Reading Round-Up, 18 August

It was a great week away, but Wow! My Reader outpaced the inbox almost 3 to 1. We have just 2 days of summer vacation left at our house, so there is a heavy emphasis in the Round-up on school and learning-related topics.  I’ll be back in full swing next week. In the meantime, here’s a short round-up.

Time is Running Out for these Events …

S-C-H-O-O-L Swap Over at the Reading Zone, Sarah is hosting a Teacher/Kidlitosphere Swap. Teachers, parents, anyone into kids books and reading is invited to participate. You will be matched with a partner who will send you a package based on the theme (school/back to school)… and you will send them a package based on the theme. The deadline to sign up is 21 August 2008! Sign on before the bell rings.

Run for the Borders For the entire month of August, nealy 1,000 Borders and WaldenBooks bookstores are donating books to a designated local charity. Patrons visiting the store are encouraged to buy a book (from a predetermined list); Borders then donates the book to that charity.  You can read Brian Scott’s post at Literacy and Reading News. Great idea, I just wish they’d reach out to some of the local charities  who work one-on-one with at-risk readers.

Reading &  Literacy Tidbits

Back to School – U! If you are interested in specializing in reading or literacy, here are some leads you may find valuable.

  • This fall, East Stroudsburg University is offering graduate-level courses in literacy coaching. The goal is to give teachers the tools they need to teach kids reading. “Literacy coaches keep abreast of the latest research and successful practices in reading instruction and then help teachers adjust their classroom plans.” We saw the lead for the Pocono Record article at Reading Today Daily (summary by Louise Ash).
  • Capella University, a fully-accredited online university, offers a masters degree program with a state-approved specialization in reading and literacy. The article at Literacy and Reading News is a lead for a podcast called Inside Online Education 27, but you can learn more about the degree programs here.

Reading in 3D Over at you can read a detailed (and somewhat technical) post about Mennell Media and its project to create 3-dimensional, interactive learning resource for science and literacy. You can see a sample of the early learning module at Computer-aided learning can be particularly helpful for ADD and autistic children and help them improve focus beyond the computer.

F = Fine, not Failing According to an analysis by Ohio State University researchers, many of the schools assessed as “failing” would actually earn passing grades. At issue is the methodology, which according to the researchers, is biased.  We read Brian Scott’s article Many ‘Failing’ Schools Aren’ Failing at Literacy and Reading News. You can also read Louise Ash’s summary about how reading/misreading/misusing educational data can harm good programs and kids, too. See Report Examines Assessment of Young Children in Reading Today Daily.

More ABCs on PBS Beginning in September, PBS will launch Martha Speaks, a new reading program targeting at-risk readers from “poor or immigrant families.” The series is drawn from Susan Meddaugh’s books about her dog. We saw the article at The Money Times, based on an article in Sunday’s Boston Globe. The folks at Money Times need to check on PBS programming more often … they mentioned new programs Super Why and Word World, but they forgot (much beloved in our house) Between the Lions! And opted instead to mention Sesame Street.

Smile! You’re Reading In the nation’s capital, 36% of the population is considered functionally illiterate. Officials at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education want to change that, so they’ve launched “A Day in the Life of Reading” project where residents photograph others (family members, neighbors, friends) doing what else? Reading. The photos will be used as a photo essay in a district-wide literacy campaign. The cool thing is that since it is DC, Maryland and Virginia will likely benefit from the campaign, too. We read Brian Scott’s post at Literacy and Reading News. Go to this OSSE website to get more details.

Avon Calling Kids at Avon Elementary  School (Avon, Colorado) are starting school in August, 15 days ahead of their peers. Why? So the teachers can prepare kids with low English skills for the coming year. We read the article in the Vail Daily (online) thanks to a lead by Louise Ashe and her post at Reading Today Daily

If you are looking for back-to-school books, be sure to visit Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, our book review blog. I’ve put together an updated list of books with a back-to-school themes.