On Obama's Pick for Secy of Education and Learning to Read

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen Arne Duncan to be the next Secretary of Education.

Gary Stager, "teacher educator, education journalist, speaker, school reformer" is not happy with the choice of Duncan, whose appointment he considers to be just another 'social promotion'.

CEO of Hooked on Phonics, Judy L. Harris, is not happy with what Gary Stager had to say about the appointment; specifically, ""Gary Stager is entitled to his opinions regarding President-elect Obama's selection of Arne Duncan as Secretary of Education and education policy generally. However, it is unfortunate he has tried to trivialize my views by likening my company and its product -- Hooked on Phonics, a product that has helped millions of children learn to read -- to a sponge (with all due respect to the folks at ShamWow). " Here's the rest of her statement.

Reading Can Be a Hair-Raising Experience

Mint Canyon (Santa Clarita, CA) Elementary School Principal Betsy Letzo has come up with some pretty wild ideas. But none have been as hair-raising as her latest reading-enhancement scheme, according to The Signal.

These were the conditions: If students could read and pass comprehension tests on more books that their teachers, the teachers had to sport a Mohawk for a day. Participating faculty lost the heated competition and walked around campus Monday with their hair sprayed into long, stiff, colorful Mohawks. Check out the photo!!

High-quality reproductions of Tenniel's colored Alice illustrations

<A HREF="">Boingboing has the following:</A> "White Rabbit Press is taking orders for a luscious set of prints reproducing the Tenniel illustrations from "The Nursery Alice," signed by one of Lewis Carroll's descendants and one of Alice's, too (as well as a noted Alice scholar)." Visit <A HREF="">White Rabbit Press</A> to see more prints.

Family Reading Night Coming Up

Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White is urging families in Illinois to spend time together reading on the evening of Thursday, November 20th to celebrate the Secretary of State's annual Family Reading Night.

"This special event is a night when parents and children are encouraged to turn off the television, computers, video games and other forms of entertainment and spend time reading together," White said. "Studies have shown that reading together makes families stronger, creates a positive learning environment, and helps children develop a love for reading that can last a lifetime." QC Online.

Library Teaches Students About the First Americans

American Indian Heritage Month was celebrated Thursday at the Coshocton (PA) Public Library with a program open to children in grades kindergarten to sixth grade.

"Around Thanksgiving it's a good time to remember the first Thanksgiving," said children's librarian Diane Jones. "It's not only an educational opportunity, but a chance for the children to have a good time and be exposed to a variety of cultures." Children are shown in this article enjoying a Native American game of 'who's got the stone'.

The Literary Bucket Brigade

Adhering to the Boy Scout Creed of 'helping other people at all times', Thomaston and Cushing (ME) Cub Scout Pack 215 helped librarians move books to the new childrens area at the Thomaston Public Library (where incidentally, they are looking for a new head librarian).

Children's Librarian Debby Atwell said "This was a Veterans Day miracle". Story and photos from Village Soup.

Libraries as Safe Havens...

From the Calgary Herald: Valerie Millar said she's always felt safe at Thornhill library. When her daughter was younger and Millar couldn't be with her after school, the library was the safe place she would send her daughter to wait. Millar's friend still does the same thing with her child.

So reports of a sexual assault and an indecent act in Calgary libraries in recent weeks are totally unexpected, she said. "That's certainly disturbing," she said Monday. "It's just kinda yucky. I thought of this as a safe place."

Learn to Teach, Teach to Learn

A field experience internship program in Arizona State University’s College of Teacher Education and Leadership (CTEL) is giving its students exposure to the importance of literacy in a child’s early years while also providing the professional development necessary for the next generation’s teachers.

The Early Childhood Community-Based Field Experience internship, features a unique partnership with the Burton Barr Central Library in downtown Phoenix. One opportunity, First Five Years/Book Bridges, places first-semester junior students in the library, providing one-to-one assistance to parents, families, and center caregivers utilizing the library’s space, materials, activities, and early literacy information. ASU.

Goodnight Opus

Today marked the last day of a well loved comic character and pop culture icon.

Berkeley Breathed published his final Opus cartoon today and everybody's favourite penguin went out in a very literary tradition.

And by "literary tradition," I mean "children's literary tradition."

In cooperation with the Humane Society, Breathed published a final Sunday strip in newspapers with a link to see the last panel online at the Humane Society of the United States.

Check the published strip via the link above, and then read the final panels. Truly heartwarming.

Beverly Hills Celebrity Baby @ Your Library

Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale took their two month old son Zuma to the local library to have him photographed for his library card.

That Girl is Bananas B A N A N A S

Baby is way cute, and his talented parents clearly care about giving him the right start in life. Daily Mail UK.

Kids Love This Librarian So Much

...and wanted to prove it to him in a surprise for his 50th birthday (well, a little late, but with extra love).

George Matthew arrived at Hanover (PA) Street Elementary School on Wednesday with two Halloween books to read to the children and his red and white striped Dr. Seuss hat, a must-have for storytime.

The school told Matthew, the assistant director of youth services at Hanover public library, that he would be reading to the entire school in preparation for Halloween. But much to his surprise, second-grade teacher Karen Evans told Matthew that he actually wouldn't be reading that day. The man students call Mr. George was in the middle of his own surprise birthday party.

"Happy birthday, Mr. George!" the students yelled and sang "Purple People Eater" during the assembly.

Books for Girls With a Health Message

Maybe you've seen those Dove ads that are attempting to teach young girls about real beauty in the current atmosphere of skinny models, skimpy clothes, trashy talk and racy behavior?

Well author Addie Swartz felt that something too was lacking in terms of books for pre-teen girls and so she started her series "The Beacon Street Girls" as an alternative to series like "Clique" and "Gossip Girl".

The stories, which revolve around five middle-school girls in Brookline, MA, are shaped by leading experts in adolescent development, with the goal of helping girls build self-esteem and coping skills. Topics include the problems of an overweight girl and cyber bullying. This month the series will launch its latest book, “Green Algae and Bubblegum Wars,” a novel aimed at encouraging girls in science. The book is the result of a collaboration with Sally Ride, an astronaut who was the first American woman to orbit Earth.

More about the series from the Science section of today's New York Times.

Multitasking Teens May Be Muddling Their Brains

Doing several things at once can feel so productive. But scientists say switching rapidly between tasks can actually slow us down.

Even though modern technology allows people to perform more tasks at the same time, juggling tasks can make our brains lose connections to important information. Which means, in the end, it takes longer because we have to remind our brains what we were working on.

Full piece at NPR

Days of children reading books 'are numbered'

The days of children reading traditional books are numbered, claims the man spearheading a campaign to improve literacy in schools.

Publishers must adapt titles to the demands of modern young readers who spend more time on the internet if they are to succeed in persuading the next generation to read, says Jonathan Douglas, the director of the National Literacy Trust.

The allure of big fuss

Today's Indexed finds a direct correlation between the number of kids who want to read a book, and the number of times it's been banned.

click to see it

The Future of Reading: Using Video Games as bait to hook Readers

"When PJ Haarsma wrote his first book, a science fiction novel for preteenagers, he didn’t think just about how to describe Orbis, the planetary system where the story takes place. He also thought about how it should look and feel in a video game....Mr. Haarsma is not the only one using video games to spark an interest in books. Increasingly, authors, teachers, librarians and publishers are embracing this fast-paced, image-laden world in the hope that the games will draw children to reading." Will gamers pick up books if they need to in order to play a game?

The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project

Bringing Yesterday's Classics to Today's Children: "The Baldwin Project seeks to make available online a comprehensive collection of resources for parents and teachers of children. Our focus, initially, is on literature for children that is in the public domain in the United States. This includes all works first published before 1923. The period from 1880 or so until 1922 offers a wealth of material in all categories, including: Nursery Rhymes, Fables, Folk Tales, Myths, Legends and Hero Stories, Literary Fairy Tales, Bible Stories, Nature Stories, Biography, History, Fiction, Poetry, Storytelling, Games, and Craft Activities. "

The Classic Bat Library to Host 'Batoberfest'

The Riverside Library in Oak Park IL will host a series of events celebrating the children's book "Bats at the Library", which includes a storyline and illustrations based on the that exact library.

Batoberfest culminates with a book signing event, featuring the BATSmobile (a Toyota Prius with a huge bat replica affixed on top) and author/illustrator Brian Lies-who enjoyed visiting the Riverside library as a child. As Lies was finishing up the illustrations for his best-selling book "Bats at the Beach", a librarian in his hometown Massachusetts library told him that they actually had found a bat in that library. Lies set the sequel in the Riverside Library, considered "perfect for bats"... high ceilings, limestone and wood furniture-the classic bat library.

"I'd had a lot of fun in the bats' world, and was starting to feel wistful about leaving for good," Lies said. "And I thought, 'Maybe I don't have to leave their world after all.'" More battiness here.

The Young Library: Two books celebrate joy of libraries

In times when the bills give moms and dads forehead wrinkles and stomach knots, the public library remains a happy place.

It's where to find brand-new hardback books, DVDs, magazines and CDs full of music to chase those money worries away. It's all absolutely free – as long as you get them back by the due date.

It's never too early to begin teaching youngsters the joys of the library. Here are two new books to help.

The Secret Story of Seuss

Nixon! Environmentalism! Hitler! War!

The latest bestseller? Historical fiction? A new take on the Cold War?

No, they're just a few of the themes and controversies behind the world's greatest author of children's books. Take a look at some of the lesser known stories behind the literary world's most loved books. Even if Dr. Seuss never set out to start trouble, sometimes trouble just kind of finds you.


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