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

Welcome to the June Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Family Bookshelf and me, writing from my relatively new blog Quietly. June was a packed month and went out here in the “beltway” area with a BIG BANG! Do you know what a “DERECHO" is? Many of us in the DC area did not know the word "derecho" and what it really means.  But we know now!  Check it out. What the article does not convey is the agony of power outages in 100 plus degree weather and all the complications created by power outages. It was a long weekend and continues to be a time of power outage for many households and businesses. And that my friends is also the reason this roundup is a bit later than usual although last month was late due to storms as well! Hold on as the end of August draws near…


Poll results!  Let’s start exactly where last month’s “events” section concluded…don’t miss Betsy Bird’s complete polls on chapter books and picture books; her introductory post on the winners will set the stage for you.  

Read about signing up to receive an email with a link to download the PDF of all the posts for both sets of the complete posts when published. Betsy Bird has done a great service for all of us who revere children’s books through her detailed posts on each winning book.  Thank you, Betsy!
(photo by Joel Benjamin)
A New Poet Laureate. The 19th poet laureate for the USA was announced in early June: Natasha Trethewey, a professor of English and creative writing at Emory University in Atlanta. She is our first poet laureate from the South since the first laureate — Robert Penn Warren — was named by the Library of Congress in 1986. Personally I found the most interesting article about the appointment to be a post by Monica Edinger regarding Trethewey’s time as an artist-in-residence at Monica’s school in 2007 - check out the group poem!

How an athlete focused. For those of us who are NBA fans, June was an “NBA Finals” like we have not seen in a while! And as Valerie Strauss shared through her post in The Washington Post, the Most Valuable Player for the regular season as well as the MVP for the Finals had a very special technique for ”focus” throughout this special year leading to the championship for his team!

June Carnival of Children’s Literature: Posted at Practically Paradise, always a Do. Not. Miss. Event.

BIG meetings in June!
(photo from School Library Journal)
It started with BEA in NYC where part of the “watch” included the wild and crazy cloud patterns throughout each day. If I had time I could make an album just on cloud configurations during BEA! While much has been written, discussed, debated about BEA, my favorite session of all was the School Library Journal’s Day of Dialogue panel led by Betsy Bird on “Pushing the Picture Book Envelope”. You’re going to love the picture books discussed that day. Here’s the tumblr site for Wumbers written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld along with a review of said book by Betsy and one in the Wall Street Journal titled “The Surprising Fun of Visual Puns.”  The other books discussed were Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett; Jon Klassen’sThis is Not My Hat; and D. B. Johnson’s Magritte’s Marvelous Hat. Another great day was the debut American Booksellers Association’s ABC Children’s Institute; I was delighted to serve on a panel and learned so much myself during that panel!

Next up was ALA and while I did not attend this year, I felt as though I re-created  during my “derecho” weekend what I know would have been a favorite part of ALA for me. I read and savored the July/August issue of The Horn Book which is the annual awards issue.  Wow, was I glad to see it in the mailbox!

Happy Birthday to you, Waldo!  Waldo is celebrating his 25th birthday this month. Building on that phrase we all know “Where’s Waldo?”, Indie bookstores are sponsoring a large scavenger hunt to celebrate Waldo and Shop Local. Kids, parents, Waldo-lovers of all ages are eligible to participate.

(image by Luc Melanson for NYTimes)
OLYMPICS! I love the Olympics, always have, both summer and winter versions.  And did you know that “In ancient Greece, literary events were an indispensable part of athletic festivals…”?  And that “For much of the 20th century,poetry was an official, medal-winning competition in the Games.”?  Check out Champions of Verse in a recent New York Times to learn more about the history of poetry and most particularly about poetry at the London 2012 Olympics…including a massive air drop! Read on the London 2012 website the plans for celebrating all arts during the 12-week London 2012 Festival surrounding the period of the Olympic Games.

(photo and logo image from RR website)                     
It’s back…and I’m so glad!
LeVar Burton has brought back Reading Rainbow: Take a Look. It’s in a Book. And it’s an APP! Head to the site now, you’ll feel better just seeing and reading LeVar’s posts, I sure do! 

And what question have I been asked most as I have shared this great news with family and friends? Here is it with the answer that is given on the website.
Does the new App just play the original Reading Rainbow TV series?

No! This is a completely new multimedia experience, with hundreds of new books to read, original video field trips and much more. Some segments from the Classic Reading Rainbow series can be found in the App …they were just too nostalgic and fun to leave out.

The Brain: More flexible?  Researchers at Harvard University’s Mind, Brain, and Education Program released a report in June noting they are increasingly finding the brain to have more plasticity than previously thought, that different parts of the brain are not necessarily hard-wired for specific tasks and are capable of change in response to experience and training.  These findings have implications for teaching and in turn for teacher training which are being further studied by educational neuroscientists. (Both articles cited are from Education Week and reported by Sarah D. Sparks)

The Buzzword Is Digital Literacy" is the title of a post by American Libraries detailing a session at ALA where Jordan Usdan, director of public-private initiatives at the Federal Communications Communication (FCC) discussed Connect2Compete which is a national nonprofit formed with the goal of helping Americans access technology needed to improve their lives “regardless of their age, race, geography, income, or education level.”  It appears to me this is an organization about which we all need to be aware and help our communities benefit from the initiative.  A National Ad Council awareness campaign is expected soon.

Pew Internet and American Life Project. Do you regularly receive updates from this project?  I recommend you do so, I find the reports quite helpful in studying this “buzzword digital literacy.”  This project “explores the impact of the internet on children, families, communities, the work place, schools, health care and civic/political life.” One example from a recent library report posted in the library section of the project: It is noted 12% of e-book readers have borrowed from a library but of individuals surveyed ages 16 and older as to whether they knew if they could “check out” e-books from a library? 62% did not know.

ReadyNation. You may have known them previously as The Partnership for America’s Economic Success; the group is now at America’s Promise and are defined as “A business partnership for early childhood and economic success.”  It’s a hardworking group that has clearly shown it is serious and it is effective in initiating change.  You are encouraged to study the ReadyNation Pledge; and at the top of each web page you will find a space to enter your email for updates.


10 Important Life Lessons From Children’s Books. The Atlantic, June 21, 2012. I think it is always fun to see this type magazine featuring children’s books old and new…another reminder to all the importance of these books! Perhaps I liked the article as they chose so many of my very favorites?

Don’t forget this free monthly service for parents in English and in Spanish from WETA’s Reading Rockets, ColorinColorado and LDOnLine. See past articles on which this email newsletter has been based and learn all the ways you can use this publication in your community.

Trending Topics for June. Two major topics dominated the information I studied this month for these bookworm suggestions:  (1) Summer Reading and (2) Play.  Here are some articles I considered as highlights and of potential benefit for each of us:
(photo from Reading Rockets website)
Who Else Wants to Motivate Their Kids? by Melissa Taylor who discusses extrinsic, intrinsic motivation and the whole issue of rewards.
Summer Reading incentive programs from Sound It Out by Joanne Meier (Thank you, Jen, for your new listings of “Links I Shared on Twitter This Week” where I found this article!)
Start with a Book is Reading Rockets new website for summer discovery (and all year long in my opinion) for ages 3-9 has a special feature I sure like: when parents sign up for the Reading Tips to Go, ideas are sent righ to their mobile phones…in English and in Spanish, 3-4 messages arrive per week.  Simply text READING to 41411 or visit the web sign-up.  Exciting!
School Family Reading Nights? Morris Elementary in Des Moines, Iowa has a series of seven sizzling summer literacy evenings, each on a different theme for students and families. Two evening’s topics that first caught my attention were “pigs, fiddle and banjo” with another night featuring ”race car and hot air balloon.”

The True Loss of Recess by Peter DeWitt on “Finding Common Ground” at Education Week.
Sunday Dialogue: How Children Play An interesting set of letters sent to The New York Times.
Imaginations More Active Despite Less Play Time, Study Shows by Sarah D. Sparks in Education Week.
The Way We Play, a guest post by Zoe Toft at The Book Chook.

Happy Summer Reading from Jen, Terry and Carol.  We thank you for your interest and advocacy for great literacy experiences for ALL children!



Posted on Wednesday, July 4th 2012