Reading Round-Up, 30 June

First, Happy Fourth of July. We’ve been very busy in the Tub these past few days. If you haven’t stopped by, head over to Scrub-a-Dub-Tub to read our Book Bags and Reading Ahead columns for May/June. We’ve got the Books for Ages 0 to 4, Books for Ages 5 to 8, and Bilingual Books posts up. Tomorrow the Books for Ages 9 to 12 go up. I am really tickled with that column … almost all of the reviews include quotes by our student readers.

BIG Round of Applause To those who participated in Dewey’s Read-a-Thon: congrats. I hope you still have enough good vision left to read the Round-up. If you missed the Read-a-thon, mark your calendar for October.

Sidebar: Unless otherwise noted, these we found these tidbits through GoogleAlerts.

Limited Time Offer Little Willow is blogging over at GuysLitWire today. Check out the sidebar for some great reads. We read Bildungsroman every day.

Tell me a Story Over at the Information Literacy blog, there is a great post about Storytelling as a tool for encouraging literacy. We learn our vocabulary through speaking, and reciting a story is something we can do without a book. Kids tell stories all the time – it is called pretend play! Take advantage of the opportunity and play with your kids.

Print & Preschoolers The Journal of Early Childhood Literacy (vol 8, no 2) has an article that sets out the results of a study with 38 parents of children involved in Head Start programs. You must be a SAGE Journals Online subscriber to read the whole article, but this excerpt of Jacqueline Lynch’s précis is available free: “This research may suggest the important role of pre-school and particular parent—child activities in developing children’s early print concepts.”

Contrast and Compare: Pre-K There is an interesting commentary by Liz Willen for the Early Stories blog. She offers some interesting observations and links to studies, news articles, etc. on the impact and importance of strong pre-K programs.

Pomp, Circumstance, and Apple Juice The Newark Advocate published an article about the literacy gains of the first all-day Kindergarten classes in Newark City Schools. Worth quoting: “Based on the assessments, 67.7 percent of kindergarten students in Newark are reading at a mid-first- to second-grade reading level. That is up from 44.3 percent in 2007.” We found this lead in Louise Ash’s post at Reading Today Daily, the IRA blog.

Dogs love books, too Maya Spector reminds us that one way to help reluctant or struggling readers is to create a dog-child partnership. In this post on the PACL blog, Maya tells us that the Palo Alto City Library is bringing back the Paws to Read program because the pilot was such a hit. This is something you can encourage at home or make the centerpiece of a neighborhood book club.

More Summer Reading Ideas Last Thursday, Good Morning America (GMA) took its turn at offering kids reading suggestions for the summer. The Reading Zone wrote about it in this post, and offered that unlike many lists for middle school and YA readers, this one has newer titles, AND the hosts offered that adults would like some of the YA titles, too. In the post, you can link to the GMA-recommended list, or the Reading Zone’s own list, courtesy of MotherReader’s 48-hour Book Challenge. She also posted her 2007-2008Class Book Lists drawn from the titles she shared with her 6th grade class.

Taking Bids GreenStyleMom and Shannon tell us about their effort to raise funds for the Children’s Literacy Center (Colorado). They are soliciting items for a silent auction. The proceeds of the event go to providing one-on-one tutoring to more than 1,000 children each year. Read Shannon’s post to learn more and/or donate.

Time to Face(book) Reality We read several posts about this article in the (UK) Telegraph that suggests teachers need to embrace, not ban, social networking sites. Their analysis: Teachers should take advantage of their students’ interests in Facebook and Bebo as a tool to help them develop communication skills. The Reading Rockets website picked up the link and added an article in its News section; and we saw it in Louise Ash’s post for Reading Today Daily. Note: Louise Ash referenced “Childnet” as a source, but we don’t know whether it was or

Lucky Find Last week, in the midst of trying to check the weather, I found featured as the Site of the Day on The home page is like the Reference Desk we all know and love, and you’ll find directories of K-12 libraries, national libraries, and reference sources for anything from acronyms to zip codes. I bookmarked it!

Our Good Neighbors Do it Again In this post at the ParentClub blog you can read about the One Million Reading Hours, a LeapFrog Canada Literacy Campaign. You can also read Brian Scott’s article on the subject at Literacy and Reading News.

More Bad Economic News There is an interesting piece in Literacy and Reading News about how low literacy is threatening Canada’s economic future. Here is the article by Brian Scott that lays out the ABC Canada Literacy Foundation analysis. I had a similar blurb with a UK perspective in the 11 June Reading Round-Up. Literacy is more than pleasure reading, it’s basic economics!

Don’t Point fingers Here’s the headline: “1 in 5 Parents Do Not See the Point of Reading to Their Children.” In this article, Brian Scott lays out an analysis of parenting behaviors vis-à-vis reading. All Top Books conducted a survey of more than 640 UK parents … but I’m betting the results would be the same on this side of the pond. Here are two that really struck me.

  • 1 in 5 parents do not see the benefit of reading to a child before they can sit up, walk, or talk.
  • 1 in 4 parents either do not enjoy reading, or struggle with reading and so put no time aside for reading with their child.
  • More than 50% of parents spend a maximum of 8.5 minutes reading with their child each day.
  • More than 34% spend no time reading to their children at all.

Can someone analyze how much of much of their annuity will be spent on their unemployable-because-illiterate children when the kids are STILL living at home at age 35 (see article above)? [deep breath, 1-2-3] You can read Brian’s full article in Literacy and Reading News, the blog. In that same article, you’ll find a link to the UK Literacy Trust and a very simply presented Every Home a Reading Home campaign.

Data Overload The non-partisan Center on Education Policy has released a report that analyzes the testing data for the 2006-2007 school year from all 50 US states. The questions: Has Student Achievement Increased Since 2002? And Has the achievement gap narrowed? The point is to evaluate the effectiveness of the NLCB, which went into effect in 2002. Go to the Center’s website to read the full report or the press release. You can also read a quick summary in this article by Louise Ash for Reading Today Daily (the IRA blog). They don’t make it easy to find the conclusions, but essentially, there are positive gains in both reading and math, particularly at the elementary and middle school levels (except 8th grade).

Our Elected Representatives John Micklos has posts for both the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees votes to eliminate funding for Reading First. You can read more information at the Education Week website. You can go there directly, or link to it through Reading Today Daily (click links above). Needless to say, the Reading First Advisory Panel has some words of their own for Congress. We read John’s summaries in the 6/24/2008 and 6/26/2008 editions of Reading Today Daily, the International Reading Association (IRA) blog, then went to Education Week to see the full scoop. You can also read the Reading First response in this article by Kathleen Kennedy Manzo for Education Week.

Size Matters If the title doesn’t get you – “Brain Size, not Gender, May Be Key to Reading Ability” – then this might: brain size accounts for why women excel in reading. Before you go wagging your finger at your brother/husband/significant other and scream “SEE?!”, remember: there are women who DON’T like to read, too. Once you get past the fact the intentional lure (read: sound bite), you find a rather interesting analysis about reading and learning … and an opportunity to stop stereotyping boys just because they’re boys. Still, I think we need more women in Congress. We read about this in Louise Ash’s post for Reading Today Daily (the IRA blog), but you’ll find more detail in the Press-Enterprise article by Laurie Lucas.

Sally May Get a New Jersey If you live in New Jersey and you’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit you could be. Verizon customers who participated in the company’s Check Into Literacy program have made it possible for nonprofit literacy organizations in New Jersey are now eligible to receive a total of $325,000 in grants. You can read more details in Brian Scott’s article in Literacy and Reading News, the blog or you can go to Verizon for application forms.

School Bells Yes, I know if feels like summer just started, but … school will start again soon. Why not order school supplies before you go on vacation? Then you don’t have to think about it! Anne-Marie at My Readable Feast has a nicely detailed (and very Mom-logical) post about using to save money on school supplies AND raise funds for your kids’ school.