Something that I do quite a bit on my own blog is collect news from around the literary and literacy blogospheres. I work with Terry Doherty from The Reading Tub in providing weekly children's literacy round-ups (this week's roundup is available on my blog today - the next roundup will be at Scrub-a-Dub-Tub on June 8th). I also publish regular (usually once or twice a week) round-ups of other news and interesting posts from the Kidlitosphere.
What I've decided to do on an occasional basis is publish some of the more parent-focused of that Kidlitosphere and literacy-related news here to Booklights instead. I'm calling these items Literacy 'Lights from the Kidlitosphere (encompassing highlights, spotlights, etc.). I welcome your feedback.
At The Book Chook, Susan Stephenson recently announced a new endeavor. She says: "It's called Literacy Lava, and it's a digital magazine (in pdf format) that you'll be able to download and use, share with others, or print and keep. The contributors are bloggers and parents who are passionate about children's literacy. This first issue is erupting with great tips for parents and suggestions for literacy activities to share with kids." I will certainly be staying tuned for this one. Susan was one of the tireless organizers of the 2009 Share a Story - Shape a Future literacy blog tour, which I've mentioned previously.
Jill T. over at The Well-Read Child also recently launched a new feature -- a weekly What My Children are Reading Meme. She explains: "Thanks to Sandy at Stories Are Light for giving me the idea to create this weekly feature. Want to share what your kids are reading or get ideas from other bloggers for other books to read with your children? Create your own post on your blog, and then come to The Well-Read Child every Thursday to submit your link". The first week's post already includes 18 links to summaries from other blogs, a smorgasbord of children's reading updates. Even if you don't have a blog, these weekly posts will make a great starting point for book ideas. And (though I haven't actually asked Jill this) I'm sure that your own family's recommendations would be welcome in the comments.
Five Minutes for Books, edited by Jennifer Donovan, has a similar feature, that one hosted once per month (and representing a different set of bloggers). You can find an archive of past Kids' Picks carnivals. See also an interesting discussion on Five Minutes for Books about the difficulty for parents of (and techniques for) holding back kids from reading books for which they might not be emotionally ready. Be sure to read the comments. There's definitely anecdotal evidence to support one of my personal recommendations: that parents try to read the books that their children are reading, when possible. (See a longer post that I wrote about that here).
Reading the books your children read also crops up in Tim Shanahan's suggestions at Literacy Learning for Encouraging Summer Reading. Tim is Professor of Urban Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is Director of the Center for Literacy. He says: "Encourage your children (teens, too) to read over the summer. It's one of the most loving things you can do for them!". His suggestions include: "read the same book they are reading for class over the summer so you can discuss it. The point is to share the reading experience... Even if you are not reading the same books they are, talk to your children about what they are reading." But do click through for lots of additional ideas.
In Missouri Passages (the Missouri Humanities Council e-Newsletter), Julie Douglas calls upon parents to: "Be extraordinary. Read to a child." She also discusses the Dean's speech at her daughter's graduation ceremony: "He reminded them (the graduates) that we, the parents, had most likely gotten the students started on this educational journey by doing the one thing that was so vital to their learning....we read to them when they were very young." Reading aloud makes a life-long difference.
Speaking of reading aloud, Trevor Cairney has a post up at Literacy, families and learning about how to listen to children reading. He warns: "There have been many young readers demoralised by the comments of a listener while they are reading, and the stress of performing in front of others", and then offers a host of positive suggestions. For example: "After the reader makes a mistake you pause for about 3 seconds and say nothing, this allows time for self-correction."
And last, but not least, if you're looking for children's book recommendations, next weekend will be a prime time to find them in the Kidlitosphere. Our own Pam Coughlan is hosting the fourth annual 48 Hour Book Challenge at MotherReader. The idea is to choose a 48-hour period over the course of the weekend, and spend as much time as possible reading books (and blogging about them) during that window. This will be my third time participating in the 48HBC. I've found these challenges an amazing excuse to prioritize reading for a few days. I'll report back next week, and let you know which books I read. Even if you don't have a blog of your own, you could certainly participate in spirit by making reading a priority between June 5th and 7th.
That's all for this week. But I'll be keeping an eye out for other parent-friendly news items from around the blogs to share with you in the future. Happy June!