Welcome to the post-Snowmaggedon edition of the 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. This week Jen Robinson and I have collected plenty of content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; 21st century literacies; and grants, sponsorships & donations.
For those of us looking for something to do on a snowy Monday, look no further than Who’s the Baker? an activity Valerie created when she was a student teacher. As Valerie says, “While this activity isn’t exclusively related to children’s literacy, it lends itself well and can be teamed up with some great cookie or baking themed stories.” Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You Eat? anyone?
In a campaign that is near and dear to our hearts, Change.org has submitted the idea for a national Read to Kids campaign that could engage national and local literacy organizations, schools, teachers, parents, authors, publishers and nearly every sector of business and society that understands that our nation’s future depends on our children’s literacy skills. The 10 most popular ideas will be presented at an event in Washington, DC to relevant members of the Obama Administration! Take a minute, vote, and then come back to keep reading. (via Liddle Bee Books blog)
As you know from our Booklights posts last week, we have writing on the mind. In Jen’s Literacy Lights around the Kidlitosphere and my Prompt Idea column, we both offered ways to bring literacy to life with writing. So, it only seems logical that we would highlight the PBS Kids Go! Writers Contest. “Kids in kindergarten, first, second or third grade can submit their original illustrated stories to their local public television station (check to find nearest partipating stations).
Speaking of contests … Hooray for Books Bookstore (Alexandria, VA) is sponsoring a contest in celebration of Theodor Geisel’s birthdayon March 2, 2010. ” From their Facebook fan page: “Calling all Dr. Seuss fans! To celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday, which is March 2, we invite you to submit your Seussian poems to Hooray For Books! by Saturday, February 27 for consideration in our first-ever Dr. Seuss Contest! If you can’t yet write, draw us a picture of a Seussian-type character. We’ll post the winning poem on our website for the month of March and display all entries in our storytime area during that month.”
Now this is cool! The Center for the Book and theChildren’s Book Council have announced a contest where schools and libraries can win a visit by National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Katherine Paterson. The entry is a 250-words-or-less description that “explains what type of event you would develop if Katherine Paterson were to visit.” Learn more at the National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance website.
The PaperTigers team, staunch advocates of global literacy, have launched the Spirit of Paper Tigers Project. According to the project announcement, “The idea is to donate 100 book sets of 7 carefully selected multicultural books to libraries and schools in areas of need across the globe.” You can view the list of selected titles here.
Speaking of global literacy, literacy nonprofit LitWorld says: “March 3, 2010 has been established as LitWorld’s first World Read Aloud Day to celebrate and encourage the invaluable practice of reading aloud and to bring attention to the importance of literacy across all countries and for all of humanity.” Link via @PamAllyn.
This one is part event, part literacy program … and a little football, too. Thanks to Barbara Hendel’s article in the Toledo Blade, we discovered the Second and Seven Foundation in Columbus, OH. The Foundation, created by three former Ohio State University players, promotes literacy throughout Central Ohio. “The modern definition of literacy is the ability to read, write, use computers, and evaluate information found on the internet. With that in mind, we created the ‘Tackle Illiteracy’ program. Each week during the school year, we travel with various student-athletes from The Ohio State University to different elementary schools in Columbus and read to the entire 2nd grade class. After we discuss the importance of reading, we give each child a book that they can take home and read for fun.” We love that it includes current and former players!!
Literacy Programs & Research
In her post about Katherine Paterson’s response to the iPad being called a “book-killer,” Tasha Saeker offered these thoughts at Kids Lit: “I’m storing this one away for those cloudy, bleak days when I tire of arguing that libraries and books will live on. I consider it a battery charger for advocates.” We definitely needed a recharge when we saw this …
Sigh! Debra Lau Whelan reports in School Library Journal that “President Obama has delivered a slap in the face to school librarians. In his FY2011 budget proposal to Congress on Monday, he completely eliminated the Improving Literacy for School Libraries grant program, designed to boost academic achievement by providing students with access to up-to-date school library materials.” (Via SLJ Extra Helping)
President Obama’s proposed budget also eliminates funding for Reading is Fundamental. Without RIF, more than 4.4 million children and families will not receive books. Without getting political … Jen and I believe strongly in the power of early literacy, and this would be a very serious blow to at-risk readers. Read what Executive Director Carol Rasco has to say in her Alert at Rasco from RIF, as well as her statement on the RIF website.
In her 10 Tips for Reading with Preschooler post, Dawn Little (Literacy Toolbox) offers some practical ideas for creating a memorable reading experience. Terry liked the suggestion of letting your child act out the story. As a bonus, Dawn has a nice list of books to actively engage kids in the reading process.
At the LiteraBuss, the Buss updates us on his doctoral research: assessing the effects of prepackaged programs and curriculum design on student achievement. One of the consistent themes across all of the articles is that “the single biggest factor on student learning is quality teaching.” [emphasis ours] There is no single point of reference for what constitutes quality teaching, but the Buss is not giving up. “If we can define it, if we can prove that it serves the best interests of children and scores them proficient on those ridiculous standardized tests, there might be a compromise out there that actually hands the reins of education to teachers while keeping the politicians at bay.” Yes!
In an interview with CBC-Parents, literacy experts Dr. Linda M. Phillips (Professor and Director of the Canadian Centre for Research on Literacy, University of Alberta) and Carol McDougall (writer, librarian, and the Founding Director of Read to Me) talk about how infants, babies, and preschoolers acquire the skills that ultimately lead to learning to read and, potentially a lifelong love of reading. From Carol: “Babies’ brains are wired through experience and they need partners to bring this experience – sight, sound, touch – into their lives. Reading is the perfect way to bring that experience to a baby: cuddling up close, hearing a richness of language, and seeing bright pictures in a book. When a baby is read to from birth they grow up associating the positive experience of being cuddled and read to with the joy of reading later on.”
This is a staggering statistic: 45 percent of students being admitted to Kentucky’s public universities show up in need of at least one remedial course and about 33 percent need remediation in two or more courses. That is AT LEAST 1 of every 3 students! In response to this, the 2009 state General Assembly passed legislation that has resulted in a new program created by Dean Mary John O’Hair (Dean, UK College of Education) to “transform classrooms to engage learners at an early age and create a pipeline of students well-prepared to go to college and obtain careers matching their skills and interests.” There are plenty of details in this Business Lexington article by Tom Martin. (via @NAEYC)
And, in our continuing quest to tell you about interesting literacy programs, we have this Indian Express article by Maroosha Muzaffar about a Mongolian children’s book author who run a bookmobile off of a camel. “Travelling vast expanses of his country, with books in tow, Dashdondog wants to enable students in the countryside — the nomadic groups of Mongolia — to “spend their holidays reading books”.” Thanks to Jenny Schwartzberg for the link.
21st Century Literacies
According to an article by Lauren Barack in School Library Journal’s Extra Helping, “Microsoft and the Corporation for National and Community Service has launched a new initiative that empowers middle and high school students to help teachers and staff better integrate tech into schools. “The concept of students as tech support and even teacher support has been around for several years,” says Karen Cator (pictured in article), Director of the Office of Education Technology at the U.S. DOE. “I think what this initiative does is take the best practices and take them to scale.””
Grants and Donations
Have you heard about the Pepsi Refresh project? Pepsi is giving away $1.3M to fund a variety of projects, at different funding levels. If you sign up for the site (or sign in using your Facebook ID), you can vote for up to 10 ideas (out of 729 submitted ideas) each day in February. You can browse the ideas here. We would never tell anyone else what to vote for – there are many, many great causes. But we will point out that three organizations that we regularly mention in the literacy roundups are in the running for a $250,000 education award: Everybody Wins (to provide lunchtime reading mentors), Reach Out and Read (to promote school readiness) and Better World Books with the NCFL (to distribute 1 million children’s books).
Twenty-seven nonprofit organizations working in the six counties that comprise the San Luis Valley received more than $100,000 in grants on Wednesday from Colorado Springs-based El Pomar Foundation. Council Member Valerie Finnegan says ““Education is the foundation for change, and it is wonderful that we have been able to address all spectrums of education from children’s literacy to adult learning with these grants.”” Learn More in the Valley Courier.
Wrapping Up …
Today’s Nonfiction Monday round-up is at Great Kids Books. Stop by to see all the great books Mary Ann Scheur and friends are posting.
This week’s Poetry Friday will likely be romantic or presidential given the long weekend ahead. Lee Wind is hosting at I’m Here. I’m Queer. What the hell do I read?
Thanks for your interest in children’s literacy!
If you are a new reader and would like to see the previous editions, we have an archive with all of the 2010 Roundups at Book(re)Marks, where we also have widgets that post news between the roundups.