Welcome to the latest children’s literacy and reading news roundup, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page, Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub and The Family Bookshelf, and me, Carol Rasco from RIF posting at Quietly. For this mid-month roundup that should have been posted at the end of April, I have lots of information we’ve collected regarding literacy and reading-related events; literacy programs and research; and suggestions for growing bookworms.
Without laboring over the issue, I extend a huge thanks of support to my colleagues Jen and Terry for their patience since January when I suffered a fall which resulted in a broken arm that I did not realize was broken for ten days and the story gets more interesting from there…I’ve been spending two days a week in Baltimore in PT and despite a small setback, all is going well. Now if I can ever catch up on work left untended and get back into a routine…and of course I’ll shout so loud you will hear me all over the land when I can fully use this arm again…yes, it’s my dominant arm. (But I have not told my father nor my son, the family worriers, shhh, okay?)
Literacy and Reading-Related Events
Children’s Book Week, it’s this week! A time to celebrate the books we hold dear at The Roundup! In addition to the bookmark above by Grace Lin (complete with activities, also see the Brian Selznick poster for this year as well!) Last evening was the Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala. Not being able to make it in person this year I was thrilled to have a clear, steamed version into my living room…what a fun evening as always. I mean, did you know Meg Cabot raps? Check out the video of the program yourself, learn the results of the more than one million votes cast by young people!
London Book Fair back in mid-April was kicked off by the Fifth Digital Minds Conference which in turn was keynoted by Neil Gaiman who as usual had some food for thought to offer. As someone who feels on many a day like I am in a heavy duty tumbler with big rocks crushing my head due to those who want me to say it’s traditional book OR it is digital, make a decision, I appreciated his thoughts. Another piece distributed by many during April/May on this topic is "The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper vs Screens" which you might find helpful in thinking about this complex issue as well.
Lots of events over these last six weeks. What if I were to pick five from which I have learned the most this particular year? The varied posts and viewpoints on SCREEN FREE WEEK with Jen’s posts among the most interesting; Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s SCHOOL LUNCH SUPER HERO DAY as it brought back such memories to me of sitting at those tables, speaking to those sweet ladies, the sense of community; LIBRARY WEEK thinking about all the libraries I have known, what each has contributed to me being me;
NATIONAL TRAIN DAY on May 11 because I’ve spent a lot of time on trains since January back and forth to Baltimore as well as a Boston train trip plus there is a new favorite train book among my little guys: STEAM TRAIN DREAM TRAIN (I get to be the caretaker of the refrigerated cars!).
And finally, watching Kareem Abdul-Jabar read and talk with elementary students this week as part of RIF’s GALA week was true inspiration of the “tallest” order for sure.
More events to come of course! Let’s explore 2 more in May and three to preview for June with a book for each.
MAY 18: International Museum Day
READ: THE MUSEUM, story by Susan Verde and art by Peter H. Reynolds
MAY 29: Paper Clip Day
READ: SIX MILLION PAPER CLIPS: The Making of a Children’s Holocaust Memorial by Peter W. Schroeder.
JUNE 6: National Yo-Yo Day
READ: KNOTS IN MY YO-YO STRING: The Autobiography of a Kid by Jerry Spinelli
JUNE 15: Fly a Kite Day in honor of the anniversary of Ben Franklin’s kite experiment in 1752.
READ: ELECTRIC BEN: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd
JUNE 21: First Day of Summer
READ: LOOK UP! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard by Annette Leblanc Cate.
LITERACY AND READING PROGRAMS AND RESEARCH
Summer reading, summer reading, summer reading…just cannot stress it enough. It is never too late to work with your public library, your community’s schools as well as government officials and other child and youth serving organizations to make sure ALL children in every community have their needs met when it comes to summer reading.
RIF applauds the Junior League of Washington’s Resolution Read which will go with RIF into 21 local elementary schools to present children choices in books for each child to take two books home (in addition the three books already given by the League to these children this year) along with a bag of activities.
The National Summer Learning Association website is a place to check about summer reading! Keep in mind National Summer Learning Day is June 21, a great day to get the ball rolling in your community for enhanced summer learning for all.
ED Week noted in early April: Today, Deborah Meier starts a month-long blog conversation with Elliott Witney, a former KIPP educator who now serves as the executive director of strategic initiatives and innovation in the Spring Branch independent school district in Houston, Texas. Mr. Witney was school leader at the first KIPP—Knowledge Is Power Program—charter school for 10 years. I found the series of letters between the two stimulating, thought provoking, and good for me. I hope you will benefit from reading them and thinking about education with them.
Prettier Charts Can Be Harder for Students to Read Sarah D. Sparks starts this particular blog entry with “Graphics are often intended to engage children in learning otherwise dry material, such as data on a chart. Yet new research from Ohio State University suggests increasing charts’ artistic appeal can interfere with students’ ability to comprehend the information they represent.” Read more about this study of 122 middle class 6- to 8-year-old students.
SUGGESTIONS FOR GROWING BOOKWORMS
GENDER. Gender. gender. Applause to Betsy Bird for her early April post "Are there any girl bears?"
Back to summer reading and your own bookworms!
Easy activity calendars for the summer! Don’t forget monthly activity calendars here for two age groups, all calendars in English and in Spanish!
Family vacation, it’s a go! Whether it’s a plane trip with carefully crafted passports and potato prints as “stamps” for the various countries visited, a camping trip at a state park or the wild, wild west, or you are planning a series of visits to museums in other cities or states at the rate of one a week…you can do it with the help of your library and perhaps an internet connection with bushels of fun assured. Your trips using books as a foundation are guaranteed winners. Join William, Charlie and me on that train I mentioned earlier or travel to China with us to retrace Mrs. Harkness’ trip to bring a panda to the US. Start planning now, Reading Rainbow has ideas to offer. And do hare your best ideas with us in the comments.
Magical, yes it is. A big thank you to Susan at The Book Chook for posting a lovely magical piece by Mem Fox, take time to read it. It’s the best way to end this Roundup —- using Mem’s words: Reading is magical because it brings parents and children together for fun, bonding and giggles.
Thanks for caring about children’s literacy! We hope you enjoy a great remainder of May full of reading just what you wish!
Posted on Tuesday, May 14th 2013