Thursday, June 16, 2011

Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup

I'm hosting the Children's Literacy and Reading News Roundup (usually brought to the cyberworld by Jen Robinson's Book Page, The Family Bookshelf and Rasco from RIF) at The Book Chook today. Below you'll find snippets of news about literacy and reading-related events from across the blogosphere.

Reading News

Did you catch the Washington Post June 2 article: Are picture books dead? No need for you to follow that link. I have the answer: Of course picture books aren't dead! You can't kill 32 pages of dreams and wonder.

Sections of the media seem intent on making fusses. I wonder why??? An article in the Wall Street Journal prompted some interesting debate recently as Jen mentioned in her June 8 Roundup. Here are four different perspectives.

The Happy Accident
I always enjoy reading Greg Pincus's take on things. Be sure to scroll down and read comments too. It's wonderful that the kidlitosphere is a place where we can have healthy discussions and allow each other differing opinions.

The Book Whisperer
Donalyn Miller sums it up for me with this sentence: Do not let ignorance and storm crow squawking about the decline of civilization prevent you from sharing relevant, powerful books with your children.

Cheryl Rainfield
Cheryl gives a personal perspective as the author of a book (Scars) mentioned in the original article at the Wall Street Journal.

The Light and Round Project
Jennifer Bertman decided to turn lemons into lemonade and started the Light and Round Project to showcase YA Literature that's "light to absent on the dark and edgy elements". Each Wednesday a roundup of books will be posted with links to blogger reviews or book pages. reveals the most well-read cities in America.

Story Snoops
"We help you find fiction that fits." Children's book reviews, and a great searchable database that gives book suggestions according to different criteria.

When do we stop reading with our kids? A father's gift of reading from CBS News.

Tips to Build Better Readers from TogetheREAD. Great ideas for families to incorporate into reading at home.


Looking for a reading challenge? Why not join Donalyn of The Book Whisperer in the Third Annual Book a Day challenge? Or try the Paper Tigers Reading the World Challenge. And don't forget the Literacy Toolbox Summer Reading Challenge (If you're a Book Chook, reading without spectacles is challenge enough!)


Dawn Morris of Moms Inspire Learning is a passionate public library supporter. Her recent article, A Simple Tweet, Email or Visit Can Help Save a Library, shares ideas for taking helpful action.

Discover what this library is doing to heat up summer reading with a Transliteracy approach - fun ideas that have generated immense enthusiasm in kids.

Grow Up Reading is an initiative from the West Bloomfield Township Public Library in the USA. Check it out for information on ages baby to grade 3.


Kim Yaris poses the question: "How do we get kids to want to read?" Find her answer in The Secret Society for Selecting Stories.

"Preschoolers who enjoy spending time with a good book are more likely to behave better in the classroom, according to research from Purdue University."

Johnnie's Story Page. Links to Interactive Stories and Reading Activities for Kids and Teachers.

I'm always fascinated by different concepts for schools and learning. In The Children's Manifesto from the Guardian newspaper (UK), kids were asked what they wanted from a school, and here's a compilation of their answers.

Learn new songs and rhymes with the StoryBlocks videos and "help build readers."(via @readingrockets)


Jan Pienkowski: drawing Meg and Mog - audio slideshow from The Guardian newspaper (UK) (about 4 minutes) "In the latest in our series of audio slideshows with children's illustrators, Jan Pienkowski talks about his childhood in Poland, how tales of the terrifying Baba Yaga indirectly inspired his "incompetent" witch, Meg, and why he believes picture books may soon become a thing of the past".

Interested in World Literature? Invitation to World Literature. Watch, read and explore - from The Epic of Gilgamesh onwards. Fascinating!
Ephemerooks (BookChook Ephemera!): Small things that have snagged my attention, however briefly.

1. Reading Rockets has some great widgets for blogs.

2. Need bookmarks? Generate some beauties at National Geographic. Kids can scroll through different bookmark templates then personalize and print their bookmark. (See my screen shot at left.)

3. Need a poster for your blog post or library? I made the one up top at Big Huge Labs - Billboard (choose Wilderness from the style menu, upload your photo and add text.) You'll find similar tools there too.

And in conclusion...

Most of us involved with children's literacy have times when we wonder if it's worth it. Perhaps we look at the statistics on how many parents read to their children, or we experience cutbacks to our own libraries, and even worse, their closure. Here's a paragraph that reminds me it's totally worth it: One hundred years from now, it will not matter what kind of car I drove, what kind of house I lived in, how much money I had in my bank account, or what my clothes looked like. But one hundred years from now, the world may be a little better because I was important in the life of a child. (Attributed to Anonymous all over the internet, it sounds a lot like lines from Within My Power by Forest Witcraft.)

Here's another favourite literacy quote, introduced via The Joy of LiteracyThe single most important condition for literacy learning is the presence of mentors who are joyfully literate people. ~ Shirley Brice Heath

And finally (as your reward for reading all the way to the end!) here's a trailer for the movie, The First Grader. Even watching the trailer moves me to tears, and reminds me what a privilege being literate truly is. May your week be joyfully literate!

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