The Wash Rag, Spring 2008 Newsletter

This is the digest version of The Wash Rage, the Reading Tub’s quarterly newsletter. If you prefer, you can read the newsletter edition, it has a lot more links and tidbits, like this one …

Which teacher has the bigger influence on our kids’ reading? The one who spends 900 hours in school with them or the one at home who spends 7,800 hours with them? Paraphrase … Jim Trelease, Read Aloud Handbook, Introduction, xv. Fifth revised Edition, 2006

CHAPTER ONE … General Tub Stuff
Welcome to all of our new subscribers and registered readers. It’s wonderful to know there are so many people interested in children’s literacy and reading. We are honored that you think enough of us – and what we do – to send a book, offer a suggestion, ask us a question, or become a registered reader.

One of the ways for us to stay connected and keep ourselves on track is through surveys. Right now, we have two open surveys.

  • Survey One on the Reading Tub® website helps us understand traffic patterns and needs.
  • Survey Two on Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, the Reading Tub® blog focuses on reading

Together, the surveys will help us identify needs, sort priorities, and build the tools you want. If you have taken one of the surveys – thank you! If you haven’t had a chance, we would love to have your input. It might take three minutes to complete.

The surveys will remain open through the end of May 2008. I’ll publish the results in June on the blog. Sneak peaks at the data suggest that the input will be valuable for consumers (parents/teachers/librarians) and producers (authors/publishers) alike. Stay tuned.

Over the past few months I have been carefully scanning the bookshelves, looking at site traffic patterns, and listening to others in the field. Based on that analysis, I modified the Reading Tub® book review criteria. You can read all the details on the Website. This was a difficult decision. The Reading Tub, Inc. is a non-profit for literacy with a mission that is about encouraging reading. In the end, I decided that our responsibility is to meet parents’ needs for quality reading material and offer reasonable access through recognized, credible channels.

The Soap Dish … Stuff We’re Bubbly About

Already this year we have reviewed 130 books (as of May 15). If we keep this pace, we’re headed to 500 for the year!

Please welcome Bethany Vermillion to the Reading Tub® as a reviewer and feature writer. Look for Beth’s articles on reading and literacy. We will let Bethany introduce herself:

In junior high, I would walk from class to class with my nose in a book. Without running into anyone, I finished the whole Babysitter’s Club series this way! I am a former sixth grade teacher and reading specialist; now I stay home to play with her one-year-old son, Jakson. I love historical fiction, starting a new book, and reading Click, Clack, Moo to Jakson. Aside from reading, I enjoy organizing rooms – ever read Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room? Awesome closet – sewing, and traveling with husband Zak.

Stop by Bethany’s blog to say “hi” and catch a glimpse (or two) of Jakson.

Author Showcase ~ Spring 2008

Reading opens doors: the doors of our imagination, the doors of achievement, and doors of our own choosing. This showcase features three authors who understand how powerful reading can be, not only for our personal success but also for our spiritual growth and sense of self-worth.

Leona Bodie deRosa
is a mother, grandmother, author, and reading advocate. It is easy to list them, but harder to distinguish them in how she lives her life. She wrote her first children’s book One is Fun for her grandson … and asked her mother (an accomplished artist) to illustrate it. She wants to share her passion for reading with the next generation, just as she did her own sons. Read along as Leona Bodie de Rosa tells her story.

Peter DeWitt recognizes the irony of his path in life. He was a student who struggled with school (particularly reading and writing) and then became … a teacher and published author. In his eleven years as a teacher, Peter would write stories to read with his students. His middle-grade fantasy novels were the next step in his writing career. When he’s not at school or out talking with kids about his books, you are likely to catch him talking about struggling learners with parents and educators … or thinking about that next book. Enjoy this conversation about books, reading, and learning with Peter DeWitt.

Marianne Richmond sees inspiration in the daily pieces of life. Then she magically transforms them into greeting cards, storybooks, and other gift products. Through her art and writing, she reminds us that sometimes the “every day” can be the most extraordinary. Meet Marianne Richmond, award-winning picture book author, illustrator, artist, and creative services consultant.

Here is our line-up for the Summer 2008 Author Showcase:

You missed your chance for a Summer preview! Don’t miss your chance this Fall! There is just one spot left for the Fall 2008 Showcase. deadline: 30 June 2008 if you’re hoping for a Summer 2008 preview feature.

The Final Rinse

As I close out this edition of the Wash Rag, I start packing for Book Expo America. It has been three years since we have been able to attend the event, so we are especially excited about the opportunity to say “Thanks” in person to all of you who have supported us these past few years … and to meet some new contacts, as well. This is a great opportunity not only to see what’s what with children’s literature, but also to put our pitch in for the readers who need books the most: the kids who don’t have books and who struggle to read. If you’re going to be in Los Angeles for BEA, drop me a line so we can get together.