Literacy

So What's the Problem?

An Essay of the LISNews Summer Series -- Read More

Lebanese Librarians Publish Book to Encourage Children to Read

BEIRUT, LEBANON: The Monnot Public Library just celebrated its first anniversary; a year dedicated to the promotion of reading among children. A textbook was released for the occasion, intended for librarians and teachers, “99 Recipes to Spice Up the Taste of Reading” (in Arabic I presume?).

The book aims at sharing a librarian’s experience with students. “I quickly realized that the sole presence of books wasn’t enough to get the pupils to read. The librarian plays a crucial role, [they are] the indispensable link between books and children,” explained Nawal Traboulsi, one of the authors.

But at first, it was difficult for her to find her place in the school’s hierarchy. “Librarians don’t have a defined role. They are neither teachers nor parents. Their relation with children is fundamentally different.”

'Early Literacy on the Go' Kits Help Win Award for Bernardsville (NJ) Library

Bernardsville Public Library was recognized at the State House in Trenton by Senate Resolution as a winner of the New Jersey State Library's contest on Best Practices in Early Childhood Literacy. Youth Services Librarian Michaele Casey and Library Director Karen Brodsky were on hand to receive the honor and a check for $500. At the ceremony, the library was cited for its "dedication and commitment to the early reader experiences of preschool children in its community." Only four New Jersey libraries were so honored.

Early Literacy on the Go Kits, developed by Ms. Casey and her staff, were key to winning the award. The kits, in colorful boxes, contain books, toys, sound recordings and information on how to practice early literacy. The acronym SHELLS (Start Helping Early Literacy Learners Succeed) was created to help direct parents, teachers and caregivers to the importance of early literacy. My Central Jersey has the story.

Books with Flava: Street Lit in Libraries

Stay cool this summer with street lit...

Last fall four early career librarian-trainees from the Brooklyn and New York Public Libraries chose to investigate current public library practice in collecting and offering street lit to teens. They cannily developed a survey using SurveyMonkey.com and distributed it widely among youth materials and public library list serves. They collected and highlighted their findings in an article in School Library Journal (”What Librarians Say about Street Lit“) this past February, and presented a more ‘formal’ review to a packed-house panel at BookExpo America this past weekend. They shared their knock-out power point primer on the development of Street Lit as a genre and the results of their survey.

Thanks to Barbara Genco, Director of Collection Development for the Brooklyn Public Library for the link!

Librarian Transformed into Human Popcorn Ball

I was hoping this one had a photo with it, but sorry...you'll have to use your imagination. It's another one of those "I'll do thus and such if you kids read X number of books" stories.

Report from Jackson, MS : Children's librarian Melissa Strauss laughed, "I'm here because I want to make good on a promise at the beginning of the school year." The promise: she would become a human popcorn ball. Before she got into the plastic pool filled with popcorn, the principal poured sticky syrup all over Strauss. Then it was time to jump in and roll around.

Why is this happening? This librarian challenged her students to read 10 million words from library books. "They read 10.5 million."

The pure joy of this mess thrilled the students. "I love the way she dived into the pool." "A little like something I want to do to somebody." " I think it was funny." " I love it."

Strauss apparently picks a new 'treat' for the kids each year, and thus far, they haven't let her down.

Once a country of fervent readers, Iraq now starving for books

In Iraq, a country where so much has been leveled by decades of dictatorship, international embargoes and war, few things are easy. Here, students often can't find the books they need. Libraries and schools are understocked, and many bookstores are closed. At those that are open, academic selections are usually limited.

Obama Knows Storytime

At the White House Easter Egg Roll this past Monday, President Obama read Where the Wild Things Are to a large audience. While reading, he stood, projected, moved around, asked kids questions about and engaged them in the text, and generally performed as though he'd passed Early Literacy-Focused Storytime training with flying colors. Click here to view Obama's "storytime"--his wild rumpus sound effects (more cute than wild) are not to be missed.

Meet the Author Junot Diaz

Junot Diaz is in Baltimore to read from his novel, The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Blogging in the Baltimore Sun, Mary McCauley asks him about his development as an author.

His introduction to his lifelong love of literature was at his school library. Diaz says, "Mrs. Crowell, the librarian of the Parlin Elementary School in New Jersey, encouraged my love of reading. When I found the library, I felt as though I'd stumbled onto Ali Baba's cave. I'd walk four miles to take out books. She's even let me photocopy lists of books in print, so I could find new titles by my favorite authors."

Fiftieth Anniversary of 'The Elements of Style'

This article will most likely outrage legions of old English teachers, including mine.

Here is commentary from Geoffrey K. Pullum in The Chronicle of Higher Education about why the author is not celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of The Elements of Style.

He softens his commentary by adding that the authors of this chestnut, Strunk and White, "won't be hurt by these critical remarks. They are long dead."

William Strunk was a professor of English at Cornell about a hundred years ago, and E.B. White, later the much-admired author of Charlotte's Web, took English with him in 1919, purchasing as a required text the first edition, which Strunk had published privately.

Pullum comments, "The Elements of Style does not deserve the enormous esteem in which it is held by American college graduates. Its advice ranges from limp platitudes to inconsistent nonsense. Its enormous influence has not improved American students' grasp of English grammar; it has significantly degraded it."

Bonus Miles for RIF Donation

Getting a corporate sponsor for your program is always helpful. US Airways has become the official airline partner of "Reading is Fundamental," and will donate bonus miles for donations to the RIF.

"US Airways, the official airline partner of Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), invites you to support RIF's mission to help children discover the joy of reading. That's why if you donate $25 to RIF, we'll give you a gift - the children's book "Off You Go, Maisy!" For a donation of $50 to $250, we'll reward you with the book and bonus miles!"

Read more about it.

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