Reading Round-Up, 15 September

“The average kindergärtner has watched 5,000 hours of TV before s/he gets to school.
That’s more time than it takes to earn a Bachelor’s degree.”

US Department of Education

For years I have used that quote as part of my Email signature line, so it seemed only fitting to use it on Day 2 of my entry in Weekly Geeks Challenge #17. Between TubTalk and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub (where all my BBAW posts will be) look for some of my favorite quotes about reading and books.


Today opens Book Blogger Appreciation Week. You’ll find events and giveaways all over the book blogosphere. The Reading Tub is going to have it’s first-ever book giveaway. So stay tuned.

Vote for Your Favorite Story Share your opinion on what children’s books get published. Head over to the ABC Book Competition website between 21 September and 5 October to vote. The winner receives a publishing contract with a 2010 publication date. Thanks to the Write4Kids Newsletter (September 10, 2008 edition) for this information.

Volunteer Opportunities – Helping Communities Raise Readers
Late, But Not Too Late Last week we learned about a training event sponsored by Book’em, a local literacy organization in Nashville (TN). Book’em hosted RIF training for its Reading Guides for the coming year. We missed the training, but you can visit Cool People Care website to get contact information if you want to volunteer.

 It’s Never Too Late … To Commemorate celebrate Literacy Last Monday was International Literacy Day, but the ability to read is something to be celebrated – and shared – every day! The United Nations General Assembly declared that 1 January 2003 is the kickoff of the UN Literacy Decade. You can read more in the International Literacy Day post at The Children’s Study Initiative blog.

How SMART Is This? Start Making a Reader Today (SMART) is a volunteer organization that works in Oregon elementary schools. We learned about SMART in this posting for a Site Coordinator in Portland (OR). Here’s the pitch: “Your support is vital in helping to reverse the statistic that 38% of Oregon fourth graders read below the basic level.

 Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay On the website, we found this California Schools Use Volunteers to Help Boost Test Scores. The most valuable nugget for us was the description of Reading Partners, “the fastest growing children’s literacy non-profit” in the Bay Area. Here’s the quote: “Reading Partners provides tutors to students who have fallen behind one to two grade levels in reading. After its 2007/8 assessments, Reading Partners showed that with thirty hours of tutoring, on average a student in its program will advance an entire grade level.” To learn more about Reading Partners or become a volunteer in the Los Angeles or Bay Area, visit the website. [NOTE: There is also a]

Let ‘em Ride
Ride for Reading is a non-profit organization in Nashville (TN) whose sole purpose is to get books to kids who don’t have them. They have just posted an announcement on Volunteer Match requesting books for kids reading at a Kindergarten through fourth grade level. Click here to get more details.

Highlights and Other News
Reading (groan) My favorite post of the week was Learning About Our Students as Readers over at the Reading Zone. Sarah spent some time one morning priming her kids for some great books they might find at the school library. Everyone came back with a book and when reading time was done, there were groans …about half the class wanted to keep reading. Here’s the best part: “One boy said, ‘This has never happened to me before!’” (emphasis mine).

 In Praise of Work There is an interesting post about how and when we praise our children’s accomplishments over at Open Education. The title (To Raise Smart and Successful Children, Focus on Developing a Work Ethic) says a lot, but doesn’t say it all. Essentially, to help kids succeed – and grow as learners – recognize the effort put into the work, not the intelligence used to get there. It is definitely worth a read. We found this at Jen Robinson’s Sunday Afternoon Visits: September 14

Set the DVR Tonight on PBS Judy Woodruff hosts Where We Stand: America’s Schools in the 21st Century. The show airs at 10:00 PM. You can see a trailer at the WNET New York website. We saw the lead at Reading Today Daily (the International Reading Association blog), in a post by John Micklos.

Book Distribution The US Department of Education, First Book, and Random House launched a 2008 Summer Reading Initiative to donate books to promote literacy and supply books to kids in need. So far, 500,000 books have been distributed to schools, libraries, and literacy organizations. The remaining 300,000 will be distributed later this year. Schools, libraries, and organizations interested in receiving the books must register on the First Books website. We saw this in a post by John Micklos for Reading Today Daily (the IRA blog).

Vroom, Vroom Over at Mamanista blog, Debbie wrote Star Your Reading Engines, a post about trying to close the “literacy gender gap,” particularly for boys. I loved this quote: While I’ve been reading Dr. Seuss, Mother Goose, Richard Scary, and other children’s classics, I’ve caught my husband reading Car and Driver Magazine and the Wall Street Journal to the baby with far greater enthusiasm than I’ve ever seen him muster for Goodnight Moon and Runaway Bunny.” But then she added this: “As exciting as Car and Driver Magazine is, I’m trying to encourage my husband to read more child-friendly books.” It is important to read a variety of materials (not just books). Enthusiasm about what you’re reading is also key. Be sure to check out Mamanista’s list of transportation-themed books.

Here’s a Great Plug Plugged-In to Reading has launched a new website: Plugged-In to Reading is a reading program for middle and high school students. You can get to Plugged-In to Non-Fiction from the site. We saw this in Brian Scott’s post for Literacy and Reading News.

Books on a Theme If you’re looking for new material and you’d like to have a theme, check out the Read-Write-Think website. They’ve already posted the October calendar of ideas for reading-related and general interest events. You can also link to these items via Louise Ash’s post on Reading Today Daily, the IRA blog.

Downloads at Your Library According to Sarah  More’s article in the Christian Science Monitory, more than 7,500 public libraries are becoming digital lending sites. They offer a digital process for accessing books, music, and movies via download, using special software … and their library card! You can read John Micklos’ summary at Reading Today Daily, or More’s complete article, “The Next Phase of LibrariesRolls Into Town.”

Readers Are Happy People A survey by the National Literacy Trust (UK) found that half of the men with low literacy skills were satisfied with their life. In contrast, 78 percent of the men with good reading skills were satisfied with their life. The original article in Press Association offers more stats. In the summary  post by Louise Ash (Reading Today Daily, the IRA blog) you will find links to the Press Association article, as well as the Literacy Changes Lives report.

Worth Repeating Sometimes it is nice just to have a short list of blurbs to remind you about the value of reading. In his post Reading Tips for Parents of Preschoolers, Brian Scott keeps it short and sweet with just seven ways to promote reading. We read about this at the Literacy and Reading News blog. In her International Literacy Day post, Jen Robinson has some links to resources with great literacy activities and ideas.

Speaking of Ideas … Stop by Sycamore Stirrings to learn about Muffin Tin Mondays. Essentially, you pick a theme and then fill a muffin tin with a collection of items that go with the theme. What caught our eye (as it did Jill’s at The Well-Read-Child) was Children’s Literature Monday. Moms filled the tins with items that somehow connected with a children’s book. Check these out. Thanks to Jill for her Children’s Literature and Muffin Tins? post.

From Picasso to Rowling Those scribbles you see (yes, even the crayon on the wall) are your child’s way of building their writing skills. What looks to you like a wobbly circle could be a bird’s nest or a black hole; and those squiggles may be “I love Mommy,” or your order the waitress wrote down at the Toddler Restaurant. In his most recent post, When Do Children Start Writing? Trevor Cairns explains that young children attribute meaning to their original works very early. Visit Literacy, Families and Learning to read the full article.

Great Question Last week, Dewey wrote a post called Character Questions over at The Hidden Side of a Leaf. She found the questions in an old journal, and thought they’d be helpful for writing book reviews. They would also be great conversation starters when you’re talking with kids about books. Just pick one and let the conversation take off from there.

I Before E, Except … At the Times Online site, there is an article about how the emphasis on spelling (and all those spelling tests) are affecting kids’ overall literacy. Here’s the quote: “The teaching of literacy in schools is a major worry. It seems highly likely that one of the reasons Britain and other English-speaking countries have problems with literacy is because of our spelling and the burden it places on children.” You can read the original article (which will let you test your spelling); or you can read the summary, Abandon spelling rules, says academic (John Micklos, Reading Today Daily, the IRA blog). If spelling tests are a must, then stop by to read Sarah’s post Preparing for a New Week at the Reading Zone. This is an update on her previous post about differentiated spelling lists.

[untitled] Last week, the Yemeni Minister of Education announced that the ministry is going to be “hiring” 30,000 university graduates as part of the Eradicating Illiteracy project. The goal is to reduce Yemen’s illiteracy rate from 43% to 20% by 2013. You can read the full article in the Yemen Times or Louise Ash’s summary post in the Reading Today Daily, the IRA blog.

One response to “Reading Round-Up, 15 September

  1. We definitely have a few things in common, Terry. But what I think is neat is that despite following many of the same sources, we also pick up different things. I especially enjoyed the Mamanista post, which I hadn’t seen.

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