Bacon’s Rebellion 26 May 2010 and Newsweek March 2010) as the discussions of education funding start heating up. Here is the quote

The research shows that kids who have two, three, four strong teachers in a row will eventually excel, no matter what their background, while kids who have even two weak teachers in a row will never recover.

There is another interesting analysis of the teacher-student relationship in the recent edition of Science Centric. This time, the study looked at how a teachers’ confidence in their teaching abilities affected children’s learning progression in language and literacy skills. After 30 weeks …

  • students whose teachers had high self-efficacy showed gains in one measure of early literary skills called print awareness, in which students were asked questions like ‘Show me just one letter on this page.’
  • children only showed gains in vocabulary knowledge skills when they had a classroom that offered emotional support in addition to having a teacher with high self-efficacy.

Can a child be too young to learn to read? Sarah Ebner recently posed this question in an article for the Times (UK) Online. In Wales, children follow a play-based curriculum until they are seven. Because of the findings of a recent study (could not find it online), the debate about the impact of early schooling – particularly as it relates to learning to read – is heating up. As you might imagine, there are well-entrenched positions on both sides. This is a perfect article to read alongside a BBC broadcast (video) about why Finland’s schools get the best results.
The Metropolitan Nashville District school system decided that rather than try to force students to fit their model, they are changing their model to fit the students’ needs. After looking at a 72 percent graduation rate (2008), Superintendent Jesse Register went behind the numbers to see what was going on. What he found were English-language learners, young parents, or teens being raised by single parents; and most were working full or part time to help make ends meet. Last year, he established the Academy at Opry Hills, a nontraditional high school built around a modified structure that meets these kids’ needs in a way that keeps them in school through graduation. You can read more in Dakarai I. Aaarons’ article in Education Week.

Un-Wrapping Literacy

I sure could use your help coming up with a real title for this section (hint! hint!)
I love the 60 Second Parent channel on YouTube. Whatever the topic, the advice is not only practical, it is action-oriented. This video is about reading aloud with your child. Be sure to check out the kinds of things to read (hint: it’s more than just books).
adventures of flat stanleyDo you (or your kids) love Stanley Lambchop? Christianne shares the story (and photos) of Flat E at Little Page Turners. Flat E is a twist on the Flat Stanley stories by Jeff Brown that have been the basis of social studies projects for decades. Are you up for some new adventures? With summer here, I could totally see a Fractured Flat Stanley MEME. Are you in?

Note: Book titles and cover images link to, with which the Reading Tub has an affiliate relationship. The Reading Tub may earn income from purchases through those links, though you are under no obligation to buy the book or use the link.

14 responses to “Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – mid-June 2010

  1. What a great roundup, Terry! Clearly you don't need me at all. Seriously, though, I do miss it, and hope to be back soon. Hope you guys have a nice Father's Day.

    1. Oh, I don't know about that Jen! Every time I spot something on Twitter or one of the alerts, I think "Jen would pull this." Going bi-monthly is harder in some ways because we raised the bar, but I do like the extra time. Happy Father's Day to Mheir, too!

  2. Pingback: Bill_Lord's Bookmarks on Delicious
Comments are closed.