Just Read This: #Literacy & #Reading News, Jan 2020

monthly literacy reading newsletterHard to believe that January is in our rear view mirror. Already.

As you might remember from this post, we are launching a newsletter-ish post to recap what’s happening in the worlds of family reading and literacy.

The goal: explain literacy concepts and offer ideas that support your efforts to help your child become a strong reader.

The roundup will be concise, relevant to everyday life, and easy to bookmark (hint!). Every edition will do three things:

  • Answer a topical question. Label: “What is …”
  • Share research and best practices. Label: News to Use
  • Give you reading and book suggestions. Label: Let’s Read!

Sometimes these items overlap and point you to areas of the Reading Tub where we have new information and resources. For example, several reports this month explain how powerful graphic novels are as literacy tools. So in our Let’s Get Reading section, we include a link to some graphic novel resources on the website.

Let’s jump in, shall we?


What is a Striving Reader?

I LOVE these two words together. I first saw the phrase in Tammy Mulligan’s post Are Your Striving Readers Helping Others? (Nerdy Book Club).

A striving reader

struggles with success because of a lack of motivation or interest; skill deficiency (e.g., vocabulary, comprehension); a medical or learning disability; or combination of these factors.

If we have to have a label, shouldn’t it suggest growth instead of limits? Striving Reader is far more empowering – and accurate – than “reluctant reader” or “remedial reader,” terms we more commonly hear. Tammy’s article has ideas for ways teachers can create opportunities for striving readers in the classroom. Some of these ideas can be used at home, too. Here are a few adaptations to get you started:

  • Read to younger siblings. “Baby brother seems restless, could you read to him? The sound of your voice might calm him down.”
  • Read to pets. “I’ll bet Billy Betta would love a good story. What kind of books do you think he likes? Can you pick 3 of your favorites?”
  • Create recordings. “I’m going on a business trip next week. It would be nice to have a bedtime story. Can you pick a book to read and I can take the recording with me?”

News to Use

Headline: Audiobooks or Reading? To Our Brains, It Doesn’t Matter by Jennifer Walter, Discover Magazine

New evidence suggests that, to our brains, reading and hearing a story might not be so different.

Impact: As this Telegraph (UK) article explains, the study’s findings have potential in helping readers who are dyslexic or have auditory processing disorder.


Headline: Why You Should Encourage Your Child’s Love of Graphic Novels Sarah Lindenfeld Hall, originally in Parents magazine [link to Yahoo! Lifestyle]

Kids who read graphic novels are move likely to develop a love of reading.

Impact: In the article, author Raina Telgemeier explains how kids have to “work harder” to read graphics. Why? Because the story is contained not only in the words, but the illustrations, too. The research isn’t new! A 2013 study found that reading comprehension and recall improve; and a 2014 study tested vocabulary levels and concluded that graphics have more complex words compared to “traditional” children’s literature.

Let’s Read

This month, we have added 35 new book lists to the portal! The collection is continually evolving, and these are just a few of our newest additions from some of our favorite – and most trusted! – reading recommendation sources.

Recommendations for Comics and Graphic Novels (20 lists)
Recommendations for #OWNVOICES books (3 Lists)
Recommendations for Infants and Toddlers
A Few (more) Recommendations

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