Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's Celebrate Children's Literacy on World Book Day

Parents who care about children's literacy and want their kids to love reading read with them every day. But it's fun to have special days too when reading is the whole focus of your day. Tomorrow is World Book and Copyright Day in many countries (although it was March 3 in the UK). The World Book Day website I found is UK-centric, (it's a bit far for me to travel to events) but wonderful nonetheless.

The date doesn't really matter though, does it? What I'm suggesting is that you and your kids or students set aside any day and make it your special Book Day. It might be as simple as dedicating time to reflect on how much reading and books contribute to our lives. You could organise a display at home or in the classroom where each person chooses a favourite book. If it's a problem to display real books at school, try a display of book covers illustrated by the students. At home, children could show the family their favourite page or read aloud a little of the story. How about a party, or a book picnic out doors? It might be fun to think of bookish food or choose foods your book characters might like, or even try to dress up in clothes that represent a book or character. World Book Day might also be a great day to seek out literature or folk tales from other countries. My friends at Paper Tigers can certainly help you out with book choices there.

Here are some more ideas to make your Book Day special - in the form of Book Chook Literacy Challenges.

First Book Chook Literacy Challenge: Ask your kids to summarise a book or story they know in under ten (or some other number) words. Being concise is a skill they will find handy for texting, tweeting and writing newspaper headlines, but it also helps them hone in on what a story is really about.

Some examples to get you started: Petite pigs ultimately defeat windy wolf in building battle. (The Three Little Pigs) Gran has big eyes, ears and teeth? Watch out! (Little Red Riding Hood) There are lots at Book a Minute Bedtime for you to have fun with. You could read the summary from Book a Minute and see if your kids can come up with the book. (Parental guidance advised.)

Second Book Chook Literacy Challenge: Story in a Minute. Have your kids improvise and perform a well-known story or scene from a longer book in under one minute.

Here's a description of 60 Second Fairy Tale to get you started. If your children are older, they might like to make a 90 second movie about a favourite book. Get inspiration from this article about the 90 Second Newbery Film Festival. Or check out Angry Alien's version of Raiders of the Lost Ark. (Again and as always, parental discretion advised!)

Third Book Chook Literacy Challenge: Here's a great children's book title quiz, with authors provided on the right as an extra clue. For example, "The miniature motor that was capable" = The Little Engine That Could. Good for older kids. Why not set aside some time to create a quiz of your own where the answers are book titles?

If challenges aren't your style, perhaps your children might like to explore the World Book Day's For Kids Page. There are links to book-related games, and downloadable activities for preschoolers and primary kids.

However you choose to celebrate it, I hope you have a wonderful World Book Day. In Australia, we have Book Week coming up August 20-26, so you might like to have a whole week of celebrating books then too. The theme this year is One World - Many Stories. My hope for One World is that we allow stories to bring us closer together!

And just for fun, here is a video/song about one guy who really doesn't like to be interrupted when he's reading a book!

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