Welcome to the May Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Family Bookshelf and me, Carol, writing from my new blog Quietly. There is much literacy-related material on which to report and some previews to give! (And alas, yes, this is a bit later than I like to post the “end of month” but I keep ending up over the last four days in places where storms are seriously affecting connectivity!)
LITERACY & READING-RELATED EVENTS
Poll results on “favorites”: No, for once in this season it’s not political poll results! In case you need to do some catching up on Betsy Bird’s latest polls on chapter books and picture books, her introductory post on the winners will set the stage for you.
May 2012 Carnival of Children’s Literature: Great material submitted by participants, well organized by the host at Hope Is The Word - it’s a super carnival which means “Don’t miss it!” If you do not participate in the Carnivals, never have and/or perhaps feel a bit uneasy posting for the first time, read the information at the Carnival information site and make plans to submit. Come on in, the water is fine!
With gratitude to friends remembered. May was a month of sadness for many in the children’s literacy world as we lost a number of friends; for many it was the loss of personal friends of longstanding. For others of us, it was the loss of friends whom we knew through their stories and their illustrations. Rest in peace Maurice Sendak, Ellen Levine, Jean Craighead George, Peter Sieruta, Leo Dillon. You enriched our lives, you inspired us.
LITERACY PROGRAMS & RESEARCH
A long word. So many of us loved watching the movie Mary Poppins if for no other reason than to hear and then let roll off our own tongues that long, long word: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! No one was EVER able to satisfy my inquiry of “where did it come from?” I have now read this article and one man’s journey to research this word! Could be a fun classroom or family experience to see what a history this single word has and the digging that had to occur to learn the full story as it is currently known.
Story Time Changes Needed? A recent study carried by numerous media outlets has of course created the usual “dust up”…change is tough. The April 2012 issue of the journal Child Development carries a study “Increasing Young Children’s Contact With Print During Shared Reading: Longitudinal Effects on Literacy Achievement.” I encourage all interested and/or concerned to read the full article. To me of note is the concluding statement noting: The long-term impacts of print referencing during preschool shared reading indicated a sizable, positive shift in the literacy trajectories of children for whom social and economic circumstances place them at substantial risk for later reading difficulties. Such impacts suggest the feasibility and power of primary prevention models that subtly enhance existing early childhood routines or activities to bring about meaningful impacts to children’s developmental trajectories.
I added the emphasis to “subtly” above as I feel having read the full article it is a key piece to this study as well as the notation about “social and economic circumstances place them at substantial risk for later reading difficulties.” With little improvement showing over twenty years in reading achievement among poor children, I believe we must continue to have studies like this to help us in turn assist the children falling most behind, dropping out, unable to make a living wage and worse.
Print and Digital Books. So I may be setting myself up for a meltdown here by putting a toe or more into the water, but please note I did not say one vs the other in the opening phrase. So few things when carefully considered do I find either/or; and this is one yet again where I believe strongly we must take deep breaths and make sure we’re looking at all angles. I started thinking about this seriously again as I sat in the audience when the 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge student winners were recognized. 28 middle- and high-school student winners from 11 states and the District of Columbia were praised by an impressive array of leaders in this field…praise for the students’ accomplishments in design and their creativity. This annual competition is held by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media in partnership with a number of corporate partners. Enjoy a video about the competition. So why did I start thinking about digital and print books in the midst of this? Simple. The afternoon reminded me there are so many ways to learn, to enjoy various topics and never would I want kids who love digital games to be missing this opportunity…and similarly, I don’t want children held from a form of book from which s/he might most learn or obtain enjoyment because at the adult level we’re having a debate that tends to go in circles. I was then absolutely delighted to see that Michael Levine, Executive Director of the Cooney Center, posted an article No More Reading Wars! Getting Ahead of the Transition From Print to Digital Books. I hope you will read it and will do as I try to do and read articles about this issue regularly; I believe it is critical for our nation’s children we do so. Here are five May articles I also found helpful in thinking on these digital-infused issues:
New ALA report explores challenge of equitable access to digital content
Print Books, Basic Ebooks may Top Enhanced Ebooks at Fostering Literacy, Says Study
Forecast: 80% of Tablet App Downloads Will be from Games, Digital Publishing, Social Networking, and E-Commerce Categories in 2016
For Young Readers, Print or Digital Books?
5 Opportunities For Ed Tech To Amplify Children’s Curiosity, Not Destroy It
SUGGESTIONS FOR GROWING BOOKWORMS
Summer Reading: You read often in our Roundups about summer reading issues. I hope you are aware of the invitation issued by The New York Times Learning Network for you to “take to twitter” on this Thursday, June 7 to discuss your plans, your questions, your students’ and children’s ideas about #summerreading! Let’s make the twitterworld well aware of this important period in the education of our children!
Military Families. Recently RIF and United Through Reading visited the USS Bush and produced a fun event for children of parents who had been deployed and/or were to deploy soon after the reading celebration where Doro Bush read to the children. Later Jen came upon this article about one woman’s successes in sending comic books to soldiers and how much it has meant to the troops; her own medical emergency convinced her of the power of books for healing, passing time constructively. The article includes how you can assist her in this effort. We’re including it as we believe for sure growing of bookworms includes assisting parents!
Best Books for Babies: The list has been released, and goodness, what fun is waiting there on that list. The website also has other useful information about books and babies together. And I have already found it is a great list for selecting newborn gifts among other uses! [The Fred Rogers Company supports Best Books for Babies along with The School of Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Association for the Education of Young Children (PAEYC).]
10,000 Ways It Won’t Work. In the February Roundup I wrote:
An article caught my eye back in January that I failed to include in that roundup; it is critical enough I share it now a month late with you: Don’t Prevent Students’ Mistakes, Prepare for Them. I particularly liked for starters the poster headlining the article, a quote by Thomas A. Edison: I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. Enough said I believe, a strong reminder for all of us parents and educators.
It was interesting then to read in “By the Book” in the May 27, 2012 New York Times what Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust answered when asked “Is there any book you wish all incoming freshmen at Harvard would read?” Check out her answer! Similarly, our colleague in literacy, Kyle Zimmer, President, CEO and co-founder of First Book, was interviewed for “Corner Office” in that same edition of The New York Times, and she has an interesting award sometimes given to those who formulated promising ideas and failed.
Great apps for all book lovers to explore! That was the title of the May 26 Nerdy Book Club blog. Mary Ann Scheuer has given us some great apps to explore and summer would be a fun time to do so! (Ah, surprised you, found another way to insert summer learning!)
Have a great beginning to your summer…and a sincere thank you for your dedication to children’s literacy. We hope to see you on twitter on June 7! And then Jen will be back in mid-June with new literacy and reading items for you.
Book People Unite!
Posted on Monday, June 4th 2012