Reading Round-Up, 22 July

July 21st is the Summer Solstice … traditionally the hottest day. So what’s a girl to do but stay inside and “relax” with her favorite reading resources. I promise that it isn’t on purpose that lots of links go back to The Guardian … we got the leads from other sources. It does make for some anecdotal data on the coverage that literacy and reading is getting in the UK!

Mark Your Calendars

BYOB – Bring Your Old Books I love that! On July 27, 2008, Project Learn in Medina, OH (Cleveland) is celebrating its 25th Anniversary by inviting the public to BYOB to a party on Public Square. They are hoping to receive 5,000 books. Project LEARN of Medina County tutors adult learners on a one-to-one basis in reading, math and English as a second language. They are opening a bookstore next month. You can read more in Sue Bielawski’s article, Medina: New Used Book Store Will Help Literacy Project on, a blog for everything Cleveland.

Grant Deadline: September 5, 2008 The 2009 cycle for grants via the Barbara Bush Foundation for Literacy closes on September 5, 2008. The Foundation’s National Grant Program awards about $650,000 in grants to “develop or expand” projects that support developing literacy skills for primary caregivers and their children. Read more at the Barbara Bush Foundation website.

More News and Views

The Eyes Have It In her article at Education Week (online), Linda Jacobson tells us how states are turning to child-development studies for ways to “best target” their limited (and reduced) budgets. See States eye Research to Shape Pre-K Priorities at

Kudos to Plattsburgh State (New York) The Department of Literacy Education at Plattsburgh State offers classes to help students (undergrad and graduate) apply classroom learning to their careers as literacy specialists. They are tutoring children ages 4 to 16 referred to the Literacy Education Center by their schools. You can read Louise Ash’s summary at Reading Today Daily (IRA blog), or the whole article at

Asi Asi (so so) Read Mary Ann Zehr’s article about reading and math progress in English-Learners Still Lag on Reading, Math in Education Week (online). Her front-end emphasis is on the gaps that continue to exist for ELLs (English Language Learners), though at least 24 states have shown some progress in English language proficiency. We read it at

Reading Nightmare: The Series Yesterday, Channel 4 (UK) started airing its series Can’t Read, Can’t Write This is an eye-opening series on the adult illiteracy problem in the UK, where, according to stats cited by Paul Strange, more than “five million adults have a reading age of 12 or less, or, worse still, cannot read at all.” We found Paul Strange’s article in the DigiGuide Forums. Will that “reality show” cross the pond, too?

The Movie Reel (It Comes Full Circle) On the International Reading Association Blog (Reading Today Daily), Louise Ash has a summary (and link to) a University of Canterbury (New Zealand) new study on the use of movie subtitles to help improve literacy skills.  This adds more data points to something Jim Trelease has been saying for years – if you’re going to let them watch TV, turn on the closed captioning.

TXTING 123 I saw this piece several times, and thought I had written about it, but apparently not. There is an article on July 5, 2008 The Guardian called 2b or not 2b. It is a great primer on texting technology, why it is popular, and how it can “improve children’s writing and spelling.” For more on technology, there is an article about gaming as a positive for literacy in this article, Is Our Children Reading, also from The Guardian last December. Thanks to Alisa at a musing space and Bunneth at Coffee Good, Morning Bad for the leads.

Walking the Talk Yesterday I wrote a post about working together for literacy. The more we know about each other, the better prepared we are to assist those who seek our help. So today, I would like to introduce some non-profits I found this past week.

  • NapaLit is a local resource for literacy support activities for Napa County (California). Not only will you find information and activities on the site, but also there is a bulletin board and calendar with upcoming events for kids from preschool through teens.
  • PJ Library is a program that provides books and music to Jewish families with young children. Last week, Barbara Bietz had a wonderful interview with Marcie Greenfield Simons, Director of the PJ Library, on her blog, Jewish Books for Children with Author Barbara Bietz. Go to the PJ Library site to review the list of communities with PJ Library partners.
  • Reader To Reader  is a 501(c)(3) that gives books to those places in our community that need them. Here is the profile from their blog “serves the nation’s poorest communities, including inner-city schools, Native American Reservations, and poor rural towns, where the need for books is acute.” You can also go to the Reader to Reader website.
  • The Reading Site is a great place to find deals on books and links to free reading-related activities (like coloring pages). Allison Diehl is a mom, life-long reader, and self-described “tireless bargain hunter.” She’s combined those instincts into The Reading Site. Thanks to Memphis Mimi’s post at The Cute Things Kids Say and Do for this lead.

Technology for Teachers Yesterday PBS announced PBS Teachers Connect, a new online forum for preK to 12 educators “that supports the advancement of digital media content and technology integration in education.” You can read Brian Scott’s summary at Literacy and Reading News, or go to PBS Teachers Connect directly.

Not so-o-o Fast There is an interesting article by Polly Curtis about the apparent disconnect between teaching kids to write at age three and their literacy development.  She draws her article from a study by the University of London. Here’s a quip worth quoting: “Tutoring children in nurseries to read using basic phonics and write simple sentences does not improve their success once they start school, but encouraging them to talk and communicate does, the unpublished government research has found.” (Emphasis mine!) Curtis’ article, Early-years Writing ‘Do No Good’ is in the July 14, 2008 edition of The Guardian. We found the lead through Paula Brown at Happy Tracks in the Snow.

One, Two, Three? Too Soon In his post Your Baby Can Learn to Read, Trevor Cairney offers his thoughts – logically presented and supported with data – about a specific reading program for infants and toddlers. The post, at Literacy, Families and Learning responds to a reader question, but also offers some practical ideas for alternatives to structured learning at age 2.

Clap-Clap-Clap According to a new study in the UK, kids don’t use their hands enough. The Ruskin Mill Educational Trust commissioned a report that has concluded that there is a direct connection between a child’s brain development and their use (or failure to use) their hands at home or in school. Maybe there is something to be said for getting your hands dirty! Gardening anyone? You can read Louise Ash’s summary at Reading Today Daily or go to the full Reuters article on

Literacy, by the Producers In the past few days I have found two posts about literacy written by the people who write and publish for children.  They are meant to help book producers, but they offer great insight on how to connect books with kids (and vice versa).

  •  Growing Tomorrow’s Readers – Spotlight on Literacy Annie Galvin-Teich, New Day Publishing president wrote this article about how publishers can promote reading. Here is the summary (available on the homepage): “One of the easiest things that publishers can do (to encourage reading) is to create books that encourage parents and children to read together…so children can associate reading with warmth and pleasure…[We need] books that bring up the big questions in life in a relaxed informal setting that provide opportunities to have life-forming talks between parent and child.” You have to register with New Day Publishing to see the full article. Registration is free.

There is no Reading Round-Up next week. With swim season about to end, we’re taking our first break: a long weekend away!