Children’s Literacy & Reading News Roundup – mid-January Edition

Welcome to the mid-January edition of the Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup.  Jen Robinson’s Book Page, The Family Bookshelf, and Quietly share in publishing this twice-monthly collection.

We’re just a few weeks into the new year. There is still time to read Carol’s 2012 End-of-Year Roundup. Click on over, then come on back. We’ll wait for you.

Children’s Literacy & Reading-Related Events

MLK Day of ServiceAlthough not directly related to literacy, next Monday is the Martin Luther King Day of Service. Helping others develop their literacy skills is a service to others. Learn more about opportunities or find a project in your area by going to 

For those of a certain age (50+), another opportunity is to volunteer with Experience Corps. There is a feature on Experience Corps efforts to improve youth literacy in Chicago in the January/February AARP Bulletin. (via @CreatetheGood)

international-book-giving-day-poster for children's literacyBefore you know it, Valentines Day will be here. It is SO much bigger than a box of chocolates! In addition to the announcement of the Cybils winners, it is also International Book Giving Day. The idea is very simple: give a book, leave a book, and/or donate a book. There is lots of info available …

children's literacy project March 2013This year LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day is March 6, 2013. In her post Authors Wanted: A call for Skype volunteers for World Read Aloud Day 2013, author Kate Messner is not only participating she’s organizing  authors of traditionally published books who “would like to spend part of the day Skyping with classrooms around the world to share the joy of reading aloud.”  Deadline to participate is February 1, 2013. See Kate’s post to get the specifics on who to email and the format to use.

If you’re looking for inspiration on the impact an author visit can have on a child, then check out Jarrett Krosoczka‘s TED talk. His is a powerful personal story. A simple “nice cat” comment from author Jack Gantos started an amazing journey. Zoe Toft has a collection of TED talks with  authors and illustrators related to children’s books at Playing By the Book, too! Shout out to Susan Stephenson for the links!

children's literacy by McdonaldsHungry for books? McDonald’s has launched a Happy Readers campaign, replacing toys with books in its Happy Meals in restaurants in the UK. Depending on the article, the company is giving away 14 or 15 million books. Childhood obesity aside, I am a little skeptical of McDonald’s motivation.
This is McDonald’s second “effort” at a literacy campaign [they ran a self-described ‘pilot program’ last year]. Chick Fil-A has been doing this consistently for years … including Doris Kindersley books like the ones shown in the photo above. (image source: Haymarket Media article)
Students from the OLC School children's literacy project by scholasticAs you may remember, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,  Scholastic pledged 1 MILLION books through its Book Grants program. Last week, more than 100 schools from New York and New Jergey started picking up their books. Each school received between 500 and 10,000 books for their school and classroom libraries to replace lost books. See more pictures like this one in the Scholastic Media Room. [image source: Scholastic]

Children’s Literacy Programs and Research

Yesterday Scholastic released the fourth edition of its  Kids & Family Reading Report. In this national survey  kids ages 6 to 17 and their parents share details about their reading (and eReading) habits and attitudes. As you might expect, stats related to eBooks have gone up significantly. So I was happy to see this among the findings:

Eighty percent of kids who read ebooks still read books for fun primarily in print.

Read the findings, download the full report, or get links to the first three reports (2006, 2008, 2010) – at

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is offering grants up to $15,000 to family literacy providers in 40 states. Family literacy includes services for adult education, children’s education, parenting classes, and Child-and-Parent Together (PACT) time. Visit the website to learn more. The application deadline is 2/28/2013. (via @NCFLiteracy)

420-experience-corps.imgcache.rev1327439158338The aforementioned Experience Corps is a year-round literacy program with more than 2,000 volunteers in 19 cities. In Chicago, the emphasis is on the coming school year. AARP Experience Corps‘ goal is to recruit 500 to 600 volunteers to work with teachers in 25 public schools beginning in September. Learn more here.

We are likely on the proverbial front end of the research, analysis, and discussions regarding kids and screens. Day Nurseries (UK) cites an American Academy of Pediatrics study looking at the effects of screens on children between 3 and 18 months of age. Among the findings are “a range of possible long-term implications upon both mental and physical health,” including developmental delays and autism to a loss of creative thinking and problem solving to obesity. The article is well worth a read.

Lit Launchpad logoI second Jen’s Tweet saying that Amy’s article about The Reading Race is well worth a read. Amy shares her personal experience of the dilemma between heart and brain on where her son “should” be as a reader. She has a great quote from Jim Trelease, but I love her own thought: “it doesn’t matter when a child learns to read, it matters how much they learn to love reading.”

In case you need a new prediction: Will Smartphones Will Replace Car Keys by 2015? No, that isn’t literacy, but it is interesting to read side-by-side with Lauren Barack’s article in SLJ’s  Digital Shift: High School Students Use Cell Phones in Class. According to a University of Haifa study of nearly 600 students at three high schools (grades 9 to 12),

  • 95 percent said they regularly sent emails or texts during classroom lessons,
  • 94 percent said they browsed file-sharing sites or social media sites like Facebook;
  • 93 percent said they listen to music; and
  • 91 percent admitted to talking on their phones during class. [emphasis mine]

According to the article, the study’s findings highlight the need to engage kids during class time … with or without technology.

Source: WIRED

Ironically, just as I finished reading the SLJ article, I saw this tweet by @SocialMed_Ntate “I’ve been waiting to be introduced to an article like this for a long, long time.”

The article is an August 2009 WIRED article by Clive Thompson about how, as a result of access to technology and social media, “young people today write far more than any generation before them.”

Suggestions for Growing Bookworms

What would we do without Susan Stephenson (aka The Book Chook)? She recently sent us a note with a link to Larry Ferlazzo’s post filled with “the best fun videos about books and reading.” I have to say, though, that my favorite was not a video, but the slideshow for A Maze Grows in London. I wouldn’t want to have to reshelve those 250,000 books, though.

book ambulanceGrowing Book by Book has a lovely article with 5 Ideas for Organizing Books To Promote Toddler Interaction. It starts with the question How many of us made a resolution to become more organized? Then offers five, very doable ideas for making books accessible for toddlers. My personal fave is the Book Ambulance (pictured left).

Speaking of resolutions, one of mine for the year is to read more nonfiction for middle grade readers. Being a judge for the Cybils Nonfiction Middle Grade/Young Adult category is a help. So is Katie Bircher’s article Nonfiction Apps for Middle Graders in the current edition of  Notes from the Horn Book.

While we’re talking nonfiction for kids … earlier this month, Betsy Bird (A Fuse #8 Production) moderated a panel “Ethics and Nonfiction,” which focused on writing juvenile nonfiction that is “both entertaining and enlightening, but … is both factually accurate and enjoyable.”

Photo of panelists (left to right) Meghan McCarthy, Susan Kuklin, Sue Macy, and Deborah Heiligman.

In a recent edition of SLJ’s Extra Helping Tim Wadhan has a wonderful collection of Books to Build Connections with Latino Culture. The list is for readers in Kindergarten through high school and for every book on the list, Tim has activity ideas. The collection is diverse and includes everything from folklore and retelling Homer’s Odyessy within a Latino culture to biographies, poetry, and family stories.

Phew! It’s been a busy month already!

Thanks for your interest in our ongoing efforts to share children’s literacy and reading news and for so generously sharing it on social media.Be sure to stop by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Quietly in the next few days, as I’m sure both Jen and Carol will have some additional items to share.


3 responses to “Children’s Literacy & Reading News Roundup – mid-January Edition

  1. What a great, great Roundup, Terry…I had missed several of these items and was so glad to catch up!

    1. When I started putting it together I had no idea just how much stuff had already happened in these first two weeks of the year. I’m hoping that it is a good sign.

      So glad you stopped by Carol! I loved (and then pinned) that great illustration of the kids reading in the woods that I found on your blog. The falling snow is cool, too.

  2. Susan Stephenson thinks, “what would we do without Terry/Jen/Carol’s great literacy roundups?” – so we’re square!

    Heartened by those Scholastic results too.

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