Reading Round-Up, 8 August

Happy Friday! It’s been a crazy week with visiting family, getting ready for a beach vacation (which starts tomorrow), and sneaking in a little work here and there. We won’t be here next week, but you can always visit Kelly Herold’s book and reading round-ups on Big A, little A or Jen’s reading and literacy round-ups on Jen Robinson’s Book Page I also highly recommend that you visit Anastasia Suen’s new blog at Scholastic.

Events & Opportunities to Promote Reading and Literacy

Book a Brighter Future Given the success of “Be One for the books,” Macy is again hosting a literacy campaign to raise money to provide books and other educational resources to underserved children. The program is facilitated through Reading is Fundamental. Hopefully, this year’s campaign, Book a Brighter Future, can raise as much as the $2.5 million last year. The program ends September 22, 2008. Thanks to Power to Learn for the lead.

Deadline – 15 September 2008 for the Lois Lenski Covey Foundation Grants The Foundation works to support organizations that provide books to children who otherwise would not have access to reading material. Previous grant awards range from $500 to $3,000. Visit the Foundation Website for more details. Thanks to Helene Kramer’s post on her Read to Succeed Buffalo for the lead, as well as a link to

Mother Nature, what were you thinking? Lightning struck the Swans Island (Maine) Library in late July and it burned to the ground. The library lost everything, including historical records. Rock City Books and Coffee in Rockland, Maine is coordinating a book drive, as the library needs all types of books … but especially children’s books. You can email Rock City Books for more details. Thanks to Jules at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast (aka 7Imp) for letting us know.

Vote for Reading At you can sign up for Reading for Obama: Children’s Read-a-thon. This is a fund-raising event that started 26 July 2008 and ends 26 September 2008. From the website: “The program is simple. Readers raise support for literacy by making a commitment to read and sponsors pledge support for each page or book read.” [emphasis mine] If there is a similar campaign for Senator McCain, we’ll post it here. We are a non-profit, and our goal is strictly to post information relevant to our mission. This is not intended to offer support for any candidate. (That note is for the IRS, not you!)


COMMUNITY PROGRAMS – School will be here before you know it, and just about anywhere in the country, you can find community-based organizations that sponsor tutoring for struggling students. As I find them, I’ll post them here in the round-up, but don’t wait for me. Call your neighborhood school or local library.

Go from Seed to Succeed In August and September 2008, Reading Seed (Tucson, AZ) is sponsoring FREE training for volunteer literacy coaches. You can learn more at Volunteer and Become a Reading Coach.

Get Credit for Reading Check out this article in the 28 July 2008 edition of the Missourian. Students at Missouri University spent their work-study time tutoring students for 20 elementary schools, three private schools, the Columbia Public Library, and other venues. We found this through Reading Rockets.

Mr. Jefferson’s Virginia One of my favorite TJ quotes is “I cannot live without books.” For the past two years, I have volunteered with Book Buddies, a program facilitated by the Charlottesville City Schools. For two hours each week (one hour on each of two days) I worked one-on-one with an at-risk first grader. Words can’t describe how much I got from the program! Thanks, Brenda!

 North Dakota: Tutors, Preschool, Teachers Needed In a 7 August 2008 post at Reading Today Daily, Louise Ash has a blurb from an Associated Press article in The Dickinson Press about North Dakota’s educational needs.

Items of Interest

[Queue music] Stuck in the Middle Again Over at the ReadingZone you’ll find a great list of professional resources (books and websites) for helping kids learn to read and become lifelong readers. These are resources the Reading Zone uses to develop a reading workshop for grades 6 to 8. We read Reading Workshop in the Middle Grades at the Reading Zone.

Reading First Gone, but Hopefully Not Forgotten There is some fascinating (if not frustrating) information in this article about the Reading First program by Kathleen Kennedy Manzo and Alyson Klein. Although there were some serious issues, when you get past the human element (greed, corruption, Congress) and look at the data itself, there are some positives. Perfect? No. Something to work with? Yes. You’ll find the article, ‘Reading First’ Funds Headed for Extinction, in the 15 July 2008 online edition of Education Week. If you need more data, see Brian Scott’s post Reading, Math Scores Up for US 4th and 8th Graders at Literacy and Reading News. Or you can hear what First Lady Laura Bush had to say about Reading First during a visit to Tennessee.

The Tortoise and the Hare: The Classroom Edition In the same edition of Education Week you can read the findings of a study that analyzed the academic progress of 13,000+ full-day and half-day Kindergartners. Full-time students jump ahead of their half-day peers in reading and math during their Kindergarten year, but the half-day students out-paced them from first through fifth grade. You can read the article Full-Day Kindergarten at Education Week online, or read the study itself, published in the July/August edition of Child Development. Brian Scott also has a nice summary post at Literacy and Reading News.

Now Hear This Thanks to Gargoyle for her post with 5 Tips for Parents Who Have a Hard of Hearing Child.(Disaboom). She offers some tips related to the classroom environment, as well as a link to the website Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. We learn language first as listeners, so it is important to be able to communicate with your child … and have them understand you.

Relax, Read a Little More Authors Prue Goodwin and Michael Lockwood come to similar conclusions in their new books: kids need to learn how to enjoy reading for its own sake, not just as a purposeful skill. At Literacy and Reading News, Brian Scott posts a bit from authors’ presentations at the United Kingdom Literary Association International Conference, and includes links to their new books: Promoting Reading for Pleasure in the Primary School by Michael Lockwood and Understanding Children’s Books by Prue Goodwin.

R2DA (Recommended Reading Daily Allowance) Brian Scott has a great post about the importance of reading with your kids. There are plenty of sound bites, but Kay Emflinger and Kathleen Martin also offer some practical advice for engaging your kids in reading, too. I like the plug for non-fiction for pre-readers! Susan Thomsen has a similar thought in the Mem Fox quote she posted at Chicken Spaghetti. We read Brian’s article at Literacy and Reading News.

Gimme a Cheer: Nonfiction – YEAH! Over at A Year of Reading, Franki has posted Great New Fiction for K-1. Pop-out bugs. Cool, and oh, what potential … under your pillow, puppet shows, Halloween, on and on! Do you want to win $250 in nonfiction books? Then go to I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids), offer an idea about an innovative way to use nonfiction this coming school year, and enter the contest!

What’s in a Seed? I admit, I saw an article about the Growing Good Kids book awards, last week, but I left it fallow (pun intended). But, then this week I saw Susan’s post at Chicken Spaghetti … where the awards bloomed in full color (with covers)! Read the comments and you’ll unearth some other great titles. Okay, I’ll quit with the analogies.

Mea Culpa Somehow, I missed Kelly Herold’s Higher Learning columns at GuysLit Wire. They are fantastic … and a very valuable venue for spotting ways to get and keep boys reading. Bravo!  Thanks to Gail at Original Content for the lead.

Reading Digital If you’ve got a minute – especially if you’re a teacher – you might want to check out Gwen Tarbox’s post It’s No Joke! over at Book Candy.  Yes, she references the widely circulated NY Times article, but she also has some thoughtful points about traditional books, kids, alternate reading tools, and what they mean for teachers trying to engage kids in reading.

ü       Over at I am My Jewish Mother, Kathleen Stewart offers a humorous (and analogous) look at the same topic in I Used to be Smart

ü       As part of a current discussion in the AdRead Yahoo group about eReaders (kindle, Sony, etc.) we learned about Feedbooks, an online service where you can download “thousands of free e-books.”  They are apparently useable on multiple eReader platforms.

ü       Brian Scott had an article about using the web as a teaching medium in his post, Personalized Approach in Delivering Education Electronically (Literacy and Reading News, 3 August 2008)

ü       At Penn State University, three faculty members are part of a major study looking at reading comprehension as it relates to the web-based reading program Intelligent Tutoring for the Structure Strategy (don’t get me started on the name) being used in middle schools. Read Louise Ash’s recap at Reading Today Daily or the full story at

YouTube Can Participate in the PTA From now until August 8, you can submit questions for a National PTA for its special webcast event. Here is the webpage for submitting questions. Here is the webpage to register so you can watch the event. John Micklos posted the announcement on 7 August 2008 at Reading Today Daily.

Graphic Reading They used to be picture books! Over at A Year of Reading, Mary Lee offers a post about a new collection of “early readers in comics form.” For those who are concerned that learning to read is overwhelming their child, this may be a nice alternative. Graphic is the way to go, as Louise Ash (Reading Today Daily) reports in her summary about public libraries stocking up on graphic novels. She also links to an NPR piece on the subject.

Reading Is Everywhere Sounds simple, huh? Then why do schools have to “go back” to the idea that reading needs to be “woven” into all aspects of a student’s curriculum. Read more in Back to Basics at School, from the 31 July 2008 edition of the Indianapolis Star. We got the lead from Louise Ash’s post at Reading Today Daily.

The Literacy Site This is an ad-heavy site that is, at its core, a fundraising portal for children’s literacy. Their goal is to raise funds to send books to at-risk readers, children and adults. We found this at Blacky’s Burrow Blog.