Reading Round-Up, 7 July

Happy Monday. Hope it was a great holiday weekend. I though this might be a small collection of posts given the holiday, but there was lots of literacy and reading news. Yesterday, Jen Robinson posted a Children’s Literacy Round-Up filled with lots of links to newsworthy items. She has a nice collection of good-news stories, including a School Library Journal article about a children’s librarian who left more than $1 million to libraries (public and school) in her community and a newly built literacy school that opens today in Rochester; NY. There is a lot more. I dropped some of my articles because she has already covered them.

KidLit Blog Events and other Tours de Force

Buy a Friend a Book Week. Back in 2005, Debra Hamel created Buy a Friend a Book Week. There are actually four BAFAB events each year: the first week of January, April, July, and October. There is one catch: you can only buy a book for no good reason. Not for birthdays, new babies, graduation, etc. Dewey is taking the opportunity to give away five “future books” (must read the post at The Hidden Side of a Leaf to learn more) and has links to other BAFAB giveaways. We read about it at The Hidden Side of a Leaf.

Summer Fun: Family Reading Challenge Over at the Well-Read Child, Jill is hosting a reading challenge and a book giveaway. There is a book for every age group. Jill is giving away a copy of Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez (we reviewed it in the Reading Tub), A Thousand Never Evers by Shana Burg, The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (on our to-read pile), and The Birth House by Ami McKay. Visit Jill and you can link to her reviews of the books. Thanks to Jen Robinson for letting us know about it in her Sunday Afternoon Visit: Holiday Weekend Edition.

Vote Yes! Becky at Becky’s Book Reviews has posted a Presidential Reading Challenge. You can read one book, three books, or five books … all in a set amount of time (Election Day, Inauguration Day, and Independence Day 2009, respectively). The one I think would be the most fun is reading original documents (speeches, testimony, legislation proposed by the candidates). [I don’t remember president Poke, though – LOL). This is very cool and would make a great Social Studies/English competition.

Other News and Highlights

Book-a-neers! I joined my daughter this morning to watch Sesame Street. I admit, it isn’t one of my favorite shows, but she was following our house rule (without parental reminder): choose a PBSKids program from either of the (two) PBS stations. Ahoy! There was a really cute skit with pirates (one human actress– I think from NBC’s The Office; and two Muppets). They were not buccaneers, they were book-a-neers because they love books. Shiver me timbers! I got an idea: a book-a-neer party. It’s a subtle, easy twist on the pirate theme that could be fun “just because” or in lieu of a traditional birthday bash.

Books on Wheels Bo Kinney wrote a great post about Bookmobiles for the Seattle Public Library’s ALA 2008 Blog. Bo is the CLA for the Seattle Public Library’s Mobile Services, and he offers a great synopsis of all the mobile-library-related discussions at ALA this year. When you link over to the Seattle Public Library site, go to the bottom of the Mobile Library Services page. There is a short item about the Kindergarten Readiness Program “supporting early literacy for children from birth to five years.” Mobile Services launched this program in 2006.

Summer Reading: Take 4 Over at The Reading Zone, Sarah wrote a Summer Reading Rant about how summer reading lists are often filled with outdated titles. These lists send shivers down more than a few parents’ spines who probably remember the drudgery of summer reading. She also offers some suggestions that you can take to your child’s teacher or your local librarian. If you would like to see Sarah’s favorites, check out her Amazon store. You can also see my own, serendipitous wander through old book lists in this Summer Reading post earlier today.

Another Look at the Economy “Fewer Students Read Between the Lines,” is an article in the Tampa Tribune about Florida’s efforts to promote reading comprehension in high school. She opens with this quote from the newspaper article: “Despite a decade of education reform, tens of thousands of Florida’s high school students don’t read well enough to survive in the work force.” We found this in Louise Ash’s 1 July 2008 post for Reading Today Daily, the International Reading Association (IRA) blog.

More Free Reading Kathleen Kennedy Manzo and Sean Cavanagh, both of Education Week have launched Curriculum Matters, a new blog that covers the waterfront on what else, curriculum matters. Access is free. We read about this in John Micklos’ post “Education Week Staffers Launch New Blog,” for Reading Today Daily, the IRA blog.

A History of Reading Over at the Learning is Fun blog, Mark Garry wrote a post about the History of Education, an interesting timeline of the evolution of education from the Garden of Eden to the late 1990s. What I found particularly fascinating is when and when reading became important and how that affected the levels of and access to being educated.

A+B-City School=SAD Matthew Yglesias presents some interesting data and charts in this post about urban school systems and whether 8th graders are “failing” in Boston, New York, and Washington, DC. The comments to the post add to the conversation, some focused more toward parsing the data, others about how sometimes it is the people (read: teachers, principals) make the difference. We found this through a post at the Century of the Common Iowan blog.

I [heart] New York Yes, there are creative ideas in the city! The Harlem Children’s Zone has several programs to help families prepare their kids for the rigors of school and learning. The Baby College and Harlem Gems. Both programs offer activities and workshops to fulfill the goal of “[helping] children and families address the issues of failing school and unsafe streets while undertaking the challenge of rebuilding this Central Harlem community.” You can read more details about the programs here.

Lost Books Go to to be part of the Lost Book Club. On the site you can get a list of all of the books that have appeared or been referenced on the show Lost, by season or use a master list. Hmmm … kids watch Lost. Kids love Lost. Can kids get lost with Dickens and Henry James? Thanks to Katherine for this lead in her Book News post at A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore.

Discover the World I would never have made it through elementary school if it weren’t for the World Book Encyclopedia. (Back then it had shiny paper with gold trim – ooohh!) Now, World Book has launched World Book Discover, a dynamic reference tool “designed specifically to meet the needs of students who read below the level of their peers.” We learned about this in Brian Scott’s post New World Book Aids in Differential Learning, in Literacy and Reading News, the blog.

Trading Pages I have been meaning to write an article about trading books, but I am a couple pages behind. Trevor Cairney has a great post about Book-Swapping websites and other forms of book recycling in his Literacy, Families and Learning blog. Trevor looks at the idea of book exchanges on several levels, from environmental to financial. Exchanges are a great way to stretch your book-buying dollar, but I would also add that they are a fun way to share great stories and let the kids decide what they want to read. There aren’t as many choices as a bookstore or library, so it isn’t as overwhelming; and they get a chance to read what their friends recommend.

Good News and Bad News The good news is we now have self-help medical books for parents written at a third-grade level. The bad news is there must be a big market for adult books at a third-grade reading level. Two registered nurses have sold more than 2 million copies of their book What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick. The purpose is to help reduce the number of unwarranted emergency room and doctor/clinic visits. What does reading have to do with health care. Read this: “It is estimated that low health literacy adds $73 billion annually to US health care costs in unnecessary medical expenses.” You can read more details in Brian Scott’s post (Literacy and Reading News) to get summary details or visit the Institute For Health Awareness website.

Reading into the Future The National Council on Adult Literacy has published Reach Higher, America: Overcoming Crisis in the U.S. Workforce, a report based on a two-year study of adult literacy and education programs. I will quietly point to my Round-ups from 11 June and 30 June and the post above this one vis-à-vis economic impact. Please remember: these adults were children who didn’t get the skills they needed. We can change that. Read the full summary in Brian Scott’s post Literacy Crisis in American Workforce Readiness in Literacy and Reading News, the blog.

The Reading Game Louise Ash summarizes a new American Library Association (ALA) project to study the effect of gaming on literacy. The project, funded by a $1 million Verizon grant, will track and measure the impact of gaming on literacy. You can read Louise Ash’s summary at Reading Today Daily, the International Reading Association blog, or visit the School Library Journal site to read about the proposal in detail.

Statistics – Yuck! I always thought of statistics as “sadistics.” Now I have even more reason … Despite our best effort to keep the kids busy with other stuff (camps, swim team, etc), their TV viewing spikes 150% during the summer. Ouch! Anne-Marie has some suggestions about how to Outsmart the summer TV viewing spike at My Readable Feast. She has a link to the Smart Television Alliance and their pledge to demand more educational and age-appropriate programming for kids.

3 responses to “Reading Round-Up, 7 July

  1. You always find such interesting stuff, Terry! I love the idea of book-a-neers. And the Lost book club is very cool – it’s one of the many things I enjoy about the series.

    1. Yes, but if only I could get the typos to disappear! Drives me batty … good readers don’t always make good proof-readers.

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