Reading Round-up, 8 September

Happy Monday … even if my Colts did lose! If that’s the worst thing, I’ll be happy. The computer guy is on his way to see if my computer problem is the hard drive or the registry! So I better get moving …

Sharing a Story
As part of the celebration of our 5th anniversary, the Reading Tub, Inc. will be creating a directory for people to donate books that can be shared with children. That is what we’re all about, after all.

  • If you are a teacher, school librarian, public librarian, or KNOW a teacher, school librarian, or public librarian, let them know I am creating a space on the website for their wish lists. These are the books you would like to have if you had the budget to buy them.
  • Just last night, I read Brian Scott’s post at Literacy and Reading News about the Gold Star Registry. It’s a place where teachers can create a registry (aka wish list) with resources they’d like to have for their classroom, from bulletin board sets and banners to free-time reading books and tools in Spanish. If you set up a registry, we’re happy to include it.
  • Use this form to add your name and needs to our searchable directory. The only requirement is that you have a FORMAL Wishlist that is publicly accessible.

Between the Lions The New York Public Library’s Book Fest 2008 will be held  on Saturday, 1 November. This year, the NYPL’s new Offices of Children’s Programs, Young Adult Programs and   Education Outreach in the Department of Education, Programs  and  Exhibitions  joins with School Library Journal to host the event. For more information and to register online, go to the Book Fest page on the NYPL website.

Sunshine on Literacy Last year, Florida Governor Charlie Crist proclaimed that September is Literacy Month in Florida. To commemorate the second anniversary, the Florida Parks & Rec folks have joined in the fun. This week you can visit WakullaSpringsState Park or OchlockoneeRiverState Park for free …but you need to bring a library card, library book, or a new or gently used family book. You can read more at the Wakulla County website.

Living La Vida Loco In the 24 August 2008 edition of the Los Angeles Times, Sonja Bolle published her interview with Ambassador John Scieska, who offered his perspective on what it takes to get kids to read. With his usual flare and sense of humor, Scieska suggests that we need to think in broad terms about what constitutes reading, particularly in a digital age. If you can’t get enough of the Stinky Cheese Man, you might also check out Brian Scott’s post How Many Medals Would Boys Win if Reading Were an Olympic Sport, which is full of Scieska quotes about boys and reading, and has a link to Scieska’s Guys Read website.

Ask Your Librarian I keep seeing articles that (in essence) say that somehow, some way, we need to get kids engaged in fun reading, even during the school year. One way to do that is to let them relax by listening to you read. I liked the list of favorite read-alouds, broken into three categories: picture book, fiction, and non-fiction. It is all part of the Kids @ Your Library Campaign® Toolkit.  Thanks to Nancy Snyder, Children’s Services Manager, Public Library of Charlotte and MecklenbergCounty, for letting us know about this on CCBC-Net.

Let the Library Come to You Like Sara at Read Write Believe, I had no idea that there was such a thing as a Digital Bookmobile. Leave it to the bibliophiles in Fairfax County (my old home town) to come up with something that invites people to learn more about books in a non-paper format (eBooks, audio books, digital books). The bookmobile will be in Centreville this weekend, but you can go to the Burke Centre Library on 9 September to learn how to download audiobooks and podcasts to MP3 players. You can learn more by visiting the Fairfax County library website.

Buzz-Buzz, Ring-Ring, You’ve Got Mail Sarah Houghton-Jan (San Jose Public Library) wrote a wonderful article about information overload. Her emphasis is really on overload for librarians, who are information gurus/fanatics by passion and trade. When I read her tips, I immediately thought of students. Why not teach them some of these strategies now? You can read Being Wired or Being Tired: 10 Ways to Cope With Information Overload in the July 2008 edition of Ariadne (UK) We found the lead in Louise Ash’s post for Reading Today Daily.

Answer: Because I can’t Drive Myself The question: Why don’t kids go to the library more often? “Because my parents don’t take me” was the number one reason in six focus groups (2nd to 4th graders) that were part of a survey to explore how kids view the library. See the summary here. You might also check out the new Voice of Literacy podcast series. These are going to be biweekly broadcasts on literacy research. You can listen on the site and download them from iTunes, too. In the inaugural broadcast, Julie Coiro discusses the skills middle-school readers need for effective reading online. You can read John Micklos’ summary at Reading Today Daily, or go to the Voice of Literacy website to learn more.

Shhh! Donalyn Miller wrote a nice piece in her Book Whisperer column (Teacher Magazine) about how her student’s reacted to the classroom library at this year’s Meet the Teacher night in her 6th grade classroom.  First this: “One student entered my room and headed straight for the bookshelves, pulling out titles, stroking covers, flitting from bin to bin. It was as if she was reunited with old friends.”  Then this: “One former student introduced me to his brother, who will be in my class this year, then shyly asked me if he could check out a book. We go forward, but we go back, too.”  You can also read her 3-part series Creating Readers, which answers readers’ questions about transforming “dormant” readers into rabid readers. Pair this article with The Rush of a New School Year at BookMoot and you’ll be truly energized. Thanks to Franki at A Year of Reading for the lead in Great Post for School Librarians.

FIVE Stars Thanks to a Google Alert, I found this great post about matching celebrities with children’s books as a way to promote literacy, multiculturalism, or both.  Notice I didn’t say ask a celebrity to WRITE a children’s book.  [For that, stop by A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy to read Liz B’s rant/dialogue.] With just a commitment of 8 hours, a celebrity could receive, read, and then record a children’s story (in any language). The publisher then takes that recording and builds a promotional platform. The publisher ALSO goes to a community organization that promotes literacy to help promote the product. Yes, the lawyers would have to get involved for copyright and all that, but still, it is a neat idea, no? We found the post at the Arts and Entertainment blog.

Way to Go! Courtesy of Jen Robinson’s Children’s Literacy Round-Up: September 4, I found Dodie Owen’s article, A Captive Audience – Bringing Books to Teens in Detention (School Library Journal, 9/3/2008). Essentially, volunteers lead a bookclub at the Mecklenburg County Gatling DetentionCenter (Huntersville, NC). The boys read and talk about books (some of which they select) and they get to keep them.  This quote by one of the volunteers particularly struck a chord: “For some it is the first book they have ever owned. Some of them now have quite a personal library!”

It Takes a Village Tuesdays are Community Day at 5 Minutes for Books. On any given Tuesday, you can join Jennifer D and her team for a children’s-book-related carnival. This week (September 9th, join the discussion of Children’s Classics – Picture Books. Read the Join Our Community post to see the full schedule and learn how to participate. Jennifer is also looking for someone to help create buttons for the two new carnivals: Kids’ Picks and I Read It!

A-B-C-D-E-F-G Are you singing the alphabet song yet? Great! Head over to join ABC Storytime, MotherReader’s new weekly preschool program where each week she will post books , rhymes, and songs that focus on a letter of the alphabet (in order, of course). This one gets an A. To save you time, here’s B.

One, Two, Ten Tips for You Look in  Carma’s Window to read her 10 Tips to a Terrific Picture Book. She has reprinted author Emma Walton Hamilton’s article about crafting a terrific picture book. Although the emphasis is on writing a book, many of the tips also apply when you are picking a book to read. For example, look for books with short sentences. Kids neither have the attention span nor vocabulary for long, wordy sentences.

La-Di-Dee, La-Di-Dum Sorry, I was daydreaming, er, I mean thinking. Turns out, daydreaming is important. At Educating Alice, I found this post, which excerpts Daydream Achiever, Jonah Lehrer’s article in the Boston Globe (8/31/2008). Here’s my quote:  ‘[Scientists have] demonstrated that daydreaming is a fundamental feature of the human mind – so fundamental, in fact, that it’s often referred to as our “default” mode of thought.” We encourage it in preschoolers and call it using their imagination. Then, they go to school and we tell them to turn it off so they can focus. [Reminds me of hugging: when they’re toddlers, we encourage them to hug friends and tell them it is so sweet. Then Kindergarten comes and we tell them to keep their hands to themselves.]

Get Real First, let me say I’m not a reality-TV kind of gal. But one of the candidates in this cycle of America’s Next Top Model used to babysit a neighbor’s kids, and she hosted a party for “opening night.”  I had to laugh when a recent Harvard graduate – an English and American Lit major – could not name five authors, English or American. She just stood there, mouth agape, as Tyra started listing books for her. Call of the Wild got shrugged shoulders, as in don’t know that one. E gad.

An Apple and a Book Recent studies suggest that eating apples improves one’s health (and waistline). So why not munch on an apply while reading? Why? Because the most effective way to promote a child’s health is to raise the literacy level of his mom.  Here’s a quote “43% of people with the lowest literacy skills live in poverty and that illiteracy is a major barrier to employment for 47% of people receiving public assistance. Further, illiteracy is self-perpetuating: half the children born to illiterate parents will grow up to be illiterate adults.” Although the emphasis of Brian Scott’s article is on a local literacy organization, he has invaluable information about why we need to help parents AND kids. See the post at Literacy and Reading News.

New Resource This week, I found the Learning Ladders Society blog and a post about teaching strategies that can help children with diagnoses on the autism spectrum (FWIW– ADD is an autism spectrum diagnosis). The list emphasizes the importance of literacy, as communication is one of the “speed bumps” for autistic children. Children build vocabulary, comprehension, and (depending on the story) social skills lessons that can help them succeed. What I particularly liked about the article is that it goes beyond the stereotypical sensory/communication-averse child and also recognizes the sensory seeking child. 

Phew! Made it with no crashes!


2 responses to “Reading Round-up, 8 September

  1. Great stuff, Terry, as usual. I especially liked the Hokies story. And yes, you should definitely follow Pickled Bananas. Charlotte’s son is doing a great job!

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