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Archive for the ‘Reading programs’ Category

I have been mulling over the following facebook update posted yesterday by the Joint Council for International Children’s Services, one of the amazing organizations I follow: “Whatever you do, you make a difference. Whatever you don’t do, you don’t.”

Sometimes problems seem so large that you wonder how little ol’ you could possibly make a difference.   But even though mountains may need to be moved to create significant and lasting change, we shouldn’t forget that pushing a few rocks out of the way can have an enormous impact on individual lives.

Take the relatively simple (and easily duplicated –  hint, hint)  Summer Reading Bags program blogged about by Dr. Joanne Meier at Reading Rockets.   Dr. Meier’s school collects and sorts used book donations from the community and invites students that don’t have much access to books at home to fill a bag to take home and read over the summer.   With research demonstrating a significant link between access to books and a lessening of the “summer slide” in reading achievement, such a simple program is likely to have a dramatic effect on the kids bringing home a summer reading bag.  (For a more detailed look at the program, you can read her blogs here and here)

What other simple ideas are floating out there that need to be passed on?


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Since I decided to start this blog, I have been trying to figure out what child literacy effort I should showcase first.  Ultimately I turned to my two year old son for inspiration.  The whole point is to find books and events that grab the kiddos attention, right?

When my son (who will henceforth be called “Wild Thing”) turned two, a friend gave him a copy of the book Smash! Crash! written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by David Shannon, Loren Long and David Gordon which instantly became one of his favorite books.   Had I not been lurking in the kid lit blogosphere for so long, I might not have realized that the book is actually just one component of a mulitmedia project called “Trucktown”, a project under the auspices of Scieszka’s literary organization Guys Read (www.guysread.com).

Trucktown is a series of books which includes board and picture books for younger kids and ready to read and activity books for the older set.  There is also an interactive website (www.trucktown.com) with educational games and activities for kids, and handouts for teachers, librarians and parents.  What really makes the series stand out is how the story and illustrations capture the energy that toddlers bring to everything they do – I mean seriously, how many book titles have two exclamation points?  The illustrations practically jump off the page as two trucks who are best friends drive through Trucktown leaving a trail of mischief in their wake.

The primary audience is preschoolers and kindergartners, but that didn’t stop my two year old from insisting I read it over and over for a week after he received it.   Given his love of anything on wheels, that wasn’t too surprising.  What did amaze me was how much he loved just staring at the illustrations.  I would be cranking through the story and he would stop me and turn a few pages backwards saying “see cement mixer” and then he would just stare at the picture not allowing me to move on with the story until he was ready.

I have started giving books as birthday presents to our friend’s children.  This series is going to the top of my shopping list – especially for those boys I know who have uncontainable energy.  I can’t wait to see what else rolls out of Trucktown.

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