"The classic children's book by Ezra Jack Keats turns 50 this year. When it came out in 1962, it was one of the first major kids' books to feature a non-caricatured black protagonist. It became a huge hit, and was embraced by parents, teachers and children of all colors." Read Article
Following an email letter-wrting campaign opposing cuts to the program...
"Washington, DC—December 16, 2011—Funding for national literacy programs was included in the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2012, which will be signed into law by President Obama later today. The $28 million will be awarded to literacy organizations and libraries through a competitive grant process.
“RIF is grateful for Congress’ hard work in restoring funding for books and literacy resources for children in need. With only 1 in 300 children in poor neighborhoods owning a book and reading levels among young children stagnant and declining, access to print is more critical than ever,” said Carol Rasco, President and CEO of Reading is Fundamental. “We look forward to working with the Department of Education as details of the competition are finalized.”
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By Tegan Davis, Grand County Libraries
Grand County, Colorado
'If children are to become competent readers, they must have stimulating literacy experiences beginning at birth. Parents and caregivers are in the best position to help children acquire the prerequisite skills they will need to learn to read in school...The grant is for a program called “Every Child Ready to Read,” which is a national program of the American Library Association. The program provides training to librarians with an emphasis on early literacy enhanced story-times." Read full article.
By Amy Wang, The Oregonian
"What kids need most: The key to laying a good foundation for literacy is providing everyday activities — backyard play, an outing to a neighborhood park, a library storytime — accompanied with lots of language, says Danahy. “It’s really important for parents and caregivers to talk with their kids,” she [Laurie Danahy, early childhood education-Oregon prekindergarten specialist at the Oregon Department of Education] says....Reading to kids: This is a must, says Danahy. “One of the great things about reading to kids is it provides a lot of rich vocabulary, and often in a style that kids aren’t accustomed to,” Danahy says. “It helps them become familiar with a little more formal language — that’s very helpful when they learn to read.” Read full article.
By Laurie Kolp*
Houston Early Childhood Education Examiner
"Literacy begins with communication, and the process of becoming literate starts at birth. Babies start out in the preliterary stage during which they absorb everything through hearing. ...This is all part of developing a foundation for literacy, and parents/caregivers can pave the way for their children's achievement in school. Use rich, varied and repetitive language with the young tots; they will file away these words for future use. When reading to preschoolers, speak very slowly and monotone. Repeat words, nursery rhymes and the alphabet often."
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*Laurie Kolp graduated from Texas A&M University with a BS in education and a specialty in reading. She has taught preschool through middle school,
Lisa Guernsey, New America Foundation; Early Education Initiative/Early Ed Watch blog
"as new studies uncover connections between infants’ and toddlers’ early experiences and their later reading success, people within the field of education are taking note of what kinds of social experiences and language interactions are best for very young children....The event was a reminder that we cannot be afraid to talk about literacy learning among very young children. The foundations of reading, writing and communication are built in children’s earliest months and years. Kudos to the U.S. Department of Education for recognizing the need to include these ideas in its Reading Institute: Any smart literacy policy must support high-quality early learning environments in these very early years."
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South Wales Echo
Nov 1 2011
"Reading is a multi-faceted skill and is developed in many ways. Games help children understand language, discover and encourage use of a wider vocabulary whilst learning how to spell and form sentences. People, and especially children, remember information that is received through heightened emotions and so having fun while trying to win or reach the highest score is a wonderful way to encourage, develop and promote reading skills." Read full article.
By DIANA RINNE, Herald-Tribune staff
Grand Prairie, Alberta
"With the advent of technology, more and more people are moving towards the Internet to access information. There are those who say books, magazines and newspapers are rapidly becoming a thing of the past – the world is online and mobile.
That may well be, but you still need the ability to read to access that world.
...The Grande Prairie Children's Literature Roundtable's current program 100,000 Nights of Reading is a great way to get into the habit of reading to or with your kids. Families can sign up at the Grande Prairie Public Library."
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Jan. 6, 2012|By Liz Bowie, The Baltimore Sun
"Even as children have more exposure at home to e-readers, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages screen time for children younger than 2. The academy says that unstructured play time is better for brain development and that young children who use electronic media extensively are at risk for delays in language development once they start school.
Many tech-savvy families and teachers remain wedded to the old-fashioned book for the youngest children. They believe it offers children a link to the past, an object that can be touched, smelled, even chewed on and taken into the bathtub.
But others say that the e-readers may eventually prove to be an inexpensive tool to open up the world of books to young children who might live in an area far from a library or not have a house full of books." Read full article.
By: Jenée Desmond-Harris January 21, 2012
"Walter Dean Myers, the award-winning author of more than 100 books, including the New York Times bestseller Monster, was sworn in this week as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. The position is designed to raise national awareness of the importance of an appreciation for books to the betterment of children's lives. In other words, Myers will be leading the charge to get kids to understand that reading, as he says in the slogan he's chosen for his campaign, "is not optional.""
Read article / interview.
TRALEE PEARCE, Globe and Mail Blog/The Hot Button November 20, 2011
"The report comes out of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, which runs academic testing for 15-year olds from the world’s industrialized countries...The thinking behind this Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, is that much of a person’s life trajectory can be predicted by these teenage scores.
In a piece called How About Better Parents?, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman highlights the newest findings of the group, which since 2006 has been collecting data about how parents are raising their children to see what relation it has to scores.
According to the report, “students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all.”
This so-called performance advantage showed up “regardless of the family’s socioeconomic background,” Mr. Friedman writes. On average, he reports, the score difference is 25 points, which is considered “the equivalent of well over half a school year.” Read full article
Wency Leung, Globe and Mail Blog/The Hot Button Feb. 23, 2012
"According to a new study, depictions of nature have been gradually disappearing from award-winning illustrated children's books over the past few decades, sparking concerns about a growing disassociation from the natural world....Professor emeritus J. Allen Williams Jr. of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a team of researchers examined the top books honoured by the prestigious Caldecott Medal, judged by the American Library Association, between 2008 and 1938 when the award was created.
The study reviewed close to 8,100 illustrations from 300 children's books, in total. The researchers found a steady decline in images that showed a natural environment, like a forest or jungle, compared with images of built environments, like a school or house, and in-between environments, like a mowed lawn. The number of wild animals, compared with domesticated animals, was also found to have dropped." Read full article.
by Thomas L. Freidman, NYTimes 11/19/11
This short NY Times article outlines the statistical results and recommendations of a study conducted to find out why some global students score higher than others on the PISA exams (Program for INTERNATIONAL Student Assessment). The results are powerful: Two of the best (and easiest) ways to prepare your children for achievement in a GLOBAL environment is to take an active interest in their education and to read to them early and often. “On average, the score point difference in reading…is largest when parents read a book with their child, when they talk about things they have done during the day, and when they tell stories to their children.” Read full article.