Reading Round-Up, 25 August

Okay, so I’ve gotten the blog reader down under 150! Woo-hoo!  That doesn’t count the starred items I want to go back and savor, but that’s how “statistics” work. There are posted numbers, then there are real numbers. As I put the final touches on the Round-up this morning, I was amazed at everything tha’t packed in here! Enjoy.

Save the Date

Shopping, Kids & Books – Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This TJ Maxx is again collaborating with Save the Children to help at-risk students living in poverty to improve their academic success. Save the Children has a literacy program to “build literacy skills and make lasting change in the lives of children.” From 14 August until 12 September, TJ Maxx is giving customers a free bookmark. The bookmark invites them to log onto One for Change and play the Great Book Adventure Game. Each round generates a book donation for Save the Children, and TJ Maxx has pledged to donate up to 10,000 books. Thanks to Tanya and her MommyGoggles blog post for the lead.

Sing, Sing a Song – If you’re in New York this weekend, then head to Old Carriage Inn in Brooklyn for Kidlit Karaoke. Learn more in Betsy B’s post at Fuse #8.

September Love Do you remember what book hooked you on reading? First Book is giving you a chance to share your memory of that magical moment. Vote on your favorite book by September 15 and you can help send 50,000 new books to low-income children. Vote and make a donation now! Be sure to stop by our Read it LOUD! group at Goodreads to tell us about a book your teacher read to you in school that was one of your favorites. Picture books are often natural read-alouds, but what about chapter books? 

13 September – Princeton Children’s Book Festival is the place to be to meet up with some great children’s authors and some of the KidLit crew. Thanks to Sarah at The Reading Zone for the lead about the festival. If you’re interested in meeting up, then head to Liz B’s post at A Chair, a Fire, and a Tea Cozy.

You Need Corduroy in October Schools across the country will be participating in Read for the Record on 2 October 2008. The goal is to set a world record for the most people reading the same book on the same day. This year’s book is Corduroy. We talked about Read for the Record in a previous Round-up, but you can always go to the Read for the Record website.

Chew on This  The theme for this year’s Teen Read Week (12 to 18 October 2008) is Books with Bite @ Your Library. The Young Adults Library Services Association (YALSA) sponsors this annual event. This Year, YALSA,, and Mirrorstone Publishing are co-sponsoring a contest with three criteria: (a) at least one teacher and librarian working together; (b) to use YA literature creative way; and (c) to get teens to read for fun. Learn more at the Adolescent Literature website or the YALSA Teen Read Week website. We found this in John Micklos’ post at Reading Today Daily (the IRA blog).

More News and Views

Ahoy, Matey! You may recognize David Eggars as the author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Well, he has taken “genius” to the next level in co-founding 826 Valencia, aka The Pirate Supply Store, in San Francisco. 826 Valencia is an after-school literacy support center filled with all things buccaneer. The Center is part of a network that includes the Superhero Supply Store (Brooklyn, NY), Greenwood Travel Supply Company (Seattle, WA), and the Batcave (Austin, TX). We found this at the Guardian (UK) blog!

Standing O We don’t usually include interviews as part of our Round-ups, but this one is just … well, you HAVE to read it yourself.  Jules and Eisha over at 7-Imp have this incredible interview with Jane Yolen. Jane’s muse obviously rubbed elbows with Jules & Eisha (have to read the interview to get the reference). Some people tape pictures of athletes in their lockers, some have inspirational quotes … I have this post on the wall over my desk. I’m not over the top on this one. You can see like-minded posts by Jen on Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Betsy B at A Fuse #8 Production, among others I’m sure.

Seems Logical A recent website reveals that in the UK, the favorite place to read is in the bedroom. Well, where did we read the most when we were kids? Yep, in bed. Mom and Dad read them to us! Have some fun, conduct your own survey at home … and let the kids pick. We saw the summarized survey results in Brian Scott’s Post at Literacy and Reading News.

It’s Not What You Say … Last Friday, Brian Scott wrote a post at Literacy and Reading News about how Teachers Can Command Attention in the Classroom. The answer is the second half of an adage we all know well: but how you say it.  Although Scott is talking about using voice to get kids’ attention (pauses, varied tone, etc.), the same goes for reading. Read with a monotone voice and you project nothing but boredom and present reading as drudgery. Do the same thing you did with your toddler: make a duck sound like a duck! If you need some ideas, go to Sarah’s List of Possible Read-Alouds in the Reading Zone.

Echo (Echo) Yesterday, I wrote a post about Nancy Schnog’s op-ed in the Sunday Washington Post. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one struck by the message. You can read Colleen Mondor’s thoughts at Chasing Ray. While we’re at the Post, be sure to read Drawing Power, Bob Thompson’s the cover article in yesterday’s Style & Arts Section. He covers the rise of the graphic novel (shall I say it?) in graphic detail.

The (school)House More parents are opting to home school their children, largely because they are frustrated by “government schools.” The post by Brian Scott (Literacy and Reading News) offers some points of reference for homeschooling kids but largely reads like an op-ed piece (i.e., light on hard data). Still, it is insightful. About 2 weeks ago, Louise Ash had a post explaining that increases in home schooling go beyond the “domain” of rural families and conservative Christians. See her post about home schooling on the rise among African Americans in Reading Today Daily (IRA blog).

The Virtual Read-Aloud! Turn your e-Books, blog postings and websites into an audio file. FREE! I allows you to convert any PDF file, Word document, text file, web page, or RSS feeds into computer generated audio. We learned about it in the Children’s Writing Update, an online eZine from The Children’s Book Insider, at

More Cool Technology In yesterday’s Parade magazine, Warren Buckleitner reviewed the Tag Reading System, a pen-shaped gadget designed for elementary-aged students (4 to 8). “[It] can help with reading, expand vocabulary, and drill facts about science and history. Kids move the “pen” across the pages of special books to hear words or whole sentences read aloud.” The review didn’t mention that it is a LeapFrog product. It looks like this could be particularly helpful for auditory learners and struggling or remedial readers. The review didn’t mention that it is a LeapFrog product

The Government Did It? Over at the Doing What Works website (sponsored by the US Department of Education), you will find a new workshop: Teaching Reading to English Language Learners. “The workshop is specifically geared to techniques and practices for students in elementary grades.” We found the info in Louise Ash’s post at Reading Today Daily (the IRA blog).

He-e-e-y! This past week, Milwaukee unveiled a bigger-than-life bronze statue of Henry Winkler, aka “The Fonz.” Remember the episode where he got his library card? Now THAT would make a cool statue!

Reading: It is like fishing, but on land When you are lucky enough to have hooked a child on reading (think: upper elementary, middle school), you want to do everything in your power to keep them reading. As much as we’d like them to s-t-r-e-t-c-h and find something new, it’s not worth the risk of losing them all over again. Thankfully, you can go to this post at Shelf Space (The Foreword Magazine blog) and help kids find books that are close to what they already like, but new material (aka read-alikes). Go to the post and you’ll find links to libraries with lists of read-alikes for a number of popular series.

Turn the Tables As Trevor Cairney points out in his post Questioning: A Key Part of Learning, kids ask lots of questions. It is how they acquire information. He has some tips on what to do with those questions … and how to ask good questions yourself. He has some great examples you can use in reading with your kids, too.

Where’s Wendy? She’s in the Magic Treehouse! Stop in Wendy’s, order a kid’s meal, and get an audio book version of a Magic Treehouse book. How can you not love that. I’ve always thought that Wendy and Pippi Longstocking were long-lost sisters! How ’bout you?

Everyday Reading One of the simplest ways to introduce reading is to point out the words kids encounter everyday. They learn to spell Subway because they know the commercial. Thankfully, they can learn more than branding: Stop signs, open/closed signs on stores, Exit signs on the highway … the opportunities are endless. Sara Mead wrote a great post with Sesame Street video that gives you a day-on-the-street example of what you can do with signage. She also shows you what happens when kids DON‘T learn to spell. We found it at the Early Ed Watch blog, published by the New America Foundation.

O, O – Only Oprah! Because she reaches every corner of every world, virtual and real, I didn’t think I needed to write a post about Oprah’s new reading list for kids.  I am glad to see she partnered with the Association of Library Services for Children (ALSC) to offer parent tips, too. On the Reading List homepage, she has “10 Ways to Make Reading Fun” that are simple ideas parents will jump on. Yes, we say them all the time, but we aren’t Oprah! Am I the only one that noticed that it says “10” but there are 11 things listed?