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The SEPTEMBER Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup

 Welcome to the September children’s literacy and reading news roundup, brought to you by Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Terry Doherty of The Family Bookshelf and me.  


Thank you! Thank you! Yesterday was READ FOR THE RECORD day sponsored by Jumpstart with great online materials still available!  Thank you, Jumpstart, for this great annual day of reading which creates such great awareness nationally and even around the globe as noted in posts and tweets yesterday!

The Boxcar Children turns 70…and what will the celebration highlight? A prequel by an award winning writer! I can still hear my late grandmother Mid’s voice reading that grand series to us girls.  As far as I am concerned the opening lines of the original series are some of the best ever: One warm night four children stood in front of a bakery. No one knew them. No one knew where they had come from.  

Jen posted some Quick Hits earlier this week and I remind you of her links to the obviously TERRIFIC KidLitCon12.  Congratulations to Betsy Bird, Monica Edinger and Liz Burns for quite the event! Jen also discusses CYBILS (with nominations closing October 15) and the book fair sponsored by Guys Lit Wire for Ballou Senior High School in DC.  As a resident of the “beltway” myself and working in DC, I can attest to the daily reminders of the serious need for books in the DC school libraries/classrooms…buy a book or two or three today, won’t you?

Banned Books Week is completing its 30th year; if you have not been able to keep on top of all the great articles this week, check out  A useful site year round in my opinion!
Don’t miss this great site celebrating 50 years of all things Clifford!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Looking ahead to events still to come in OCTOBER: In addition to preparing for Halloween with lots of great books old and new to share, other events upcoming in October include the full month being celebrated as National Children’s Magazine Month and National Reading Group Month. Special days include among many others Columbus Day (8), The Count's birthday (9), first aerial photo in the U. S. taken in Boston from a hot air balloon, 1860 (13), the Star Spangled Banner was first sung in 1814 as well as Thomas Edison demonstrated  Electric Light successfully in 1879 (19).  I see some great writing prompts in these events as well as some super books called to mind (and/or waiting to be written)!

And finally, on the events front it is only 219 days until Children’s Book Week 2013! Check out the countdown clock!


It’s one of those times I can’t pass up the chance to share exciting news about Reading Is Fundamental!  RIF has been awarded a $4.18 million first-year research grant from the U. S. Department of Education’s Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program.  Check it out, we’re excited about looking more closely at scalable summer learning strategies for early elementary students.  This is also a great time to again thank each of you who worked so hard with us to have this competitive grant program included by Congress in the FY12 budget.  Our project will utilize our recently released STEAM-themed Multicultural Book Collection highlighted in the September mid-month roundup by Jen. Stay tuned, much more to follow!

What’s Wrong with Reading? read the title of the article.  It began:

Recently I was “caught” reading at McDonald’s by a group of kids at my school. I say “caught” because many of my peers consider reading to be a lame activity. They think it’s something that only geeks do.

It is powerful, it is written by the teen who was “caught” and it sure made me stop in my tracks despite knowing the truth of the matter.  Take a moment to read it and another moment to absorb it. Perhaps the most important article I have read in a long time, it continues to haunt me.


At Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books a recent column is a succinct set of tips the blogger gleaned from a new book for parents and teachers…with cute pictures of some very young relatives getting into books. A great refresher for all of us, some well worded tips to use with audiences of all types.

How to teach your child to love reading by Susan Elkin in The Independent was a follow up article to the recent study released in England showing fewer children and teens reading independently of school “have to read materials.” Elkin reminds everyone of us “The most useful thing parents can do to encourage children and teenagers to read is to be seen reading a lot themselves. Parents who say they are “too busy to read” simply convey the message that reading is beneath the attention of important grown-ups. “Do as I say but not as I do” cuts no ice with children. They will quickly stop reading because not reading will be seen as “cool” and “adult”. ”  This reminded me of the great image I had recently when Jen wrote she reached a milestone with Baby Bookworm recently; Jen read her own book, Bookworm sat in her little chair and read.  And as Jen noted, maybe it was only for two minutes; but it is a start, a critical one for all children.

Another article of note: Why reading by third grade is critical, and what can be done to help children meet that deadline.

It’s election season; and I am heartened by the discussions being reported on preschool education as a “hot topic” as well as the articles reporting on the states contemplating budget changes - up or down - for preschool education. Some I commend to you for review…and don’t miss the discussion/debate in the comments:
Start them early, The Atlantic, September 22, 2012.  Looking at San Antonio, important ballot question for November.
Smart Start?  Will Preschool Budget Cuts Damage a Generation, Huffington Post, September, August 29, 2012 (updated).  Looking at North Carolina’s Smart Start program among other preschool topics/sites in the state.
Mississippi Pre-Kindergarten:  Will A New Conversation About Funding Take Hold? , The Hechinger Report’s HechingerEd blog, August 27, 2102.
China Aiming for the Gold in Starting Kids Early, US is Late to the GameAnn O’Leary on Huffington Post Education blog, August 23, 2012.
My view: Obama, Romney need to know one thing about early childhood education - start overNancy Carlsson-Paige, CNN Schools of Thought blog, August 29, 2012.

We’ll be back soon with a mid-October roundup. And in the meantime, we’ll be sharing reading-related news on Twitter @CHRasco, @TheReadingTub, and @JensBookPage. Thank you for your passion and advocacy for children’s literature and literacy!

Tags Ballou Senior High School Banned Books Week CYBILS Children's Book Week 2012 Clifford Guys Lit Wire Innovative Approaches to Literacy Jen Robinson Jen Robinson's Book Page Jumpstart KidLitCon12 Read for the Record STEAM Multicultural Book Collection Scholastic Terry Doherty The Boxcar Children The Family Bookshelf The Reading Tub WHAT'S WRONG WITH READING? parents modeling reading picture books preschool debates reading by third grade