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Roundup of Children’s Literacy and Reading News – AUGUST in Review

Welcome to the August Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Family Bookshelf and me at Quietly. Well, this is actually a review of July AND August…July’s review was the victim of RIF’s move…by the time the review finished its journey to never-never land, we decided to combine it with August. We’ve gathered some great items that caught our eyes…it was another period full of exciting literacy efforts!


Ben Bernanke: Investment in Early Childhood Programs Promise Big Returns
Listen to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s address at the Children’s Defense Fund National Conference in Cincinnati Ohio. In his own words “early childhood programs are a good investment with inflation-adjusted annual rates of return on the funds dedicated to these programs, estimated to reach 10 percent or higher. Very few alternative investments can promise that kind of return.”  For me,  seeing and hearing this statement while sitting in the audience with other child advocates was a very special experience…goose bumps, tears of joy and the desire to scream with joy at the top of my lungs (which I did NOT do, at least not until I got back to the hotel and in the shower).  Inch by inch we make progress, but a statement by the Fed Chair?  More than a few inches.

The Olympics
As noted by so many bloggers and other in the literacy world, the opening ceremony was not only the usual excitement, but what a tribute to literacy and literature!  Harry Potter, Mary Poppins and more…extraordinary and a milestone as well.  In addition there are the arts and literature events held that we’ve noted in previous Roundups and which will continue through the Paralympics with extraordinary displays and performances on the schedule. Of note also in the Paralympics currently underway in London is that athletes with learning disabilities are again allowed to compete. Movement forward, exciting times.

Calling all BOOK SPINE POETRY aficionado’s! 

Kate Messner has shared the announcement of THE BOOKSTORE PLUS which is holding a World Championship Book Title Poetry tournament. And as the rules state, since the gift certificate prizes are good on phone orders, they welcome and encourage entries far and wide.  Watch this one for public judging to start. Then there is another such contest at the LIBRARY THING which also ends on September 7; this one has a guest judge.  Start stacking those books, the deadlines are September 7. A fun, long weekend activity for parents and children perhaps?

Armchair Travel
I love to travel and when summer’s trips were over, I found some delightful “armchair” travelogues to enjoy…the best has been Monica of EDUCATING ALICE as she talked about her trip to IBBY and other special events and places surrounding London.  Don’t miss it!
 (Monica’s photo of all country’s IBBY honorees on stage at presentation ceremony.)
And speaking of IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People) which meets every other year, The IBBY Honour Books from the US this year were Author Jennifer Holm for TURTLE IN PARADISE, Illustrator Brian Floca for BALLET FOR MARTHA: MAKING APPALACHIAN SPRING, and Translator Kathryn Mahaffey for EIDI: THE CHILDREN OF CROW COVE series.  Congratulations to all three!

A Cash Mob?
I must admit I had no idea what a “cash mob” is until I read this story from Publishers Weekly regarding the World’s Only Curious George Store in Harvard Square.  I must say, it sounds fun to me; I mean, I love to shop in bookstores, only place I do like to shop! Have you been to a “cash mob”?

It’s Complicated! 
Did you share in the Children’s Book Council’s (CBC) first dialogue in their new “It’s Complicated” diversity initiative? The second dialogue which will feature “book covers” starts THIS Monday, September 3.  Check it out, and thank you to CBC for the sponsorship of this great addition to the world of children’s literature.

Never too early to prepare!
Are you participating in Jumpstart’s Read for the Record on October 4? Learn more if you haven’t participated previously. And start thinking ladybugs…

An election is on the way
Mr. Schu recently reminded us on twitter of the materials provided by Scholastic on teaching Election 2012


Simon Says Don’t Use Flashcards
Two quotes from this article point out the critical nature of its content:

"But a growing body of research suggests that playing certain kinds of childhood games may be the best way to increase a child’s ability to do well in school. Variations on games like Freeze Tag and Simon Says require relatively high levels of executive function, testing a child’s ability to pay attention, remember rules and exhibit self-control — qualities that also predict academic success."

Ellen Galinsky, a child-development researcher and author of “Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs” notes “But focusing on the how of learning, on executive functions, gives you the skills to learn new information, which is why they tend to be so predictive of long-term success.”

Do students learn, retain more in year-round schools?
By early July 25,000 North Carolina students had returned to school for more than “summer school” but instead are enrolled in year-round schools. The debate continues on this concept.

The Casper Project
This fall researchers at the University of Wyoming will study how students in several Casper, Wyoming, Title I schools are responding to a program presented to their parents on helping children succeed. One to watch…

Report: States Can Harness Technology to Improve Early Education
Check out a new report on this topic for the Education Commission of the States by Lisa Guernsey, director of the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative.


September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

Many libraries have been busy over the summer preparing for this special push. I sure like this piece I received from my home library in Little Rock, Arkansas…great added benefits on top of books, community involvement and support…and one of the best ways to grow bookworms, a library card of her own!

A special place to read in the house…yes!
We tend to talk more as school starts about special places in the house to read when it is important year round…but given the days in some areas start becoming much cooler after school and looking ahead to winter, it is natural I assume to think now: Do the children have a good place to make reading special? Over a year ago a friend sent me the column from the Thrifty Decor Chick sharing how to make the neatest reading nook I have seen without serious expense. And as the Chick found, she could fit, she loved it too. 
Jonathan Kozol and Lily who has that plastic purse in purple
I read everything I can written by Jonathan Kozol.  He usually makes me uncomfortable but in a way that motivates me.  Goodness, how exciting then to see his comments recently on kid’s literature…all nicely summarized by Stacey Loscalzo. And yes, if only more children could savor the joy of reading without associating it with the questions they will be asked on a test…sigh.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhoood debuts Monday, September 1
The word “neighborhood” is key…this new show in the fall PBS Kids lineup is produced by the Fred Rogers Company and Angela Santomero, cofounder of Out of the Blue Enterprises and the creative force behind the PBS KIDS literacy series SUPER WHY!. Friends with young children report to me the preview app has become a real favorite of their children…watch on Monday!

In closing…as Jen said it on twitter earlier, have you seen the fabulous schedule for KidLitCon in NYC on September 29?  Check it out!

Thank you for your support of children’s literacy and literature…we’ll see you mid-September. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend…oh, are you reading a special book?

Carol, Jen and Terry

Tags Ballet for Martha Ben Bernanke Brian Floca Carol Hampton Rasco Children's Book Council Children's Defense Fund Conference EIDI: The Children of Crow Cove Educating Alice Family Bookshelf IBBY It's Complicated Jen Robinson Jen Robinson's Book Page Jennifer Holm Jumpstart Kathryn Mahaffey Library Thing London 2012 Olympics Paralympics Quietly Read for the Record Terry Doherty The Bookstore Plus Turtle in Paradise World's Only Curious George Store book spine poetry cash mob early childhood year-round schools