Reading Round-Up, 15 October

It has been one of those weeks. I feel like I am just about caught up after being gone last week doing other volunteer stuff. While I was away, the collection of items for the Round-up has spiraled out of control.  In the interest of being somewhat timely with news, I’m going to take what I have already earmarked and move forward …


The 2008 Keene State College Children’s Book Festival will be held 1 November 2008 in Keene, NH. You can visit the college website or go to the Wild Rose Reader for Elaine Magliaro’s post about the event. She has all the details and everything is nicely organized to get you what you want to know.

There will be a 2009 Storytubes National Contest, probably next spring. The contest rules have not been finalized, but organizers add “there will be similarities.” Here are the details of last year’s contest. Students first through sixth grade compete for a prize of $500 in books for themselves and $1000 in books for their school library. Students create an online Video book review in up t to two four categories: Hair-raising Tales; From or For the Heart; Heroes and Heroines; and Facts, Fads, and Phenoms. We read about the contest at the Best Books I Have Not Read blog.

The 2008-2009 Weekly Reader Student Publishing Contest has been announced. Students grades 3 to 6 can submit an original nonfiction work, between 500 and 2,500 words. The work can be a memoir, essay, or story about a news event. Student publications are also eligible. There are six $500 prizes (three for student nonfiction writing; three for student publications). Go to the Weekly Reader website to learn more. Contest ends 6 March 2009. You can also get a summary in John Micklos’ post in Reading Today Daily (International Reading Association blog).

Fortune Magazine and Technorati are sponsoring the 2008 Blogger Challenge to raise funds for public schools. Teachers post project requests at, and bloggers select the most compelling project and urge their readers to donate to the projects. Brian Scott has all the details in Top Bloggers Compete in Support of Public Schools (Literacy and Reading News blog).


The Reading Connection (Arlington, VA) will hold Fall Volunteer Orientations on Tuesday 21 October 2008 and 20 November 2008. TRC is a nonprofit “committed to improving the lives of at-risk children through creating and sustaining a literacy-rich environment.” Volunteers are needed to help with Reading Aloud to the children.


To find books kids are talking about, stop by  the Reading Zone. In a post earlier this week, Sarah told us about five Hot Books in her classroom. These are middle-grade readers her students are reading and recommending to each other.

If you’re reading with young kids, you will want to read Jill’s post Tips for Reading with Babies at The Well-Read Child. You might also want to visit 5 Minutes for Books. In a post about Book Recommendations, Jennifer is asks readers about how they select books for themselves or their kids.

In an Original Content post, Gail Gauthier asks “You Know Any Fake Readers?” That’s how we learned about the Book Whisperer’s column in Teacher Magazine. Donalyn Miller’s article, Fake It ‘Til You Make It vividly describes how kids mask their lack of reading skills, and, in doing that, offers teachers clues on patterns to avoid.

Timing is everything, and these posts complement the sad news of fake readers. They offer some solid, practical ideas for not only encouraging but assisting readers.

  • Literate Lives has a wonderful post about ways to guide transitional readers. Katie D talks about her classroom routine and how she uses the first 30 minutes of each day for “beginning the day with books.” What particularly struck me were the four questions she asks herself as she thinks about her transitional readers:  “What kind of stamina do these readers have? What do they like to read? What do they know about choosing a book? What easy texts do they have available for fluent practice?”
  • Thanks also to Karen at Literate Lives for the lead to Lisa Koch’s article “My Son Clark Kent” on the Choice Literacy website.
  • Head over to, a website with book recommendations that are sorted not only by age, but by type: illustrated books, transitional books, pageturners, and advanced reads. This is a website complement to James Patterson’s Pageturner awards. We found the link in Have You Seen This? a post in Traci’s Book Bag.
  • In the Reading Zone, Sarah tackles the question of how to help struggling readers who tend to gravitate to books that are too challenging for them. Helping Struggling Readers Find the Perfect Book is now on my must read list for parents!

I laughed out loud when I saw  Louise Ash’s post Multitasking Teens May Lose Focus in today’s Reading Today Daily (International Reading Association blog). You can read or listen (7 min; 35 sec) to Jon Hamilton’s original article at the NPR website.

Ironically, Ms. Ash also links to an article about a University of California study of middle-aged and older adults that concludes “searching the world wide web exercised the mind far more than reading and was similar to completing crosswords and puzzles.” You can read about the study in The Telegraph (UK) online.

This past week I discovered the Jean Little Library blog. I think this is one I’m going to come back to a lot. Jennifer (a children’s librarian) has created a craftwiki to organize her collection of road-tested crafts that have storytimes to match.

In Literacy and Reading News, Brian Scott has a post about a new tool that will help teachers Write Better Literacy Lesson Plans faster. An ESL teacher created LessonWriter, a new FREE website “to assist teachers by analyzing readings and creating lesson plans for teachers.” It sounds like a really remarkable tool: flexible, adaptable, scalable.  Visit the LessonWriter website for more details.