Children’s Literacy and ReadingNews Roundup – 28 September

Literacy Reading News RoundupWelcome to the first third edition of our reformatted weekly children’s literacy and reading news round-up, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog.  Jen and I collected plenty of content for you about literacy and reading-related events; raising readers; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; and grants, sponsorships and donations. Updated to correct the edition. Proof that writing at 9:30 PM may not be good for your health.!

national_book_2009This past weekend, those lucky enough to live in/around Washington, DC – and to have extra sturdy umbrellas – got to enjoy the National Book Festival. Sara Lewis Holmes has a great photo/tweet album from her day at the Festival on Read, Write Believe. Can you find Pam (aka Mother Reader) in the photo of Mo Willems reading Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed? The highlight of the day – and what made a post-event mention so appealing was the unveiling of The Exquisite Corpse Adventure. Every two weeks, authors and illustrators  will release new episodes in this year-long saga. … which I’ve seen a lot, but heard most about from Carol Rasco in her Muse Flash at Rasco from RIF. There are lots of fun activities to go along with the adventure. The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance – one of the co-sponsors of the project, has a great post with details about the reading AND a photo of the panel. Brilliant! The train is pulling out of the station … climb on board.

Readergirlz Teen Read WeekSpeaking of awesome, have you marked your calendar for Teen Read Week? Not yet? Better hurry. Here’s an update since Jen’s Wednesday Afternoon visit post. One of the events for the week is a Tribute. From Holly Cupola: If you love Teen Read Week, let it out at your blog through a post or vlog, then send the link to readergirlz [at] gmail [Dot] com.  Put in the subject line: Your name, TRW Tribute. We’ll collect all the contributions and post them at the rgz blog in a 24 hour time span. Tell us about your recent release, or a book you love dearly, and then give a shout out for Teen Read Week. The tribute will run October 23, 2009 and all submissions must be received by October 20, 2009.

Folks have been writing about Banned Book Week for more than a week now, even though the event just started Saturday (Sep 26). I hadn’t planned to write anything, but then I had a tweet from @MitaliPerkins and a post was born. I’ve got links in Let’s Celebrate Reading, but I want to repeat a line that is near and dear to my heart. In Day One of the Best Week Ever (aka Banned Book Week) Susan Kusel opens with: “[This is the] best week ever for promoting books with young readers.”

BBBheaderThis post title certainly caught Jen’s attention (and kind of made her wish she still lived in Boston): Boston, Books and Baseball. Get in the Game–Read reports “Everybody Wins! Metro Boston will be holding their 7th annual fundraiser–Boston, Books, and Baseball, at the State Street Pavilion at Fenway Park on November 19th. A Leaders for Literacy reception will be held from 6-7pm with special offers and prizes followed by the general reception which will feature food, entertainment, and fantastic auction items.” Speaking of the Sawx, Kara Schaff Dean has an An Open Letter to Dan Gutman, where she asks him to consider an adventure with “The Splended Splinter, The Kid, The Greatest Hitter Ever (er….evah!).” Don’t know who that is? Gotta go to Not Just for Kids.

Literacy & Reading Programs & Research
Members of the Cabinet are traveling throughout the United States as part of President Obama’s National Conversation on Fatherhood. This past week, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said that dads need to get involved in their children’s education. “Fathers desperately need to be involved in their children’s education. There’s just this tremendous untapped potential and power here…We need to turn those TVs off at night, we need to engage with our children, we need to read to them.”

Education World has a summary of ideas from an informal survey of families about what Parents Want Teachers to Know. Parental interests focus on approaching their children and the parent-teacher relationship with respect and open communication. “Remember that I am not a perfect parent, and you are not a perfect teacher, but we are working together for the best of this child.” (Via Choice Literacy)

Choice Literacy is celebrating – and so are we – teachers/authors/Ohio Kidlitters Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn. Scholastic chose A Year of Reading as one of the Top 20 Blogs for Teachers. Franki and Mary Lee are the “Best for Kid Book Reviews.”

If you’re looking for an exhaustive list of resources (books, websites) related to being a literacy coach, you’re going to want to bookmark Inspiring Books for Coaches and Mentors at Laura Benson’s Open Book blog. Wow! Laura has subcategories for language and vocabulary, understanding and comprehsension, writing, and specific subject areas.

Tucked away in an $87 billion higher education bill is an $8 billion for Early Learning Challenge Fund, a broad new federal initiative aimed not at benefiting college students, but at raising quality in the early learning and care programs that serve children from birth through age 5. Thanks to Rocket Blasts (@ReadingRockets) for the link to the New York Times article.

Brian posed this question on the Literacy News website: What 3 behaviors will you try to avoid because they may limit literacy development? and surprisingly, there hasn’t been a big discussion about it. My favorite answer is to avoid watching television. Where have I heard that recently?

The Calgary Herald shares the story of a toddler, her grandparents, and the fun she had at a neighborhood literacy program called the Magic Carpet Ride. The article also talks about how the Magic Carpet Ride Boosts Pre-Literacy Skills by using stories, songs, and games to encourage literacy skills with preschoolers. (Via Reading Rockets)

In a recent article on WNYC (NPR), Beth Fertig takes us into the classroom of PS30 where teacher Sandy Wong is piloting the Core Knowledge Early Literacy Program. Here’s what Ms. Wong had to say: “[I am] exposing them to a rich vocabulary … it’s not just me reading to them, they’re actually using [these words – like stingy, startled, bounce] in their daily lives.” The Kindergartners in the pilot will continue to use this program through second grade to see if it makes a difference. You can listen to the report in Early Start for Reading (via Reading Rockets News Blast)

Sarah Stevenson at Finding Wonderland reports: “The folks at tipped me off to a VERY cool initiative called The Comic Book Project, which is ‘an arts-based literacy and learning initiative hosted by the nonprofit Center for Educational Pathways with materials published by Dark Horse Comics. The goal of the project is to help children forge an alternative pathway to literacy by writing, designing, and publishing original comic books.’ Learning how to make comic books in school, as a learning tool–I love this idea so much, and kudos to those involved.”

Vicki Sheeler has a nice article  in the Fayetteville Observer about the Undying Bond between Cildren and Animals in Books. Ms. Sheeler, who is the youth services librarian at the Hope Mills Branch Library, pulled together a list of books where the starring animal acts somewhat differently from what is normally expected. “[Because of this, these books are] all the more fun and stimulates the imagination.” (via Reading Rockets)

21st Century Literacies
Sometimes 20th Century tools are just what you need. At Literacy, Families and Learning, Trevor Cairney tells us about his efforts to help a former student gather more information about “text sets.” Trevor defines a text set as “a collection of texts that are usually (but not always) books that deal with a single topic that children use for research and writing. It is accompanied by instructions that students follow to guide their research and writing.” He then offers examples of how to put the set together so kids can do the research. As you might expect, Trevor was ready for your question why not just use the web? “The skills required for online literacy are different to traditional study and research skills. Oh! And the library has cool things you can’t get online.

There is an interesting discussion about Edu2.0 over at DHRhoads’ blog. In Literacy Check, DHRhoads poses this question: Will Edu2.0 make you more literate or is using Edu2.0 (for example) a literacy in itself? There are a lot of perspectives being considered from basic “green-ness” to collaboration. This is an interesting conversation to read as a complement to Trevor’s post.

In recognition of the tools we use to help kids learn — and the tools they are exploring themselves — Mary Lee has changed the name of her writing workshop to Composing Workshop. As Mary Lee points out, there is plenty of room to meet your district’s requirements and get your kids hooked on writing with new tools. She draws on comments to her partner Franki’s post about her students’ reactions to a book fair video and then illustrates her point by creating her own video … with puppies!

Not everything floated away in Atlanta last week. Jen found Kathy’s musings about 21st Century learning tools at Library Stew. Kathy describes how she uses some of the more popular tools, and notes that while she can’t use them at school (because many are blocked), she would love to teach teachers how to use them because “the kids are using them at home, wouldn’t it be great if we could teach them that they could be doing a little learning too while using some of these!”

Grants and Donations
For the second time in five years, The University of Texas at San Antonio’s College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) has been selected to provide educational materials and teacher training to improve literacy rates of children on the African continent.

The three-year, $13 million cooperative agreement between COEHD and the Republic of Malawi is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is the largest amount of funding COEHD has received to date. (via

Jenny from Jenny’s Wonderland of Books tipped us off to a great article by Serena Solomon in the New York Times Book Blog about a children’s book pantry (a store where donated books are given away free to kids) at the YWCA in Orange. “Ms. Lukoff’s book pantry is available to any child and even adults who are in need of a good read. However, it is aimed at getting children from low-income families to love and value reading. Teachers, too, are welcome to pick up a box to distribute to their classes, she said.”

Facts First! Nonficton MondayThis week Wendie O has the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Wendie’s Wanderings.

14 responses to “Children’s Literacy and ReadingNews Roundup – 28 September

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  6. Thanks for the link to my NBF post! I wish everyone could’ve been there, although then we couldn’t have fit under the tents when it rained. 🙂

    And wow! for that news about A Year of Reading making the Top 20 Teacher’s Blogs. That’s so well deserved.

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  8. Thanks for promoting the Exquisite Corpse! And I do appreciate having juxtaposed paragraphs about “old” and “new” tools and strategies…great food for thought.

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