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Nov 7 / ReadingTub

Roundup of Children’s Literacy and Reading News – Mid November

This is the archive edition of the Children’s Literacy and Reading News roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Rasco from RIF. This is a twice monthly collection of news related to literacy and reading. You can see the original at The Family Bookshelf.

Welcome to the mid-November Children’s Literacy and Reading News Roundup brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Rasco from RIF. Over the month of November so far Jen Robinson and I have collected content for you about literacy & reading-related events; literacy and reading programs and research; and suggestions for growing bookworms.

Jen and I wish to honor the memory of our colleague Terry Doherty’s father who was “called Home” over the weekend.  Clearly he was among many things a man of literacy who instilled in his daughter and those he taught within a classroom a love of words, books, and story.  Terry has paid tribute to him in a lovely, personal posting.  Our thoughts are with the family as they mourn his loss and celebrate all that he brought to their lives. Indeed, we are thinking about you and all your family, Terry.

Literacy & Reading-Related Events

BIG day tomorrow, November 15: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever released!
First run? 
6 million copies!

It’s a “wimpy wonderland” with The Rolling Blizzard indeed “ready to roll and create some snow”! Check out the east coast tour map.

There was an interesting post last week in anticipation of this book 6 in the Wimpy Kid series; the post is written by child psychiatrist Dr. Harold Koplewicz:  “Wimpy Kid: Why ‘The Ugly Truth’ Is So Appealing”.  I particularly liked what Dr. Koplewicz reported a librarian writing about the first WIMPY book on her blog; she said “No one in their right mind would ever want to return to the days of Middle School, but if Jeff Kinney keeps churning out books like this one, I’ll follow him there any day of the week.” And Dr. Koplewicz goes on to note “For those who have no choice but to be there — our children — Kinney’s humor offers more balm in this developmentally rich but precarious time than any platitudes we might offer.”

“>Picture Book Month is a wonderful way to start each day, the postings by individuals are inspiring and bring back memories for me as well as provoke thought on these wonderful books. A great synopsis of many contributors to date is a video produced by Carter Higgans.

And don’t forget to continue to check in daily at PiBoIdMo where there are also posts that fascinate and intrigue!  I particularly enjoyed author/illustrator Elisa Kleven’s discussion and illustrations of “Inspiration.”

There are some stories that simply make me feel good, this is one of them: The Issaquah Press, a weekly newspaper in Issaquah, Washington reported last week on Betty Gering, 76, who has been reading to second-graders in the Briarwood Elementary School library for 15 years.  She continues this volunteer experience despite moving away from Issaquah to a retirement community and says she plans to continue as long as she can.  Her own mother was a second-grade teacher and Betty feels she is in part honoring the memory of her mother…plus Betty loves the children and reading with them.  Don’t we wish all children had a “Betty the Reading Buddy” in their lives?

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I missed THE event of the year by not being in New York City recently when the debut 90-Second Newbery Film Festival was held there in the auditorium of the main branch library.  Betsy Bird in reporting made me feel I was there laughing and crowding in (despite fire marshal rules she was supposed to enforce) if I ran the least bit late!  You really must read about it for yourself, the pictures and videos are priceless! Pictured here are James Kennedy and Jon Scieszka as they prepared for their duties as co-emcees…oh, my.  The festival is also making appearances in Chicago and Portland.

Literacy Programs and Research

On NPR’s food blog The Salt I recently saw a title that intrigued me: Reading, Writing and Roasting: Schools Bring Cooking Back Into The Classroom where Allison Aubrey has shared a program Cooking with Kids in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Several years ago I visited one of the elementary schools using this program, and the excitement students showed for learning in the kitchen was energizing to me. A new study is cited with the author, Leslie Cunningham-Sabo, noting “Teachers and principals are seeing how the classroom cooking experience helps support critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.” Fourth graders enjoying Ethiopian-style lentils, accompanied by injere bread, couscous and cucumber salad is impressive.  The school I visited was also planting a community garden.  Aubrey has also outlined other organizations’ food preparation courses for young students.

Jenny Schwartzberg sent us the link to a San Jose Mercury News article by Kristen Marschall about a Los Altos woman whose “nonprofit Hoopoe Books has printed and distributed about 800,000 children’s books in the war-torn country (of Afghanistan) and is aiming to circulate more than 2.5 million in the next year.”

The American Academy of Pediatricians has released updated recommendations on media use by children younger than two.  The new statement “reaffirms the 1999 statement with respect to media use in infants and children younger than 2 years (which discouraged any media use for these children) and provides updated research findings to support it. This statement addresses (1) the lack of evidence supporting educational or developmental benefits for media use by children younger than 2 years, (2) the potential adverse health and developmental effects of media use by children younger than 2 years, and (3) adverse effects of parental media use (background media) on children younger than 2 years. Pediatrics 2011;128:000″ (Via @ReadingRockets)

A recent study reported in the Journal of Child Development (and summarized in a newswire piece) found that “Preschool children with relatively poor language skills improve more if they are placed in classrooms with high-achieving students… Researchers found that children with relatively poor language skills either didn’t improve over the course of one academic year, or actually lost ground in development of language skills, when they were placed with other low-achieving students.” (via @TrevorHCairney)

The New Republic December 1 issue has a piece by Jonathan Cohn (@CitizenCohnThe Two Year Window: The new science of babies and brains-and how it could revolutionize the fight against poverty.  Very likely if you do not have a subscription you will be unable to read the full article, but you will want to check by a library or elsewhere to read the full article…it is full of solid talking points for those of us who are the broken records (and children need a broken record on the topic) on the benefits of investing early in the lives of our children, particularly those in poverty and those who are abused and/or neglected, suffering other trauma in those early months and years.

DC Public Schools have implemented the Tools of the Mind curriculum this fall in 28 schools with 157 preschool, pre-K and kindergarten classes targeting disadvantaged students.  According to the Washington Post article “the program uses carefully guided play to stimulate what neuroscientists call ‘executive function': a combination of memory, impulse control, persistence and flexibility that researchers say may be an even more powerful determinant of educational success than IQ.”

Suggestions for Growing Bookworms

It’s not directly a suggestion for growing bookworms, but Jen really enjoyed Mo Willems’ Zena Sutherland lecture, as reformatted for the most recent issue of Horn Book Magazine. It’s about (in a bit of a roundabout way) why Willems thinks that in this day of apps and ebooks, we still need plain old printed books. Well worth a read by anyone who cares about kids and books. (Via the print magazine, link shared by @ImaginationSoup on Twitter). Also do check out Roger Sutton’s editorial about the Picture Book Proclamation that was included in the recent Horn Book issue. Food for thought for everyone who cares about children’s literature there, too.

I was delighted to be reminded of this invaluable tool for teachers and parents and appreciate the update by @Larryferlazzo to his post “The Best Listening Sites For English Language Learners”.  (Thank you @AndresHenriquez!)  KIDS COUNT‘s latest report informs us that in 2010, 22 percent (11.8 million) of children in the United States spoke a language other than English at home; this rate has grown from 18 percent in 2000.

Susan of The Book Chook has sent an “Oh, my word, yes!” posting from Silly Eagle Books that will more than likely bring back a few memories to you of children you have known as they get into stories and characters! Thanks for the memories, Susan.

As we move to a holiday season for many families with gifts for children a part of many of the celebratory holidays, this piece (sent by Carol’s friend Susan Smith) is applicable to all children whether Santa is part of your holiday tradition or not…libraries in public settings and personal home libraries even if they are very small are both key components in our children’s literacy development. We hope you appreciate this visual! We are reminded as well of the endangered nature of many libraries; have you reviewed the map lately regarding school libraries? (via Laurel Snyder)

(image by Rogers of Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

My “assignment” for the family Thanksgiving feast this year is pies…yummy.  We always have apple, cherry, pumpkin, pecan and lemon…and sometimes a few more. Lemon, you say? Oh, yes, always lemon.  One of those traditions built over time you know.  So with pies on my mind I found a posting at The Children’s Book Review recalling Harold, his purple crayon and nine pies;  some of these “pie” books I have read and love, others are new to me.  Do you know of other “pie” books to add to this list?  I sense a new Rasco bookshelf collection coming…(via @book_mommy)

Don’t forget The National Book Awards are announced this Wednesday, November 16 in a program starting at 8 p.m. (ET).  For the first time the program will be webcast live from New York City, go to WWW.NATIONALBOOK.ORG where you can also learn more about all the finalists and festivities prior to the awards evening.

Thanks for reading, and for caring about children’s literacy. We will be back at the end of November at with the next roundup!