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1. Parent practices: change to develop successful, motivated readers

Oxford University Press is a proud sponsor of the 2014 World Literacy Summit, taking place this April. The Summit will provide a central platform for champions of literacy from around the globe to come together and exchange points of view, knowledge, and ideas. We asked literacy experts Jamie Zibulsky and Anne E. Cunningham to discuss the importance of literacy on this occasion.

By Jamie Zibulsky and Anne E. Cunningham

Being literate involves much more than the ability to sound out the words on a page, but acquiring that skill requires years of development and exposure to the world of words. Once children possess the ability to sound out words, read fluently, and comprehend the words on a page, they have limitless opportunities to learn about new concepts, places, and people. To say that becoming a reader gives one the power to change is an understatement. In fact, attempting to detail the many ways that reading can foster personal growth and development without writing an entire book on the topic is truly challenging!

Children’s capacities to build the many skills required to access text are, to a large degree, determined by their environments. Parents and teachers play a critical role in introducing children to the sounds of words, the print on a page, the ideas and concepts that provide the background for comprehension, and the structure of stories. For these reasons, if we want to ensure that all children have the opportunity to become successful, motivated readers, we need to think about the power the adults in their lives have to change children’s literacy trajectories.

The language and literacy experiences of young children are largely social in nature, and both the environment and the adults that care for them initially guide children’s development. In fact, psychologists point out that language development occurs first as a social act between people and then later as an individual act, as we gradually internalize the directions, strategies, and advice of more skilled others by verbalizing them to ourselves. Similarly, to make sense of the written symbols used to convey any language, children need guidance from the adults in their lives. Talking and reading together with children is a powerful way to help them gain entry to the world of words, and doing so most effectively may require parents to change their current practices.

The kids reading together. photo by Valerie Everett. CC BY-SA 2.0 via valeriebb Flickr.

The kids reading together. Photo by Valerie Everett. CC BY-SA 2.0 via valeriebb Flickr.

Here are some powerful tips that families can use to make shared reading time supportive and effective for young children learning a variety of languages:

  • Let your child take the lead during reading time. We often think of reading together as a time when a parent reads a story to a child straight through, page by page. Instead, let your child take more of an active role by using the pictures to narrate the story, answering your questions about aspects of the book, or sounding out some words independently. This may feel like you and your child are swapping your regular reading roles. And that’s exactly what we want you to do. Even before children are able to read independently, they are ready to be active participants in book reading experiences. Giving them these opportunities helps children build stronger language skills, and provides some insight into their skills and interests.
  • Give your child hints, rather than providing the answer, when he is struggling. This support helps the child solve the problem in a way that allows him to feel competent and to learn from the situation, but also lets the adult to guide the child through the problem-solving process. In addition, it gives him the chance to successfully experience tasks he would not have been able to tackle alone, or that would otherwise make him become frustrated and give up.
  • Identify your child’s strengths, and those reading skills he or she already possesses. Providing experiences that build on the skills your child already possesses will allow her to enhance her learning capacities. If you think about almost any activity you expect your child to complete, you can probably think back to a time when you completed that activity for her. Gradually, over time, she took more responsibility and was able to do more of the task independently. This is not only true for activities like getting dressed and tying shoes, but also for language and literacy tasks, as well as tasks that require memory and concentration.
  • Label the behavior that you want your child to display, and praise it specifically.  Praise and encouragement from parents is a powerful motivational tool. Because shared reading is such a social activity, much of your child’s initial pleasure in reading together may come not primarily from the stories that he hears, but from the joy of sitting in your lap and spending time together. Your child values the time you spend together and will, over time, begin to value the books in front of him and the strategies needed to make sense of them. You can help him build his reading motivation by praising specific skills he displays, like listening carefully, sounding out words, and making great predictions.

Each of these tips helps set the stage for a successful shared reading experience, but may require change on the part of parents to help foster a powerful and engaged reader. These changes, though, help empower children to identify themselves as readers from the time they are young. And this strong foundation prepares them for so many challenges they will face in the future, so doing everything one can to raise a successful, motivated reader is one of the best gifts a parent can give any child.

Anne E. Cunningham, Ph.D. and Jamie Zibulsky, Ph.D. are the authors of Book Smart: How to Develop and Support Successful, Motivated Readers. Anne Cunningham is Professor of Cognition and Development at University of California Berkeley Graduate School of Education and Jamie Zibulsky is Assistant Professor of Psychology at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Learn more at Book Smart Family.

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The post Parent practices: change to develop successful, motivated readers appeared first on OUPblog.

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2. April Showers: Book HEROES

I've been so busy this week.  I went to San Antonio and signed at The Book Festivals of Texas booth at the Texas Library Association's Annual conference. I also shared the news of my upcoming YA Rom-Com PLUMB CRAZY. Best of all, I spent a few days with some true heroes this week -- water for my soul this week.  I'm chatting about that.

I trekked across the great state of Texas with Kathy Whitehead, and truly felt like I had magically been transported to a Porfirio Salinas' painting. Here's a link to "Springtime in Texas" by Salinas. It makes me want shove my WIP in a corner and spend my days painting the world around me.

The wonderful DannyWoodfill of The Book Spot  in Round Rock, Texas was the bookseller for the Book Festivals' booth. Oh, independent bookstores fill me with happy feelings of freedom of speech. I also feel this happiness that someone is spending his life investing in the future, in his community and ultimately our whole county by adding fabric to the community. How? Who supports local authors? Who understands the specific needs of a local reading community? Who creates a hub for creative folk within a community? Who can guide a non-reader into the world of reading? (So huge!)  I hope this makes you want to drive over to your local independent and buy some books!

Big shout out for Tabatha Perry. She heads up the Montgomery County Book Festival. Again another cultural investment maven! A real hero! Here's an interview with her. How does she add to the fabric of our community? Who supports local writers? Who will create communities of readers who have a wide vision of the world through reading? Who will light imagination fires in the minds of teens?  Yes, Tabatha Perry! Books saved me as teenager. I have no idea how I would have survived those years without books. I wish there had been book festivals when I was a teen. 

Finally, I'm not forgetting the army of heroes, the Librarians of Texas!!!! Yes, these folks are the best ever. I am at war with Texas. Why? This stuff: Why do we need librarians in elementary schools? Let's save money in the budget and do away with those librarians.Why do we need any librarians at all?  Here is my why....we must facilitate life-long learners, an informed global community and all-access educated citizenry.

This apparently means little to so many Texans. Here is a link to Texas Literacy facts. Understand me. I love Texas. I'm a generational Texan. This is my home. But this galls me: Football is the important thing. I know this is not a popular stance, but I don't seen giant shining libraries across Texas. I see football fields, really fancy ones. I'd like to see a huge library as the fabric of community in every small town in Texas. I'd like to see a big staff of librarians stamping out ignorance that is choking the people of my state. 

Don't believe me?  My home town football field: Waller ISD stadium (accommodates 10,000). My hometown library: The Melanee Smith Memorial Library (no words for how much I treasure this place as teen). The library doesn't have a website. Just a page.  There is one librarian.

Do me a favor  -- visit your local bookstore, your wonderful local library, and/or a book festival and thank important heroes in our world.

I will be back next week with more April Showers.  

Here is the doodle: Girl in Bluebonnets.

From a Texas gal I like, a quote for your pocket.

The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance. Libba Bray

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3. Four Books to Celebrate El día de los niños

Today’s guest blog post is by Pat Mora, award-winning author and founder of El día le los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day.

All the books Pat recommends are available at deeply discounted prices on the First Book Marketplace to educators and programs serving children in need.

Pat MoraA lifetime of reading teaches us the pleasure and power of books, and that literature at all levels and from all cultures can not only teach us but humanize us.

Through the writings of others we can share the experiences of a Midwest family on a farm years ago, the fear of a Jewish family during the Holocaust or the internment terror of Japanese families here during World War II. As readers, we can share in the triumph of a black family or an Egyptian family that writes a play about its history or traditions. By reading writers from the diverse cultures that are part of our United States, children learn new songs, celebrations, folk tales and stories with a cultural context.

This is what El día de los niños, El día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day is all about – implementing creative literacy strategies using diverse books and planning Día book fiestas for all children, from all cultures, in all languages. High-quality children’s books that reflect our rich plurality are able to reveal the many ways we are all alike as well as the ways we are all different.

Another major element in Día is honoring. Do we connect our literacy goals and efforts with really honoring each child and honoring home languages and cultures? Once honoring culture becomes a priority, creative and dedicated staff and families can propose and share ideas. Teachers and parents can create a sense of “bookjoy” with stories, games, literacy crafts and read-alouds. Coaching parents who did not have diverse literacy experiences growing up is of particular importance; whether a family is Spanish- speaking, English-speaking, Chinese-speaking, etc., we need to invest in respectfully and innovatively coaching multilingual families to join us in sharing a love of books.

Today, twenty-five percent of our children live in poverty – including one-third of black and Hispanic children. By 2018, children of color will be the majority in the U.S. What can we do to serve them and their families well? Celebrating Día and creatively championing the importance of literacy for children from all backgrounds is one way to start. Here’s to becoming a reading nation!

Here are 4 titles that can help you spread “bookjoy” and celebrate El día de los niños, El Día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day with children in your community! Sign up with First Book to access these and other great titles on the First Book Marketplace.


You can learn more about Pat Mora and El día de los niños, El Día de los libros/Children’s Day, Book Day on Pat’s website.

The post Four Books to Celebrate El día de los niños appeared first on First Book Blog.

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4. A Mini-Crash-Course on Oral Storytelling

It’s been several months since I’ve written for Two Writing Teachers. In December my son was born, and I was on maternity leave until a few weeks ago. Then, in March I pushed aside all excuses… Continue reading

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5. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 4

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are many links to posts on National Poetry Month, so I've given them a separate category. 

Book Lists

A Tuesday Ten: Girls will be Boys (speculative fiction where girls dress as boys) | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/vmlGA #kidlit

A nice list | Books That My Children and I Treasured When They Were Tiny by @carriegelson @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/voN72

Stacked: Get Genrefied: Realistic Teens on the Big Screen (no, it's not all @realjohngreen ) http://ow.ly/vjBvP #yalit

A Censored History of Ladies in YA Fiction by @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/vbsnE #yalit

Read Aloud Chapter Books for 3rd Graders - @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/veMcQ #kidlit

Don't miss this week's round-up of Middle Grade Sci Fi and Fantasy from around the blogs @charlotteslib http://ow.ly/vbqkA #kidlit

At Stacked: Girls Across Borders: Reviews from the Outstanding Books for the College Bound List http://ow.ly/v8Nvv #yalit


Diversity in Publishers Weekly’s 2013 Young Adult Bestsellers | @diversityinya @malindalo http://ow.ly/vbsjg #yalit via @catagator


IbbyHappy International Children's Book Day! @rosemondcates has the scoop! http://ow.ly/vmks5

Planning to attend BEA? See: Thoughts on BookExpo America and BookCon from @SheilaRuth http://ow.ly/v8KUF

Growing Bookworms

12 (Almost) Effortless Preschool #Literacy Activities from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/voMTo

Not in my house! Are We Rushing Kids Out of Picture Books? | asks ShelfTalker http://ow.ly/vjAQz via @PWKidsBookshelf

How to get British kids reading - Essay at http://FT.com via @librareanne http://ow.ly/vjD3j #literacy

I do look forward to these books! Sunlit Pages: Reading Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary to kids http://ow.ly/vfeaH

A parent's experience in growing an initially reluctant reader by @janetgurtler @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vbqCZ

Something I'll keep an eye on | LEGO StoryStarter: Creative New Language & Literacy Tool http://ow.ly/v8NL1 via @TrevorHCairney


Forget about the NSA for a minute: The internet of things could kill the little white lie @gigaom via @cmirabile http://ow.ly/vbpGt

National Poetry Month

NationalPoetryMonthThe Book Chook: Ten Top Tips to Engage Kids with Poetry for #NationalPoetryMonth http://ow.ly/voMKp @BookChook

Tanita Davis will be blogging "Some Kind of Poem A Day" for #NationalPoetryMonth http://ow.ly/vjBJo

Liz Scanlon is doing a Haiku a day for April. Here's Haiku 1: http://ow.ly/vjBFb #NationalPoetryMonty

Sherry at @semicolonblog is launching #NationalPoetryMonth with a post about Anaphora poems http://ow.ly/vjBML

March into spring with #NationalPoetryMonth by Angela Verges at the family that reads together http://ow.ly/vjBWw

On Beyond Haiku: New Forms for #NationalPoetryMonth@fuseeight http://ow.ly/vmlem

.@KellyFineman is reviewing #poetry books for #NationalPoetryMonth | FIREFLY JULY by Paul B. Janeczko http://ow.ly/vmkBA

The first entry in her Our Wonderful World #poetry series from @MaryLeeHahn on Giza Pyramids http://ow.ly/vjBXQ #NationalPoetryMonth

Day 2 of @MaryLeeHahn #NationalPoetryMonth celebration of Our Wonderful World features Stonehenge http://ow.ly/vmkVi

The #nationalpoetrymonth Our Wonderful World celebration from @MaryLeeHahn visits The Colosseum http://ow.ly/voNhK

At The Miss Rumphius Effect, first of Science Poetry Pairings for #NationalPoetryMonth - Darwin and the Galapagos http://ow.ly/vjCI4

Today's Science #Poetry Pairings at @missrumphius = Frogs and Toads http://ow.ly/vmlsV #NationalPoetryMonth

Continuing Science #Poetry Pairings for#nationalpoetrymonth, @missrumphius looks at the Nature of Science http://ow.ly/voNu6

First of Thirty Days of Student Poetry from @JoneMac53 at Check It Out http://ow.ly/vjCGk #NationalPoetryMonth

For the launch of #NationalPoetryMonth, @KirbyLarson has @JoneMac53 talking about #poetry http://ow.ly/vjBRe

At GottaBook, @gregpincus first post for 30 Poets/Day 1 - Jack Prelutsky and Alice Schertle http://ow.ly/vjCEi #NationalPoetryMonth

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Thoughts on Newbery from @medinger | sparked by Patrick Ness’s point on "Crappy Books About Important Things" http://ow.ly/vbs0G

I could relate to this post by @snarkywench on Unplugging from John Green & Rob Thomas. I want the story, not process http://ow.ly/vbrSh

Schools and Libraries

Berkeley Eighth Graders Raise Over $78K on Kickstarter, Build a School Library | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vjDeH

Shanahan on #Literacy: To Play or Not to Play (in K and Pre), That is the Question http://ow.ly/vfdO1

Teacher-tested strategies for encouraging boys to read, from @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/veAED #literacy

Interesting ideas! Social Media and Libraries: The Case of the Overdue Library Book | @molly_wetta http://ow.ly/vbqdO

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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6. 80,000 Books to Help Kids Read, Lead, Achieve

It was only 6:30 in the morning, but over 100 teachers had already lined up outside of the Children’s Museum of Houston – each eagerly waiting to select new books for their students.

Pi Beta Phi“It is hard to describe the lump I had in my throat when I drove up and saw all the teachers who had come at that early hour, from all over Houston,” said Patricia Gres Shuford, a collegiate member of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity.

Patricia volunteered with her New Mexico Alpha chapter to help distribute 20,000 books in Houston as part of Pi Beta Phi’s Fraternity Day of Service, conducted in partnership with First Book. She spent the day sharing stories and loading books into the cars of over 300 Houston-area educators and program leaders serving kids in need.

“The teachers were so excited and grateful,” said Patricia. “Helping distribute these books was such a rewarding experience.”

Cat in the Hat Pi PhiFirst Book, and longtime partner Pi Beta Phi, also touched the lives of kids in need in Baltimore, Long Beach, Calif. and Nashville, Tenn. In addition to the Fraternity Day of Service book distributions, hundreds of kids joined Pi Phi volunteers to enjoy Dr. Suess®-themed story times, visits from the Cat in the Hat and reading with therapy dogs. Across all four cities, local kids are now reading, learning and loving over 80,000 brand-new books.

First Book looks forward to its continued partnership with Pi Beta Phi through the Read > Lead > Achieve® initiative, inspiring a lifelong love of reading and impacting one life at a time.

To learn more about how you can volunteer with First Book, visit www.firstbook.org/get-involved/volunteer.

The post 80,000 Books to Help Kids Read, Lead, Achieve appeared first on First Book Blog.

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7. Center for Cartoon Studies announced new MFA track in “Applied Cartooning”

201403250158.jpgThe Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction has just announced a new MFA course in “Applied Cartooning”, which is a word I hear a lot hat talks about using comics for educational and informational purposes. When the cartoon Illuminati gets together they are all about Applied Cartooning, trust me. According to the announcement, this program will explore “how comics can impact such diverse fields as health, business, public policy, and education.”

With the increased interest in comics as a teaching and learning tool, this seems like a very forward looking course of study, and CCS is just the place to develop this program. CCS has already formed partnerships with White River Junction VA Medical Center, Montshire Museum of Science, Museum of the City of New York, and the US embassy in Bahrain to use comics in this way. More:

“This ground-breaking program builds on the past decade of rebirth and innovation in the comics world, and brings the power of cartooning and sequential art – not to mention the creative powers of CCS’s MFA students – to new frontiers, industries, and communities. Students will gain valuable job experience and connections, creative stimulation, and professional challenges through their applied thesis projects,” says cartoonist Marek Bennett. Marek, one the Applied Cartooning program advisors, is a New Hampshire-based teaching artist who has spent the past 12 years creating comics-based educational programs and community-based graphic novels in New England, Central America, and Eastern Europe.

“I am seeing an increasing number of young cartoonists who are as interested in using their skills in a broader, more socially active context as they are in holing up and focusing exclusively on a graphic novel,” says CCS cofounder and director James Sturm.

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8. Target offers grants for reading programs!

If you’re a school librarian looking to hire an author or illustrator to present to your students (hint, hint) Target is accepting applications for Early Childhood Reading Grants.

I’m busily putting together a world tour. I’ll be barnstorming across New York State and Pennsylvania—maybe winding up in Connecticut—September/October 2014.

I’ll be in the Pittsburgh area for Read Across America Week, March 2 – 6, 2015.

If I’m booked for 2 or more consecutive days in the same area, I’ll give those schools a discount on my speaking fee. If you’re interested e-mail Lisa at Bookings@johnmanders.com.

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9. Make your reservations now!

I am booking school visits in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area for Read Across America Week, March 2 – 6, 2015. Friday the 6th just got reserved this morning. If I can book the whole week, everybody gets me for 25% off the regular rate.

Contact Lisa— bookings@johnmanders.com

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10. Course alert: Social Issues Through Comic Books

It’s a booming time for more scholarly looks at comics, and Ball State doctoral candidate Christina Blanch is one of the most important figures in this movement. last year she held a MOOC (massive online open course) on Gender in Comics that drew some 7,000 participants, and she’s at it again with Social Issues Through Comic Books a six month online course that will examine “current social issues through comic books while understanding how popular culture is shaped by it’s surroundings.” Guests include Denny O’Neill, Shaenon Garrity, Scott Snyder, Gene Yang, Warren Ellis, Jonathan Hickman, Mark Waid… the list goes on. NOW how much would you pay? Well, it’s FREE. Yep.

13th Dimension is helping sponsor this SuperMOOC, and they have more details and a schedule here. The official website is here. Comics shops and Comixology will be offering discounts on course materials. This is something I’d love to sign up for although my schedule allows only time for learning about today’s weather and sometimes not that. At any rate, this sounds like an incredibly cool and informative thing. It starts NEXT WEEK, but there is still time to sign up if you are interested.

Comics reflection of and influence on social issues goes all the way back to The Yellow Kid — or Goya if that’s how you date it — and it’s also been a powerful force in superhero comics.

PS: while poking around on the SuperMOOC site, I found this column by Devin Grayson on the growing trend of calling out a lot of things which seem fairly trivial on grounds of sexism, racism ableism, and so on. It’s a very smart piece on something which is bothering a lot of people, and rather than quote it, just go read it. Grayson has always been a very smart observer (and a talented writer) and its nice to see her participating in the comics conversation again.

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11. First Grader Collects Books For Homeless Kids

books304NYC first-grader Blake Ansari has set out on an impressive mission — to get books into the hands of homeless children.

The Metropolitan Montessori School student first learned about underprivileged children from his father Nuri Ansari, who works on programs that support homeless and the formerly incarcerated. After learning that not every kid in New York is as lucky as he is, he began to collect books to bring to homeless children.

The Atlantic has the story:

Some came from his classmates. About 200 were donated by family friend Bob Gore. And even more were collected by the office of city councilmember Helen Rosenthal from neighbors of Blake’s school on the Upper West Side, including the Children’s Museum of Manhattan. Altogether, the drive netted some 600 books, which will be given out to children who go through the intake process at PATH and be theirs to keep. Blake and his family took the books to PATH in time for Valentine’s Day. He was happy, but he still wants to do more, maybe to build a real library. His mother says he put it this way: “When you listen to the community, learn from the community, and help the community, you connect to your best self.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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12. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 28

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are a few extras, because I missed last week (computer woes). There is a ton of great stuff in the growing bookworms section, in particular. 

Me, elsewhere

I'm quoted in this Denver Post article by William Porter about Dr. Seuss http://ow.ly/u0d4P  (text below)

""I think that the key to Dr. Seuss' enduring appeal lies in the spirit of playfulness that permeates his work," said Jen Robinson, a children's literature expert who oversees the website Jen Robinson's Book Page. "He encourages children and adults to look at the world in different ways, whether this means upside-down, from the top of a tree or from inside a tiny speck. "One can't look at the 'Whos down in Whoville' without smiling over their joie de vivre, for example," she said."

Book Lists

A fine list from @Book_Nut | 20 Middle Grade/YA/Teen Books Adults Should Be Reading http://ow.ly/tZXMh  #kidlit #yalit

12 Books for Teens Adults May Enjoy — Suggestions Welcome! » @storysnoops http://ow.ly/tZSJJ  #yalit

On the Trail of....Middle Grade Mysteries!, roundup of coming titles by @KKittscher http://ow.ly/tZXhn  #kidlit

Nonfiction Books for Kids on Architecture and Building, booklist from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/tZWWf  #kidlit

At Stacked, @catagator is collecting YA Adaptations of Adult Novels http://ow.ly/tZUGG  #yalit

Book list: Scandinavian Folktales for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/tXIj8  #kidlit

RT @tashrow: 5 obscure children's books the whole family should enjoy http://buff.ly/1eNYEMn  #kidlit


Very fun! 30 Bits of Wisdom and Advice from Mostly #Cybils Sources from @semicolonblog http://ow.ly/tXI6u  #kidlit

Diversity and Gender

Ms. Yingling Reads: Boys Read Pink Wrap Up with Alexander Vance @MsYingling http://ow.ly/tXIem  #kidlit

20 More Authors Who Promote Diversity in School Visits | @CBCBook http://ow.ly/tEhun  #kidlit

Boys Will Be Boys, and Girls Will Be Accomodating — Open Ticket http://ow.ly/tEcgZ  via @CynLeitichSmith

Beth Revis shares paragraphs from various authors on: Why is Diversity Important? http://ow.ly/tEc0H  @BethRevis via @tashrow


CBW_Poster-smallPress Release Fun: 2014 Children’s Book Week Poster Revealed! — @fuseeight @CBCBook http://ow.ly/u4EVc  (isn't it beautiful?)

Comprehensive list of reading / #literacy events coming up in March from @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/tZX4m  @ReadAloud_org

Growing Bookworms

Reading to babies is crucial for language and #literacy development | @TheTiser via @librareanne http://ow.ly/u1TSi 

Nurturing #Literacy: Tips and Resources For Developing Lifelong Readers | @Edutopia via @librareanne http://ow.ly/u0bAA 

Nice! 11 Reading Hacks for Parents | from @HarperChildrens via @librareanne http://ow.ly/u0buT  #GrowingBookworms

6 ideas for creating reading buddies for your child, from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/tZXsO  #literacy

The Board Book Conundrum, when the books your child loves are not in a a sturdy enough format by @NoVALibraryMom http://ow.ly/tZWzq 

Taking a Picture Walk (when you stroll through a book before you read it) by @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/tXID4  #literacy

Making oral & repeated reading fun, while increasing fluency from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/tXIlN  #literacy

Great series on Using ebooks and digital media with young children by @MaryAnnScheuer | Here's Part 6 http://ow.ly/tXINJ 

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

I could relate to this @buzzfeed piece on loving and losing favorite children's books http://ow.ly/u0eOL  via @PWKidsBookshelf

Do We Really Need Negative Book Reviews? asks @nytimes http://ow.ly/tZVjQ  via @catagator

Is Writing Unfavorable Reviews a Necessary Evil? {On Reading} — @jenndon @5M4B http://ow.ly/tZXYq 

Interview of @danielle_binks from Alpha Reader by @snarkywench about the state of blogging (commercialism, burnout) http://ow.ly/tZUv0 

What’s New About New Adult? @lizb @sophiebiblio and @catagator in @HornBook http://ow.ly/tZTW2  #yalit

Why I Love Middle Grade Romance, by @rj_anderson for So You Want To Read Middle Grade series @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/tZTBr 

I Bookshame Myself, admits @gail_gauthier at Original Content http://ow.ly/tEcGL 

On Not feeling Guilty about reading #YAlit by Michael M. Guevara | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tEcD1 

Programs and Research

Fun! ASU Students Aim To Turn Used Food Trucks Into Mobile School Libraries @LibraryJournal http://ow.ly/u0bFS 

The 13-Year-Old Who Is Championing World #Literacy, a Million Books at a Time | The Good News - Shine http://ow.ly/tEjU2  via @cmirabile

Schools and Libraries

On the joys of Skyping with authors in the classroom by @patrickontwit @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tZVVo 

Nice post by @katsok on the long-term influence a good teacher can have http://ow.ly/tZWfc 

On making classroom read-aloud time feel like sitting Around the Campfire by @donalynbooks @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tXIrX 

A good question RT @smaystein: Without libraries, how will schools create avid readers? http://flip.it/4pDKu 

The #CommonCore Curriculum Now Has Critics on the Left @NYTimes via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/u0eG8 

Social Media

Some solid advice on how to avoid becoming a tweeting leper from @snarkywench http://ow.ly/tZWmZ 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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13. Why Don't Boys Read

A children’s author friend of mine is writing an article for a local newspaper about getting boys to read. In her research for the article, she posed a few questions on a forum of local published children’s authors that I participate in. Below are my responses to her questions.

1. A lot of people who work with kids will tell you that it's harder to get young boys to read than it is to get young girls to.  If you agree, why is this the case?

I agree, and I believe one of the main reasons is that so often at school (even at home) books are pushed onto boys that just are not interesting to them. Every boy is different, and every boy will have different tastes, but most boys want books that are fast-paced, exciting, adventurous or humorous, which typically does not fall into the same category as the more literary types of books that they are assigned at school. If all the books they are made aware of are books that bore them to tears, they will have the sentiment that all books are boring.

In some cases boys will find books that do appeal to them, only to have teachers or parents turn their nose up at those books or tell the boy that those books are trash, a waste of time or aren’t real books. At times, those who can play a role in inspiring a boy to read, unknowingly turn the boy off of reading by their attitude towards the books a boy wants to read, whether it be fantasy, comic books/graphic novels, or whatever.

2. How do you get boys to read?

The best way to get a boy to read is to read to them when they are very young. After that, it’s to let them choose the books they want to read – give them options and help them find books that might be of interest to them. An indirect way to get boys to read is for them to see male role models reading and enjoying reading. Sometimes boys might get the feeling that reading is not cool, but seeing a positive role model reading helps dispel that notion.

3. What titles would you recommend?
It’s a little over a year old, but on my blog I have a list 70 books to help get boys reading. You can take a look at it at New Books to Get Boys Reading.

I have also written few posts in the past on getting children to read. Check them out below;

# 1 Way to Get Children to Read
# 2 Way to Get Children to Read
# 3 Way to Get Children to Read
# 4 Way to Get Children to Read
# 5 Way to Get Children to Read

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

0 Comments on Why Don't Boys Read as of 2/28/2014 10:40:00 AM
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14. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: November 15

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter for the past week or so @JensBookPage. Please note that I'm not including my various Tweets from last weekend's KidLitCon (you can find those under the hashtag #KidLitCon13). I'm also not including links to the other KidLitCon recap posts, because I have been rounding those up here. There are still plenty of links to share!

Book Lists

Stacked: Contemporary YA Books Featuring Humor http://ow.ly/qNs27 @catagator #yalit

Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne, with list of other "art theft" #kidlit books | @semicolonblog http://ow.ly/qNv47

Best Audiobooks: 20 Must-Have Titles for Tweens and Teens (includes nonfiction) | @sljournal http://ow.ly/qPMBh #kidlit

It's time again for agreat resource: @Susan_Thomsen Best Kids' Books 2013: A List of Lists and Awards http://ow.ly/qNrVR #kidlit

Fun! A Tuesday Ten: Little Folk (miniature book in #kidlit) | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/qNvAk

PW's Best Children's Books of 2013 http://ow.ly/qIgkV via @100scopenotes #kidlit @PublishersWkly

Stacked: Contemporary #YAlit Books Featuring Mental Illness from @catagator http://ow.ly/qIf7E

Reading with Kids - Let's Make Some Noise • Favorite books featuring sounds from @readingtub http://ow.ly/qIeVU #kidlit

So You Want to Read Middle Grade, Strong Girls Edition by @CStarrRose @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/qvW6P #kidlit

What To Read Next after Percy Jackson « Fat Girl, Reading http://ow.ly/quaZi #kidlit via @catagator

Book Awards/Cybils

CBW-coast-FINALGet young readers ready! Voting for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards will open March 25: http://bit.ly/17U9Mey ! @cbcbook #ECAR

Great poem from @carwilc on the madness and joy that is life as a round 1 #cybils judge http://ow.ly/qPJzM

A Year of Reading: #CYBILS: Picture Book Biographies by @frankisibberson http://ow.ly/qKgDF #kidlit


Huge list of SLJ Resources for Diversity in Kid and YA Lit | @sljournal via @tashrow http://ow.ly/qIg1G

Literary Agents Discuss the Diversity Gap in Publishing « the open book http://ow.ly/qIiUC via Wendie Old

DiverseComing this weekend--A More Diverse Universe, with a list of the books I hope to read http://ow.ly/qNuLJ from @charlotteslib #kidlit

Growing Bookworms

Nice guest post by Jake Ball on Reading with Dad | @wendy_lawrence http://ow.ly/qNtPE #literacy

RT @ShareaStory 12 Ways to Help Your Kids Break Free From Electronics and Get Outside http://buff.ly/1eJk96E via My Kids' Adventures

This is awesome! A Bookish Advent Calendar (25 xmas picture books) from @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/qPW7i

That's a lot of turkeys! 60+ turkey themed activities, crafts, + books for kids from @bookblogmomma http://ow.ly/qKC6y

Top Ten Go-To Authors for Reluctant Readers by Brooks Spencer @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/qIjDp #kidlit

Excellent post by @katsok on how she is Raising Readers at home and school http://ow.ly/qIjkV #literacy

Advice on Helping Reluctant Readers from @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/qIivY #literacy

Good stuff, and includes a great book list! Reading to the Bump: Tips & Books for Expecting Parents @rebeccazdunn http://ow.ly/qvZvf

Advice on how to use the pictures when reading picture books aloud, from @readingwithbean http://ow.ly/quaiu #literacy

Movies and Entertainment

I find this kind of creepy: Lionsgate Pursuing 'Hunger Games' Theme Park Opportunities - TheWrap @BrentALang http://ow.ly/qKYP7

ThebookthiefposterI believe that Jennifer @5M4B has convinced me to see #TheBookThief Movie with this review: http://ow.ly/qPTaY @BookThiefMovie

Interesting! Promoting 'The Book Thief' with Help from Little Free Library, report from @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/qKYBZ

On Reading and Writing

Must-read from @charlotteslib | Consternated about gender and #kidlit with reference to two sessions at AASL meeting http://ow.ly/qPYcF

Powerful! Sometimes The 'Tough Teen' Is Quietly Writing Stories : Matt de la Pena @NPRBooks http://ow.ly/qKZ7n via @PWKidsBookshelf

Top tips for a scary story by @JonathanAStroud @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/qKgXq #yalit #kidlit

'Stephen King Saved My Life' says @robinwasserman in @TheAtlantic essay http://ow.ly/qKeHx via @bkshelvesofdoom

Reading and Writing Feed One Another: 8 Key Illustrations from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/qIltZ #literacy

Must-read at Stacked: A Closer Look at The New York Times YA Bestsellers List, Part 2 by @catagator http://ow.ly/qvZdO

Well done piece | Who Buys (And Who Reads) Teen Novels, by Elizabeth Wein | @WriteTeenNovels http://ow.ly/qubhI via @catagator


Refreshing words of sanity from @MotherReader in response to "pinkwashing" controversy and right book at right time http://ow.ly/qPTH9

I liked this post @SensibleMoms on how Ellen handles her child reading more mature book content http://ow.ly/qNqk0 via @bkshelvesofdoom

I like this article from Kara Corridan in Parents Magazine on how more worry doesn't equal more parental love http://ow.ly/qNujr

Common-sense guidelines: Much ado about media | Sound It Out by Joanne Meier | @readingrockets http://ow.ly/qyNEk

Programs, Research and Events

Authors and Illustrators for the Victims of Typhoon Haiyan, and online auction via @TarieS http://ow.ly/qNssu

NNRW_main-with-dateI learned via @cjfriess that it's National Nursery Rhyme Week - what will you be reading? http://ow.ly/qIh4d #kidlit

Early Warning (on importance of reading by end of grade 3) Confirmed | Annie E Casy Fdn via @tashrow http://ow.ly/qyOXO #literacy

Let's Celebrate with Picture Books! urges @bookchook for #PictureBookMonth http://ow.ly/quaKc #kidlit

Sigh! New Study Finds Language Gap Between Rich and Poor Children Begins Earlier Than Previously Thought | @CBCBook http://ow.ly/qpA8G

Schools and Libraries

Reading in the Wild by @donalynbooks | Ideas for Your Library from @abbylibrarian http://ow.ly/qKeUZ #literacy

Reading teachers take note! Reading in the Wild by @donalynbooks – Reviewed by @katsok @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/qIlDX

How are books judged? @postlocal rips apart Accelerated Reader as applied to #CommonCore titles http://ow.ly/qyOJR via @100scopenotes

Uncommonly Good Books (and more!), resources for Common Core Instruction | Hi Miss Julie! http://ow.ly/qphZV #literacy

Social Media and Communication

Very useful article, I thought: How to Get Busy People to Take Action When You Send an Email @msuster http://ow.ly/qI08O via @cmirabile

Thoughts from @bonnyglen on why she likes the Facebook "Like" button (and Twitter Favorite) http://ow.ly/qNvqS

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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15. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: Thanksgiving Edition

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1771 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every two weeks. 

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews, ranging from picture book through young adult. I also have a post about my first read-aloud to a group of children, as well as one with a small literacy milestone for my daughter. I have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently.

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read one middle grade book, two young adult titles, and one adult mystery. I read:

  • Jennifer Ann Mann: Sunny Sweet Is So Not Sorry. Bloomsbury USA Childrens. Early Middle Grade. Completed November 12, 2013. My review.
  • Jennifer Rush: Erased (Altered series). Little Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult. Completed November 15, 2013. Review to come (closer to publication).
  • Robin Benway: Going Rogue (An AKA Novel). Walker Children's Young Adult Fiction. Completed November 23, 2013. Review to come (closer to publication). 
  • Victoria Thompson: Murder in Chelsea (Gaslight Mystery). Berkley. Adult Mystery. Completed November 22, 2013, on MP3. This is far and away the best of the series so far. It's extremely rare for me to have to keep listening to an audio book to find out what will happen next, but I did with this book. Quite a clever ending, too. Fans of the series will not want to miss this one. 

I'm currently listening to Takedown Twenty (the latest Stephanie Plum novel by Janet Evanovich) and reading Just One Evil Act, a Lynley Novel, by Elizabeth George. The latter is quite long, so I will most likely mix in some middle grade fiction and/or adult nonfiction before I'm through. (The Kindle conveniently tells me that I have ~8 hours of reading time left.)

Baby Bookworm (now 3 1/2) has been enjoying multiple books in the Madeline series, as well as Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin & Daniel Salmieri and The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf by Mark Teague. I also finished reading two longer books to her last week:

  • Shirley Hughes: The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook. Red Fox Press. Completed November 18, 2013. We had dipped in and out of this book of stories previously, but read it cover to cover before breakfast one morning. It was a recommendation from Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook, 7th Edition
  • Johanna Hurwitz: Busybody Nora (Riverside Kids). HarperCollins. Completed November 18, 2013. We read this one over several weeks, in little bits, and it is at just the right age level. I wish that the other books in the series were still in print. They are available in Kindle editions, but I prefer to read print books to my daughter at this point. We do have some checked out from the library, but because they are ones we read more slowly, I would rather own them. Perhaps a trip to the used bookstore is in order... 

Wishing all of my readers from or in the U.S. a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. I am thankful for many things this holiday season, especially for books and all of the magical things that they offer to children. Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. Enjoy your holiday!

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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16. Literacy Milestone: Writing "Mom"

LiteracyMilestoneAMy daughter had another little literacy milestone last week that I wanted to share. We had been drawing pictures (with her supervising, and telling me how to draw a pig). I left the room for a minute, but I could hear her, and she said:

"I'm going to write Mom on your picture."

And sure enough, when I came back, there was my picture, labeled "MOM" in pencil. 

She's been writing her own name for a while now, with reasonable legibility, and, well, her name does have an M in it. So writing Mom wasn't a huge stretch. But still, she:

  • Knew that it would make sense to write the name of the person who had drawn the picture.
  • Knew how to spell Mom.
  • And wrote the letters, legibly and without help, on her own initiative. 

She'll be reading the Junie B. Jones and Ramona books before I know it! 

Actually, she is pretend-reading Robert Parker's Widow's Walk even as I speak. She just came in and asked for a bookmark. It's a bit violent for a 3 1/2 year old, but fortunately, she can't actually read. At least as far as I know. 

[I hope these posts don't come across as bragging. Each child follows his or her own path to literacy, and I know that these paths can meander and diverge. It's just that for me, having spent so many years thinking about how to grow bookworms in the abstract, I find observing the actual process fascinating. And sharing is what we bloggers do.]

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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17. Give a Book and Help Raise a Reader

When I was growing up, our tradition was that we always got at least one book for Christmas, and those were some of my most treasured gifts. I still remember the Christmas that I got an anthology of Sherlock Holmes stories, and I sat next to the Christmas tree and spent a pleasant couple of hours reading. Giving children books as gifts helps to reinforce that books are something special and to encourage a love of reading. Here are some sources that can help you find the perfect book as a gift for the child in your life:

  • 150 Ways to Give a Book: Every year my friend MotherReader posts this list of gifts which pair a book with something fun related to the book. Check out the updated 2013 list here.
  • I've been involved with the Cybils Awards since the award was founded in 2006. Our goal is to honor those children's books which have both literary merit and child appeal. The Cybils lists are great sources of ideas for book gifts. Go to www.cybils.com and check out the 2013 nominations lists by category in the middle sidebar. The nomination lists include links to judges' reviews for many of the books. You can also check out previous years' finalists and winners in the right hand sidebar.
  • I've also been doing some web development work recently for the Mom's Choice Awards, making enhancements to their web store. Here you can shop for books, toys, and other gifts that meet the Mom's Choice standards of excellence. (My husband's book, The Dark Dreamweaver, is a Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient)
  • Don't forget your local independent bookstore! Independent booksellers are knowledgeable resources who can help you find the perfect gift. You can find a local bookstore or search for books through the IndieBound website.

0 Comments on Give a Book and Help Raise a Reader as of 12/3/2013 3:07:00 PM
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18. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: December 11

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out the new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. There are 1769 subscribers. I send out the newsletter once every two weeks. 

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews, ranging from picture book through young adult. I also have one post with a literacy milestone from my daughter, and another sharing our latest literacy-themed game. I have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently.

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read one early reader, one young adult title, and two adult mysteries. I read:

  • Kallie George (ill. Geneviève Côté). Spark. Simply Read Books. Early Reader. My review.
  • Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando: Roomies. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult. Completed December 9, 2013, on digital ARC. Review to come. 
  • Janet Evanovich: Takedown Twenty (A Stephanie Plum Novel). Bantam. Adult Mystery. Completed December 2, 2013, on MP3.
  • Elizabeth George: Just One Evil Act (Inspector Lynley). Dutton. Adult Mystery. Completed December 4, 2013, on Kindle. I must say that this novel utterly consumed my thoughts for days. It's not exactly action-filled - there's a lot of description - but I kept thinking about the motivations of the characters, and wondering what they would do, or had done. Quite satisfying (though long and not for everyone).

I'm currently listening to Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy and have just started my annual holiday season re-read of Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle. The first story, by Maureen Johnson, is my favorite of the three, so I may or may not actually read the entire book. 

Baby Bookworm has been continuing to enjoy the Madeline books by Ludwig Bemelmans. We're also reading Christmas books, like The Christmas Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood and Renata Liwska and The Berenstain Bears Old-Fashioned Christmas by Jan and Mike Berenstain. We're also enjoying A Very Fuddles Christmas by Frans Vischer (my review of the first Fuddles book). 

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season. I'll be back after Christmas with the next newsletter. Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms. Enjoy your holiday!

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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19. Scholastic Declares January Book Fit Month

I don't normally share many news releases. But I couldn't help but notice that Scholastic launched a "Get Book Fit" initiative the day after I declared that my goals for 2014, for myself and my daughter, were:

  1. Get more/better sleep
  2. Read more
  3. Exercise more

So, 1 and 3 are about fitness, while 2 is about books. One might easily argue that we are trying to "Get Book Fit" in my household, too. Though really, Scholastic is focusing only on mental fitness in this particular initiative. Still, it seemed worth sharing.


“Like” Scholastic on Facebook to Scratch Off Daily Tips, Get the Chance to Win Books and Get Kids #BookFit for 2014

Redlabl-logoNew York, NY – January 2, 2014 – With the countdown to the Winter Games in full swing, Scholastic, the global children’s publishing, education and media company, is calling all teachers and families to pledge January 2014 as “Get Book Fit” Month, and encourage their kids to train their brains by reading more books. To help kids get Book Fit, Scholastic has launched a free Facebook calendar app, providing parents and teachers with daily “scratch off” tips from experts on ways to motivate their children to stay mind-healthy throughout the month. Parents and teachers can join the campaign by “liking” Scholastic’s interactive “Get Book Fit” calendar at Facebook.com/scholastic and by following the latest on #BookFit on Twitter (@Scholastic).

Throughout the month of January, families can visit Scholastic’s “Get Book Fit” interactive calendar to get free daily resources, including book recommendations and tips from experts at Scholastic, articles from Scholastic Parent and Child® magazine, and ebook picks from Storia®, Scholastic’s free ereading app. Plus, top athletes including gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi, Amar’e Stoudemire from the New York Knicks and Justin Tuck from the New York Giants share the books that inspired them the most. Every Sunday, families can find “Spotlit Sundays,” which will highlight must-reads for every age group from Scholastic Reading Club, and Fridays will be “Freebie Friday” day, where fans can enter for the chance to win free new releases from Scholastic. 

“Just as any athlete needs to practice a sport in order to get better, kids need to practice reading to keep their brains sharp and become proficient readers,” said Maggie McGuire, Vice President, Scholastic Kids and Parents Channels. “The new year reminds us to start new, healthy habits and getting ‘Book Fit’ is a perfect way to remind kids that reading is part of having a healthy lifestyle.” 

To kick off the campaign, Scholastic’s experts curated a list of Top 10 Ways to Get “Book Fit”:

1.      Prep your home to be “Book Fit”. Make reading material available in the rooms at home where your kids spend most of their time, easily accessible on tabletops, in bins or on bookshelves in each room. Include magazines, newspapers, comic books, how-to guides, and reading material that will tap into your child’s interests and passions.
2.      Reward a child’s reading efforts with a medal. Incentivize the reading experience. In celebration of the upcoming Winter Games, award your child with a gold, silver or bronze medal based on how much he or she read that week.
3.      Make the library your athletic stadium. Get library passes and dedicate a day and time each week to visit the library. Make the search for new books into a game such as “library bingo,” where kids can actively search the library for specific genres, characters, etc. during their visit.
4.      Create a family game night to exercise kid’s minds. Select games that encourage critical thinking, spelling and language-building. Introduce new games to them over the course of the year. Get your kids involved in choosing what the game will be – and what healthy snack should be served while playing!
5.      Bring a book to life. Get kids moving with an activity based on the book he or she is reading. Is he or she reading about sports? Try out that sport that weekend. Reading about cooking? Bake something new with your child. Challenge your kids to try different experiences, enhance skills and open their eyes to things they have never tried before. Read it. Live it.
6.      Host a “book marathon.” Challenge readers at home or in school to to read several books by his or her favorite author. Try different book series to encourage your child to read every day.
7.      Make reading a friendly competition among family and friends. Challenge kids to see who can read the most books. This friendly competition can teach a child valuable social skills and good sportsmanship. They can re-read their favorite book again and time the difference between the first and second reads. Use our handy Scholastic Reading Timer app to track your child’s reading minutes.
8.      Make family reading time a daily routine. Practice, practice, practice! Set aside time in the morning, after school or at bedtime, without distractions, and read as a family. Be sure to read aloud to your child as often as you can this year. The more you do, the more likely you are to show your child that reading is fun. Reading aloud helps children build their vocabularies, develop background knowledge they will need to understand the meaning of text when they read on their own, and inspire a lifetime love of reading! Mix it up with your favorite poetry, a news story, short stories, chapter books, and novels.
9.      Organize a family and friends reading club. Reading clubs encourage all members to think critically about what they read and to help bring ideas for the next month’s book. This will encourage children to work as a team and be open-minded about the opinions of others. Teachers can help out by sending “themed months” ideas paralleling students’ current class work.
10.  Host book-swap parties. Have your child collect books he or she has already read and have his or her friends do the same. With parents’ permission, host a book-swap party at your house, with fun themes like “Fantasy Swap” or “Laugh Out Loud Funny Reads”. Teachers can host a “book swap” party among students the beginning of each month. They’ll walk away with not only new books, but also their friends’ recommendations, fostering a team effort to getting “Book Fit.”

For more daily tips and to win free books, “like” Scholastic’s page on Facebook and visit the Book Fit calendar app. For more information about Scholastic, visit the media room.

Here at home, I'm doing two things to help my daughter and I "Get Book Fit" this month:

1. Instead of watching television while I ride my exercise bike, I'll be reading on my Kindle. I could never read regular books while biking without getting motion sick. But it turns out that I can prop my Kindle on a nearby couch arm and read just fine. 

2. Tracking all of the books that my husband and I read aloud to our daughter, rather than just the (very small number of) chapter books. I did this when she was a baby, but stopped as she got older, largely because a glitch in my blogging software made it difficult. That glitch is fixed, so I'm going to try again. My hope is that seeing that visual progress on my blog will motivate me to find more read-aloud time throughout the days. 

Wishing you all a book-fit, book-filled 2014!

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20. International Book Giving Day: February 14th

Ibgd-blog-badge200pxFebruary 14th is already known through children's and YA book blogging land as the day that the Cybils winners are announced. (There's some other holiday that day, too, I think, but we're book people here. Right?) February 14th is also International Book Giving Day. The official site (see details here - this is a grass roots effort) recommends three ways to celebrate:

  1. Give a Book to a Friend or Relative.
  2. Leave a Book in a Waiting Room or Lobby.
  3. Donate a Book.

There's a cool poster, designed by Hungarian designer and illustrator Mariann Marayjust released for 2014: 


I found this poster at the home of Amy at Delightful Children's Books. She is one of the organizers of this event. Other International Book Giving Day posts are up at Susan Stephenson's blog, and at Playing by the Book (also organizers). 

I haven't decided how we'll celebrate at my house. (I give books to my daughter so often that giving her a book will hardly stand out). But I'll be giving it some thought. Meanwhile, you can follow along using the hashtag #giveabook on Twitter.

Happy Book-Giving! 

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21. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: January 17

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

Anne Ursu’s OVER/UNDER of 2013: The Overlooked, Underappreciated Middle Grade Reader at BOOKYURT via @catagator http://ow.ly/svrMS

Top 13 YA Books for Talking to Teens About Tough Stuff, selected by @halseanderson http://ow.ly/sFhGu #yalit

A Tuesday Ten from Views From the Tesseract, science fiction stories in which a sister plays a key role as a sister http://ow.ly/sCuHq

And the 2014 Contenders for @SLJsBoB = SLJ's Battle of the Books are ... http://ow.ly/sCtGb via @bkshelvesofdoom

Stacked: Reality TV and Documentaries: A YA Book List http://ow.ly/sAu6L #yalit @catagator

2013 “Best of” Lists – The Numbers | The Hub @yalsa http://ow.ly/syfSB #yalit via @CBCBook

New #kidlit book list from @momandkiddo | Chinese Folktales for Kids http://ow.ly/sxI1J

Just wow | 2014 YA Fiction Preview: 60 #yalit Titles for Your January – June Radar | @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/svrXl


Cybils2013SmallInteresting reading for anyone who judges books: A Few Thoughts on Being a #Cybils Judge from @aquafortis http://ow.ly/sFnDY

At Stacked: A Cybils Retrospective from SFF judge Kimberly http://ow.ly/sCutK #yalit

January Armchair #Cybils Round-Up from @alibrarymama http://ow.ly/sCtvz

Growing Bookworms

Using Music and Songs to Improve #Literacy from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/sAtXD

A Worthy Goal: 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten | First Steps | @sljournal http://ow.ly/sFicL #GrowingBookworms #literacy

Ten Ways to Raise Writers by @JulieFalatko @nerdybookclub http://ow.ly/svrcb #literacy

#Kidlit that promotes Fun with Words - Reading with Kids @readingtub http://ow.ly/svqgO #literacy

What it's really like: The Art of Reading with Exuberant Toddlers | For Poops and Giggles via Becky Levine http://ow.ly/stpQi

Saying Yes to letting kids read what they want to read by Jenny Rich @jdrich219 @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ssZww

Tips for helping your child to become a successful reader from The Bottom Shelf blog http://ow.ly/sFiR0 via @librareanne #literacy


Nice resource: There's a new Weekly Round-Up of #KidLit Reviews + Posts at @MDBookReviews http://ow.ly/svqB5 via @charlotteslib

Books and Authors

Local Bay Area author Tim Myers interviewed by Susan Davis on "The Better Part" about what makes #kidlit powerful http://ow.ly/sFlak

Book review + argument for why boys can + should read @haleshannon 's Princess Academy from @SproutsBkshelf http://ow.ly/sxJnf

I loved Children of Morrow, and enjoyed this look at science fiction by H.M. Hoover at Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/svsbH


I am just speechless. Smart PJs that use iPhone to read bedtime stoires – A Dumb Idea | @tashrow Waking Brain Cells http://ow.ly/str0q

Programs and Research

Engaging with Ebooks Can Aid Children’s #Literacy, Study Finds, reports @ShiftTheDigital http://ow.ly/sFhXe @sljournal

Tablets Make It Nearly Impossible for Kids to Get Lost in a Story - Asi Sharabi - @TheAtlantic http://ow.ly/st1Cr via @LaurelSnyder

Schools and Libraries

Thoughts on egotism vs self worth, and why youth librarians should support one another, from @himissjulie http://ow.ly/sCuZd

ComicBookDaySome options for Libraries that want to hand out comics for Free Comic Book Day (May 3), shared @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/sFmk0

Makes sense to me: The Most Critical Skill for Being an Effective Educator is empathy | @ReadByExample http://ow.ly/st01U

"Would my students still read if I didn’t do this? Some, but not nearly as many" says Lisa Kanute, guest @KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/sFmtT

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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22. David J. Johns: The Importance of Literacy Among African American Youth

Welcome to First Book’s celebrity blog series. Each month we will be connecting with a powerful voice in education and hearing their suggestions for books to use in the classroom, all of which are available on the First Book Marketplace.

This month we hear from David J. Johns, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, on the importance of literacy among African American youth.

David Johns on the importance of readingA love of reading is crucial for increasing achievement among African American students and, consequently, for closing persistent achievement and opportunity gaps. Any student who picks up a book is exposed to adventures, life experiences, and characters that help cultivate voice and agency, and contribute to developing a strong sense of self. Since many students depend on books as their primary method of learning beyond the confines of the classroom, African American children are uniquely challenged when the majority of characters in the literature available to them do not affirm their experience, identity or culture.

The availability of texts reflective of the interests and experiences of African American students, schools and communities is critical – powerful books, such as Frederick Douglass’ Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave and Richard Wright’s Native SonThese books depict African American boys leveraging skills cultivated from their life experiences to negotiate racial, class, and historical tensions. The need to negotiate these tensions continues to this day and these lessons apply regardless of the child’s family wealth, home language, zip code, identity, expression, race or gender. Both Frederick Douglass, as he reflects upon his experiences in the autobiography, and Bigger Thomas, Wright’s protagonist, are examples of resilient and intelligent young boys who struggle to learn, grow, and pursue a better life.

Strong female protagonists, like Cassie Logan from Mildred D. Taylor’s The Road to Memphis and Pecola Breedlove from Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye support young women in developing a strong sense of agency as well as the strength to persist in pursuing post-secondary opportunities. These books can also help young men understand how to relate to, and engage with, strong women.  The poetry collection In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall celebrates fatherhood and promotes the importance of family in a way that all children can relate to. The stories and images in this important text disrupt and supplant negative stereotypes about absent fathers, reminding us of the tremendous opportunities male mentors and engaged fathers provide.

Additionally, reading about characters who are disabled, children of veterans, English language learners, children who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning, can help all students mature, develop empathy, awareness, and appreciation for diversity. In Go Tell It on the Mountain, James Baldwin describes the experiences of his protagonist, John, in ways that enable readers from all backgrounds to grow in their understanding of the challenges faced by their peers—at home, in school or at church.  The book is a powerful lesson of the role that faith and family play in supporting young people through adversity and is a seminal text for all students searching to find their voice.

Literacy is essential. Individuals without the skills to read or fully comprehend written text or without access to written text at all (including books and other materials that are inclusive, diverse, and affirming) are constrained in their ability to engage in our global society.  For these reasons, The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans supports efforts to increase literacy and encourage diversity within the publishing industry.

By David J. Johns, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. The Initiative contributes to closing the achievement gap for African American students.  For additional information on ways to support African American educational excellence, please visit http://www.ed.gov/AfAmEducation and follow the initiative on Twitter at @AfAmEducation.

Recommended Books:

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Native Son

The Road to Memphis

Bluest Eye

In Daddy's Arms I am Tall




Go Tell it On A Mountain






The post David J. Johns: The Importance of Literacy Among African American Youth appeared first on First Book Blog.

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23. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 7

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There is some exceptionally good stuff in the Growing Bookworms section this week.

Also, in my quest to make it easy for people to keep up on these sorts of children's book and literacy-themed stories, I have a question for readers. Do any of you use Flipboard (app for reading news stories on tablets - lets you set up your own customized set of topics and shows stories magazine-style)? At the suggestion of Sheila Ruth, I've been dabbling in Flipboard a bit, and I am wondering if people would find some sort of Literacy Links Magazine there useful. But on to the links!

Valentine's Day

Fun! Write on, Valentine! FREE Printables for Your Favorite Writers & Readers from @MrsPStorytime http://ow.ly/thJFR

A celebration of hearts – 7 Valentine’s Day activities (all reading-friendly) for families | @wendy_lawrence http://ow.ly/thD3j

Book Lists and Awards

Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals longlists announced @TelegraphBooks http://ow.ly/thAR2 via @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit

Some fine SFF #yalit on the Locus Recommended List! including @Gwenda http://ow.ly/tfiAw

Wow! Impressive, categorized list of 125+ Must Have Children's Books from @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/tfgPz #kidlit

New booklist at Stacked: Get Genrefied: YA Urban Fiction http://ow.ly/tfgrL @catagator #yalit #kidlit

Season of the Witch: A #YAlit Reading List from Stacked http://ow.ly/t9Yt1 @catagator

Encouraging Scientific and Engineering Practices with Picture Books @michaeltcarton guests at Darlene Beck-Jacobson http://ow.ly/teR9V

2014 @yalsa Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers | @tashrow http://ow.ly/tjK60 #yalit

2014 @alscblog Notable Children’s Books–Younger Readers | @tashrow http://ow.ly/tjKbk #kidlit

2014 Notable Children's Books for Middle Readers from @tashrow http://ow.ly/2bbCvX #kidlit

ALA Award Reactions

Fun stuff, w/ photos and videos | The 2014 Youth Media Awards: Things I Love — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/tfir3 #kidlit

Librarians React to the Youth Media Awards | ALA Midwinter 2014 | @sljournal http://ow.ly/torzB #kidlit

Common Core

Getting Up to Speed on Common Core: An ABPA Panel @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/thAnW via @PWKidsBookshelf #commoncore

In the Classroom: Some Questions from @medinger About Some #CommonCore Lessons | educating alice http://ow.ly/tosMH

Gender, Books, and Diversity

Suggested books for young children that include "casual diversity" from @FuseEight http://ow.ly/thDE7 #kidlit

Is Pink a Girl Color? And Other Questions We Should Quit Asking, focusing on readers not gender by @cathymere http://ow.ly/tfhAM

BoysReadPinkIt's time for the Fifth Annual Guys Read Pink Month! @MsYingling w/ celebrity sponsor @AVance_Author http://ow.ly/tfhPX

35 Multicultural Early Chapter Books for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/tffUZ #kidlit #diversity

Growing Bookworms

Sigh! Setting Children Up to Hate Reading http://flip.it/4ewWg

Here's a fine resource for parents | 100 Ways to Grow a Reader from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/tffvi #literacy

Collecting #100ReasonstoRead @Scholastic | Share yours: http://ow.ly/tfjZL #literacy

Solid advice! How to Raise a Reader: 5 Tips for Parents from @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/tfdVx #literacy

Non-Fiction Love | On how nonfiction helps kids develop reading comprehension skills @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/tjJ6i #CommonCore

5 Tips for Parents of That Precocious Reader | @NYPL via @librareanne http://ow.ly/torYL #literacy

Just Interesting

A useful resource: Book Chook Favourite Online Image Makers for kids http://ow.ly/tfhlw @BookChook

Must read from @EllenHopkinsYA On Finding Peace in Living (re: addiction, her daughter's + Philip S. Hoffman) http://ow.ly/thCac

What say you on this news: J.K. Rowling questions Ron and Hermione's relationship http://ow.ly/tfeHX #kidlit


Inscription Magazine is a new pub w/ fantasy & science fiction for teens http://ow.ly/t9XeC #yalit via @CynLeitichSmith

Let's Cekebrate International Book Giving Day says @BookChook http://ow.ly/2bbD1i

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

RT @NUSLibraries: Sharing an interesting article: Why Printed Books Will Never Die http://flip.it/6wcq3 via @mashable

RT @PWKidsBookshelf: 9 life lessons everyone can learn from these beloved children's books | Huff Post http://flip.it/EJkas

What makes an adult book right for teens? asks @StyleBlog http://ow.ly/t9X3t via @tashrow #reading

RT @tashrow The Netflix of kids’ books? Epic launches on iPad for $9.99/month — Tech News and Analysis http://buff.ly/1dLdRgO #kidlit

RT: @Librareanne: Young Adult Literature Is Better Than You Think http://fb.me/6s8L2I4rP

Dark YA RT @HMHKids: "Even if your kids aren’t going through a difficult situation, it’s likely their friends are." http://ow.ly/t7ZGK


Words of wisdom | Why Not Letting Your Kids Do Chores Hurts Society and Me | @SensibleMoms http://ow.ly/thBrI

Useful post for parents from @cmirabile | Advice to My 10 Year Old Regarding SnapChat Hack http://ow.ly/th3EO

Schools and Libraries

Nice! New Teacher’s Reading Guide: Ten Steps to Turn High School Students Into Readers by @shkrajewski @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tfg7X

Excellent Choice! Judy Blume Named Honorary Chairman of National Library Week 2014 | @infodocket via @sljournal http://ow.ly/torpb

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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24. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 14

Cybils2013SmallHappy Valentine's Day, International Book Giving Day, and Cybils Day! You can find the Cybils winners on the Cybils blog, in categories ranging from picture books to young adult fiction and non-fiction. This set of winners is the culmination of tons of work on the part of many bloggers, and is NOT to be missed. You can also find out where to get started for International Book Giving Day at Playing By the Book. Wishing you a wonderful, book-filled day!

TwitterLinksMeanwhile, here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

At Stacked: A new #YAlit Mini-trend: Circuses http://ow.ly/tyZ4R

A Tuesday Ten: Speculative #kidlit with A Dash of Romance | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/tyYVq

SLJ’s Battle of the Books’ Contenders Revealed | @sljournal http://ow.ly/tyZt9 #SLJBOB #kidlit

2014 American Indian Youth Literature Awards | @tashrow #kidlit http://ow.ly/twQb8

A roundup of best book lists for different types of readers from @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/3h9AMB

On the #cybils blog: The 2013 Cybils Winners Are Coming... http://bit.ly/LFiXo8

Common Core

Meet the Parents: Critical for Implementing the #CommonCore | @sljournal Editorial http://ow.ly/twPKg

New York teachers get five years to fully enact #CommonCore @NYDailyNews http://ow.ly/twPA5 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Diversity and Gender

2014 New Releases: More LGBTQ YA Fiction collected by @molly_wetta http://ow.ly/tumKV #yalit

Resources to encourage girls to be The Next Generation of Coders @oceanhousemedia via Jeff Berger http://ow.ly/tou7V

Black History Month: Strong Women for Strong Girls (a collection of biographies) | @ReadingTub http://ow.ly/totgb #kidlit

Mitali's Fire Escape: "Casual Diversity" Depends on the Unseen Work of the Author @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/tunDo


For the Love of Reading | The @bookchook on International Book Giving Day and Library Lovers Day http://ow.ly/tBcUE #literacy

Ibgd-blog-badge200pxMake Valentine's Day Sweeter with International Book Giving Day! says @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/twZTD #kidlit

Love our Library Lollapalooza Honors Supporters and Raises Money, reports Cynthia Cheng in Santa Clara Weekly http://ow.ly/tBahd

Using the Olympics to help teach kids geography from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/twZYi

Growing Bookworms

Using poetry to help kids learn to love reading, from @ReadingWithBean | "poetry is like a good fling..." http://ow.ly/tx0bX

Good stuff! The importance of the home/school partnership in raising readers by @carriegelson @KirbyLarson http://ow.ly/twQor

This made me think! | A Little Stone: The Rippling Repercussions of Bookshaming by Priscilla Thomas | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tuo2T

Ideas for using Environmental Print when raising readers @ReadingRockets via @librareanne | http://ow.ly/tqrld #literacy

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

When Adults Read Books For Teens — @lizb | A reminder that "Books for teens are, well, for teens." http://ow.ly/tBrSE

Can Re-Illustration Ever Be Justified? asks @fuseeight (with examples) http://ow.ly/tx01w #kidlit

PercyJacksonPosterCovers for new paperback editions of @camphalfblood the original Percy Jackson series are being announced next week pic.twitter.com/GpM94gu7C5

Pretty neat! Awesome Visual Featuring The Most Popular Books of All Time @medkh9 http://ow.ly/ttJEb via @cmirabile


Another good post from @SensibleMoms | Kids Need the Word "No" | http://ow.ly/tumOI

Schools and Libraries

Mid-Continent Public Library Proves Summer Reading Programs Boost Student Achievement | @sljournal http://ow.ly/tBwJY

Good points | The trouble with calls for universal ‘high-quality’ pre-K @alfiekohn @washingtonpost http://ow.ly/tunbc via @FreeRangeKids

Teachers, "I would encourage you to keep in mind that some readers hate reading" by @booktoss @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tumAR

Technology and Social Media

It's complicated | Five Myths About Teens, Technology, and Social Media | Peter Gray at Psychology Today http://ow.ly/tB6Lv

The Revenge of the Printed Book (why people, inc young people like books) @StephenMarche @esquiremag http://ow.ly/ttIGt via @cmirabile

How the 'Netflix of books' won over the publishing industry (Q&A) | Internet & Media @cnet http://ow.ly/ttHZE via @cmirabile

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

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25. A Tip for Growing Bookworms: Avoid Bookshaming

A post at the Nerdy Book Club this week really made me think. Priscilla Thomas, an 11th grade teacher, wrote about the repercussions of what she called "bookshaming". Thomas says:

"To be clear, opinion and disagreement are important elements of literary discourse. Bookshaming, however, is the dismissive response to another’s opinion. Although it is sometimes justified as expressing an opinion that differs from the norm, or challenging a popular interpretation, bookshaming occurs when “opinions” take the form of demeaning comments meant to shut down discourse and declare opposing viewpoints invalid."

She goes on to enumerate five ways that bookshaming (particularly by teachers) can thwart the process of nurturing "lifelong readers." I wish that all teachers could read this post. 

But of course I personally read this as a parent. Thomas forced me to consider an incident that had taken place in my household a couple of weeks ago. We were rushing around to get out of the house to go somewhere, but my daughter asked me to read her a book first. The book she wanted was Barbie: My Fabulous Friends! (which she had picked out from the Scholastic Book Fair last fall). 

I did read this book about Barbie and her beautiful, multicultural friends. But at the end I made some remark about it being a terrible book. And even as I said it, I KNEW that it was the wrong thing to say. Certainly, it is not to my taste. It's just little profiles of Barbie's friends - no story to speak of. But my daughter had picked out this book from the Book Fair, and she had liked it enough to ask me to read it to her. She seemed to be enjoying it. And I squashed all of that by criticizing her taste.

Two weeks later, I am still annoyed with myself. Priscilla Thomas' article helped me to better understand why. She said: "When we make reading about satisfying others instead of our own enjoyment and education, we replace the joy of reading with anxiety." What I WANT is for my daughter to love books. And if I have to grit my teeth occasionally over a book that irritates me, so what? 

Rather than continue to beat myself up over this, I have resolved to be better. The other night I read without a murmur The Berenstain Bears Come Clean for School by Jan and Mike Berenstain, which is basically a lesson on how and why to avoid spreading germs at school. As I discussed here, that same book has helped my daughter to hone her skills in recommending books. It is not a book I would have ever selected on my own. But I'm going to hold on to the image of my daughter flipping to the last page of the book, face shining, to tell me how funny the ending was. 

Growing bookworms is about teaching our children to love reading (see a nice post by Carrie Gelson about this at Kirby Larson's blog). They're not going to love reading if we criticize their tastes, and make them feel anxious or defensive. I'm sorry that I did that to my daughter over the Barbie book, and I intend to do my best not to do that again. If this means reading 100 more Barbie books over the next couple of years, so be it. Of course I can and will introduce her to other authors that are more to my own taste, to see which ones she likes. But I will respect her taste, too. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate.

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