Reading Round-Up, 29 September

Happy Monday! First it has been great catching up with all the happenings in the Second Annual Kidlitosphere Conference last weekend in Portland, Oregon.  Given the number of posts rolling in this morning, it looks like everyone had a terrific time and safe journeys home. If you want to have one-stop reading, head over to the  Portland Kidlit blog, where everyone is adding posts and pictures from the weekend.

Now back to our regularly scheduled program …

Literacy Events, Activities, and Book Drives

Banned Book Week Every year, we observe (and remind ourselves about) the opportunities reading gives us in an event called Banned Book Week. It is always the last week of September, and it starts this week.  I’ve seen lots of posts already, but my favorite is this one by Little Willow I Read Banned Books:  Celebrating Intellectual Freedom and Literacy. You need to head over to the post and ask yourself Have I ever said that?

Grab Your Corduroys! This Thursday, October 2, is Read for the Record. It is an annual event (this is the third one) to promote literacy by having the greatest number of people read the same book on the same day. More than 400,000 underserved youth will read/listen to Don Freeman’s Corduroy.  You can get lots of links to events around the country in this post at Christine Louise Hohlbaum’s Mama’s Musings blog.  You can also register to participate on the Read for the Record website.


More for your TBR Pile Over at the Hidden Side of a Leaf, you can find the official clock counting down the days/minutes/seconds until Buy a Friend a Book Week, which kicks of 1 October 2008. Dewey has already announced her giveaway in this BAFAB Week post. You’ll also find all the details about how to participate, too.

Ready? Action! On Wednesday, 8 October 2008 2:PM to 3:PM (EDT), School Library Journal is hosting a FREE webcast, sponsored by Capstone Press. The event features a panel to talk about “best practices to engage struggling and reluctant readers, discover multi-level reading resources for classroom and school library integration, and pick up techniques and programming ideas that will encourage the use of fiction and nonfiction.” The panelists are the people who know the most about reading, media center services, and children’s literacy: school librarians, educators, and publisher reps from Captsone and Arch Books. Go to the SLJ Event webpage to learn more or register. Our thanks to Denise Johnson and the Joy of Literature blog for the lead.

Read Aloud Event Here in the Commonwealth, Read Aloud to a Child Week is  19 to 23 October 2008. If, in this age of shortened attention spans, you don’t have the time or energy to read Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook, then

  • Jump over to Small Town Insights blog and read K. Moore’s post The Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children; and
  • Head to Becky’s Young Readers blog to see her post Sara Dobie Shares Tips on Reading, which covers audiences from infants and toddlers to independent readers.

In Need of Books YA Author Devyn Burton is sponsoring a book drive to get YA books to local hospitals in lower east Michigan (Lenawee County). Her goal is to give these hospitals a book transfusion of much-needed YA material. I’ll let her explain. “I created Book Transfusion because I am the teen who is stuck in the hospital, awaiting a blood transfusion, dreading surgery, trying to avoid the painful shots … [T]eens in the hospital had two options A) color and do crafts meant for a six year old or B) ‘suck it up’ like an adult watch TV all day.” Devyon needs all books – or donations – by 10 October 2008. Click here to learn more about Book Transfusion. Our thanks to Cynthia Leitich Smith and her Cynsational News & Giveaway post for the info on this event.

A Little Jazz, A Little Blues Blue Cypress Books will host the One Book One New Orleans event where residents ages 16 and up are encouraged to all read the same book at the same time. Everyone will be reading Tom Piazza’s City of Refuge for the 18 October 2008 event at Blue Cypress Books. The event begins at 2:00 PM. We read about it in this untitled post on the Blue Cypress Books blog.

Read-a-Thon in Quebec The Quebec Division of the Multiple Schlerosis Society has sent its invitations to elementary and secondary schools for the 31st Read-a-Thon. Last year, more than 5,000 at 86 schools read 34,000 books and raised more than $131,000. This year, the winning school can win $300 in books from Scholastic. Schools can participate anytime from November 2008 to April 2009. You can read more details in Brian Scott’s post for the Literacy and Reading News blog or go to the Read-a-thon website.

Literacy Grant – December Deadline Go to to read the announcement about the Toyota Family Literacy Teacher of the Year Award. US teachers can apply for the award, and the winner receives a $7,500 grant for their program.

Ah-Ha! It’s an award! The official name is the Frances Mottey Beck Middle School “Ah-Ha” Reading Award. It is a new award this year, and its purpose is to recognize “a middle-school educator or team of educators who has designed an effective, replicable program for advancing reading/literacy.” Recipients receive a $2000 cash award. Go here for the application (the deadline is 10 February 2009).

News, Updates & Other Tidbits

An Apple a Day Last week, Donna contacted me about her new Website, Meet Me at the Corner, a non-profit that hosts the Big Apple Book Club. What I loved about the site is that it offers video reviews and interviews by kids … and also has a video on how to write a review.

The Cat in the Hat Over at the Printable Coloring Pages blog, you’ll find this post that lists seven free, printable coloring pages with the Cat in the Hat as the theme. There are links to just-plain-fun pages, as well as printable coloring pages for literacy and phonics skills.

TTYL In the current edition of The View from Here (online) magazine, Mike French posts the first of a two-part interview with Nikki Heath, the 2008 School Librarian of the Year (UK). She offers some great insights on YA books, their audience, and how to keep them reading. Here’s the link to Part 1: Young Adult Reading (and Writing) Guidance: An Interview with Nikki Heath.

When Good Things Happen to Great Teachers You may remember we posted a plug for I.N.K.’s Book Blast Giveaway in our 8 August Reading Round-Up. Well, the winner is … Lelac Almagor, English 7 Teacher at KIPP DC: AIM Academy. Linda Salzman included about the winning entry in her Winner’s post on I.N.K. Inspirational reading and a video link of her class, too.

Flexible Reading In the current edition of the Teacher Professional Development Sourcebook (online), Donalyn Miller has an article that talks about how one-size-fits-all reading lists. Her article, One Size Does Not Fit All, offers some ideas for engaging readers when you’re “stuck” using a curriculum-mandated list.

Very cool, eh? There are 153 nominees for the 2009 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, described as “the most lucrative award in children’s literature.” Bryan Doyle (YA novelist in Ottawa, Canada), Marie-Louise Gay (writer-illustrator in Montreal), and Read to Me! Read to Me! a literacy program in Nova Scotia, Canada are among the nominees. I couldn’t find a website for Read to Me! Read to Me!, but you can read the summary article in the Canadian Press (online) Two Canadian writers and a Nova Scotia literacy program up for rich children’s .

She Gets My Vote – No, not her. I am voting for Anne-Marie at My Readable Feast. We don’t need to infuse a political agenda in the process of getting kids to understand our history and the political process. In her post Election 2008: More Books for Kids on Politics and American History, Anne-Marie makes it easy for you to find books and activities that will engage kids in exploring the republic, with liberty and justice for all.

Something to Give I’ve been holding on to Sherry’s post about the 10 Day Give. I read about it at Semicolon last week. It has a simple purpose: “The 10 Day Give is a challenge that is designed to help us get our minds off of ourselves and start thinking about how we can help others…There really are hundreds of opportunities that we overlook each day. My goal is to just grab hold of one of them each day.” The Challenge doesn’t start until 10 October, so you even have some time to look around and think about things you might be able to do. Why not stop in the library and volunteer to read a book with a child?

You’ll Want to Underline This In the midst of trying to find Read to Me! the literacy program, I found a software program, also called Read to Me. This is a software download for IE that can read your webpage for you. What I LOVE about the idea is that it underlines the words as you go, which has great read-along value. You can choose male or female voices, and modify the highlighting pattern, too. You can download a free, 30-day trial from Steve Foxover Software. What I DON’T LOVE is that I can’t find pricing information.

Too Cool for School On the 21st Century Connections website, there is an article by Allyson Parks about how Technology Affects New Forms of Writing. Here’s the pitch: “A recent article from Cleveland-based reports that the Westlake City School District in Westlake, Ohio, is having success at improving children’s literacy skills through the use of blogging and podcasting.” Students are TAUGHT to create blogs and podcasts of their curriculum-based reading. How cool is that? We found the lead in this post the MHRIC WDUG blog.

Inspired Writing Late Friday afternoon, Brian Scott wrote a post on the Literacy and Reading News blog saying a New Kidspiration Lesson Plan Book Helps Teachers Use Visual Learning. The post has a press release feel to it, so it is full of little grabbers, like this one: “Elementary teachers can help students start as early as kindergarten to learn the importance and process of writing well.” Although billed as a tool to help elementary school teachers in the classroom, it is available as a single-copy purchase, too. Go to the e Kidspiration website to see Chapter 4, “Forms of Writing.”

The More Things Change … It isn’t often that a report remains accurate for 25 years. A Nation at Risk, is one of those rare reports. Education Week has two articles that both contrast/compare current issues with that landmark study.

  • Debra Viadero has a fascinating article about how school interruptions (like snow days) affect learing. One researcher showed “in a year with five lost school days, which is the average number for Maryland, the number of 3rd graders who met state proficiency targets was 3 percent lower than in years with no school closings.” Read Research Yields Clues on the Effect of Extra Time for Learning.

I Can’t Hear You! The Center for the Book (Library of Congress) and the Read it Loud! Foundation have announced a new literacy program, called (what else) Read it Loud! The goal is to inspire 5 million parents and caregivers to read daily to their children by 2014. You can read the blurb in John Micklos’ post for Reading Today Daily (IRA blog) or visit the Read it Loud! website. Sidebar: Many moons ago I created a group over at Goodreads call Read it LOUD. The goal is to chat about books that are fun, exciting, and engaging read-alouds. We’d love to hear your favorite!


3 responses to “Reading Round-Up, 29 September

    1. It was a terrific post. You made it easy for readers to think about what banning books means. Your points about choice and discretion really struck a chord. With all the grandstanding and rigidness around us, it’s nice to have a reminder that you will always be able to choose your own books.

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