Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – mid-July 2011


Where to start with the greetings … happy Friday, happy Summer, happy gummie worm day! Hope you’re enjoying Air Conditioning Appreciation Days (lasts til 8/15), too.

Welcome to the mid-July Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, The Family Bookshelf, and Rasco from RIF. Over the month of June, Jen Robinson, Carol Rasco, and I have collected content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; and suggestions for growing bookworms.


Literacy & Reading-Related Events

For the first Friday in July (just before taking a summer blogging break) Jama Rattigan posted her late-June interview with Lee Bennett Hopkins. It is a lovely interview, and while you may know about all of his poetry anthologies (100+ to date), do you know his favorite color? favorite food? Go on over to Alphabet Soup and enjoy the feast! … If you’d like to see all of the Poetry Friday roundups from that week, head on over to a wrung sponge. This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Poetry Friday organizer Mary Lee Hahn at A Year of Reading.

Don’t know about you, but I smile when I see all the hoopla over Deathly Hallows Part II. A book started this mania! An article dubbed The Final Chapter in yesterday’s Washington Post Style Section captured it eloquently yesterday …

Feeling at once like an anti-climax and a spot-on send-off, the ultimate Harry Potter movie embodies all the elements that have made the franchise such a sturdy enterprise, from its cream-of-the-crop British cast to its lavish but unfussy illustration of a story that will always be captured best in readers’ imaginations. (Emphasis ours!)

That said, neither Carol, Jen, nor I have been able to keep up with all of the Harry-Potter-ish news, but Carol did find a piece from the June 29, 2011 edition of the Miami Herald that she found particularly interesting.  J.K. Rowling has created a Website For Her e-books. She will sell e-book editions of her iconic Harry Potter series exclusively on a new, interactive website called Pottermore. Fans become part of the wizarding world by including activities such as shopping for wands in Diagon Alley and being assigned to Hogwarts houses by the Sorting Hat.

Literacy Programs and Research

The Independent, a UK news source NOT hacking politicians’ phones nevertheless has equally scandalous news about the “growing gap between poorer and better-off students.” According to a recently completed study, three in five (60%!) of the poorest 11-year-0lds lack basic literacy skills. (via @TrevorHCairney)

Despite reports to the contrary, LeBron James has not completely forgotten his roots in Ohio. In a recent article in School Library Journal’s Extra Helping newsletter. For a number of years, Mr. James’ Foundation has had a “King for Kids Bike-a-thon” to encourage kids to get exercise. He has now retooled the program, which is called “Wheels for Education.” Three hundred and sixty lucky kids from Ohio’s Akron Public Schools will attend a two-week reading and technology camp this summer—and end up with a laptop, school supplies, and a bike.

And we quote: “Having children sound out words is not the best way to teach them to read.” Susan Stephenson (The Book Chook) sent us an article about a new study that concludes that the Phonetic method not a sound methodology for learning to read.  The researchers recommended teachers develop childrens’ word banks through reading instead. (via

While we’re talking phonics … Education Week also recently published the findings of a study on how sudden insights help kids learn words. What are sudden insights? Think “aha moment” not flashcards. “What we know is children are getting a lot of input from their world, and they are teasing out what information is useful or not useful,” said Janice H. Im, the interim chief program officer for Zero to Three: the National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. “If language experiences are not rich, then where is your interest to retain them?” The study’s findings suggest that children — and, in fact, all new language learners — can build up concrete vocabulary from interacting with a complex learning environment, not just repeated exposure to words in isolation.

Latino literacy expert Robert Rueda wishes more Latinos could discover literature when they are young. Many Latino youths don’t see the practical value in reading and never fulfill their potential, according to Mr. Rueda. To prevent that, Riverside County literacy officials are offering a reading program aimed at young Latinos called Un Libro, Mil Mundos, or One Book, a Thousand Worlds. The goal of the program is to spark a passion for reading in Latino students and improve literacy skills by offering books that focus on life matters they can relate to. You can read more in the Riverside Press-Enterprise and become a fan of the Riverside Public Library on Facebook to learn about upcoming Un Libro events.

Suggestions for Growing Bookworms

The Reading Rewards blog recently offered its Top Ten Tips on how to pick the best books for your kids.  Some of our favorite people and places are there: Read Aloud Dad, The Book Chook, Reading Rockets, and our very own Jen Robinson’s Book Page. In addition to the Children’s Choice Book Awards recommended in the article, we also recommend the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards (Cybils) short lists and winners. These are books nominated by people who read with the kids in their lives.

As Susan Stephenson points out in her post about children’s literature/literacy, and gardening, summer is not over yet. She also shares with us an article she found celebrating one family’s summer reading project. They are enjoying the stories offered in the library AND writing their own. It is a project that everyone – of all ages – can enjoy. You can follow the journey and get your weekly assignments at the Books for Walls Project website.

It has been a while since we’ve added a video … so in celebration of the BOOK that created the movie, here is a trailer for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II (this link to Warner Bros. site). The video below is the official HD trailer of “Harry Potter … the boy who lived.”

3 responses to “Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup – mid-July 2011

  1. Great stuff, Terry! Thanks for pulling it all together. I especially liked the Un Libro Mil Mundos program. (And your plug for the Cybils 😉 ).

  2. You’re welcome Jen … I think the Cybils offer such a wonderful perspective because these are the books we read with the kids in our lives – and recommend them based on the reactions they receive.

  3. Pingback: Rasco From RIF » Mid-July Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup!
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