Reading News & Children’s Literacy Roundup – Mid-August 2012

We’re back! After a short break to enjoy summer in all its glory (not to mention RIF moving its offices!), Jen, Carol, and I are refreshed and ready to celebrate children’s literacy and share reading news!

Welcome to the mid-August edition of the Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, The Family Bookshelf, and Quietly.

You’ll also see that I’ve incorporated some of the Literacy Tools and Resources ideas that usually go in a separate post. I haven’t cleared all the cobwebs yet!

Literacy & Reading-Related Events

In case you missed her post … we’d like to direct you to Jen’s post about J.K. Rowling launching a Harry Potter Reading Club. Mark your calendar for 10/11/12 (how cool is THAT date?) Noon Eastern, because that’s when Rowling will begin a worldwide webcast, “answering questions from kids for the first time since 2007.” To learn more and sign up, go here: [Image from website screenshot.]

It started with a post by Shannon Hale Why Boys Don’t Read Girls (Sometimes). Then Liz Burns (A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy) offered her thoughts & vignettes in Boy Books or Girl Books,  and then Shannon picked it up again with some additional, poignant remarks from readers. This excerpt from the post by An Index of Tentacles is my fave … because I count on librarians for just such a thing.

Revolt.  Revolt, every child.  Find what it is you are and embrace it.  We are the librarians, and we will fight for your right to grow.

Ironically, not long after reading the various posts, the Read Kiddo Read newsletter landed in my inbox, with this title: I-Hated-to-Read-Til-I-Read-This Books for Boys. I love the Summer Pledge to Read four books and its cool that Madeleine l’Engle’s granddaughter Lena Roy loves the Summer Reading List. They both speak to “readers,” regardless of gender. In light of the conversation Shannon opened, are there opportunities there to unify the message?

Isn’t that just the coolest image of Yoda? I would so totally hang a poster like that in my office. Anyway … in mid-July, the EUCantina started its Summer for Children’s Literacy campaign to raise awareness and funds for children’s literacy. Beginning mid July and running until September 12, 2012 EUCantina is publishing “special content that raises awareness for the important needs in the lives of children lacking literacy resources and knowledge that is fundamental to their growth.”

This week, EUCantina asked Star Wars fansites a simple question: what have Star Wars books meant to you, and why do you think the Star Wars galaxy is the perfect avenue to get children into reading? Check out their answers in Fansites Contribute to Summer Campaign for Children’s Literacy.

Literacy Programs and Research

Did you know that the illiteracy rate in Suriname is 7%? Doesn’t sound bad until you see that its behind 47 countries whose literacy rate is 99%. In an article in DevSur, the News Source for Suriname, the authors offer their analysis: while education systems can help with literacy, learning to read begins at home. Here’s the full article Promoting Children’s Literacy in Suriname.

Although many of us suspected texting hurt our kids’ literacy abilities, several studies told us we were wrong. Until now. In Duz Txting Hurt Yr Kidz Gramr? Sarah Sparks (Education Week) shares the results of a new study published in New Media & Society.

“Ultimately it’s not seen as a different language, so they kind of get used to communicating English language this way, the more they try to generalize what they do in texting to the normal grammatical rules of writing.”

Have you seen the YouTube EDU channel? I didn’t even know it existed (’til I got the email). It is a place to bring “learners and educators together in a global video classroom.” There are three main categories: Elementary & Secondary Education, University, and Lifelong Learning. From there you start drilling down into more specific topics. There is no literacy or reading, the closest thing to language arts is “languages.”  You who, YouTube …

Suggestions for Growing Bookworms

London OlympicsKeep that Olympic fever going. I “starred” a recent newsletter from Reading is Fundamental just for that purpose. In addition to sharing the AWESOME news about the Macy’s campaign (more than 1.6 million books for kids in need), the RIF August News also sent us a list of  10  books to feed Olympic fever. “With countless stories of inspiration, the Olympic Games are the perfect time to get kids hooked on reading.” We agree!

Karen Ruben also has some recommendations at Inspire Kids! The Children’s Literacy Foundation blog. Going for Olympic Gold with Children’s Books has Olympic-related themes, as well as books by Olympians themselves.

Thanks to Leila Roy at Bookshelves of Doom Jen discovered “some very nice 2012 #kidlit and #yalit booklists from Bankstreet College of Education.”  The main part of the page offers great ideas for parents; the lists – which are as a PDF – are on the right-hand side. As Jen points out in her tweet this is “a great resource for parents.”

Keeping with our Olympic sized collection of book lists, check out Carissa Kluver’s Essential Book Apps series on Digital Media Diet. This week’s installment is iPad Best of the Best – 50 Essential Book Apps for Elementary-aged kids. Here are her recommendations (quite thorough) for Essential Book Apps for Toddlers and Essential Book Apps for Preschool.

CW Electronic Field Trip‘Tis election season … and a great time to engage readers with history, by introducing the key players who created the system we have today. From 9/1/2012 to 9/30/2012 Colonial Williamsburg is offering a Gift to the Nation. Its Electronic Field Trip, “The Will of the People” available for FREE. From the Williamsburg Foundation email:

“Three video segments, supported by activities and learning resources, examine the presidential election of 1800 and provide a surprising lesson for the 21st century. Thomas Jefferson explains how negative campaigning, partisan politics, and contested elections have been a part of our political system since the earliest days of the republic.”

Learn more about this Williamsburg Foundation initiative here.

For those thinking about getting the kids in a learning frame of mind with a heavy dose of fun, you might check out Nathalie Van Ee’s Best Apps for Kids, a topic she curates on Whatever the topic or interest, Nathalie makes it easy to find educationally-focused apps to engage kids.

Thanks for your interest in our ongoing efforts to share literacy and reading news and for so generously sharing it on social media. Be sure to stop by Jen’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.

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