Saturday, February 27, 2010

Read Across America

March 2, 2010 marks the 12th year of Read Across America, the innovative reading awareness program created by the National Education Association. Schools, libraries, community centers, and other organizations celebrate the day by hosting events that promote children’s reading. March 2 was chosen as the annual date as a way to honor beloved children’s author Theodor Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. At our local schools, students (and many teachers) dress up, don striped Cat in the Hat head gear, listen to visiting authors, hold readers’ theaters, and otherwise fete the sheer joy of reading. Reading Rockets, whose resources are featured this week, is a national multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many kids struggle with reading, and how parents and teachers can help. The project is an educational initiative of WETA, the leading public radio and television station in Washington, DC. Reading Rockets is a national partner of the Read Across America project.

Read Across America Resources
Subjects: Reading, English, Language Arts
Grade: Preschool – 4th grade

This collection of resources offers plenty of activities and ideas to help celebrate the pleasure of reading on Read Across America Day (and every other day of the year, too). There are classroom strategies to incorporate Dr. Seuss books into literacy-building activities; e-cards; bookmarks in English and Spanish; videos of the Hooray for Diffendoofer Day authors who were inspired by Dr. Seuss; a video interview with Theodore Geisel's wife, Audrey; and activities to celebrate Dr. Seuss at home.

Family Literacy Bag: Where the Wild Things Are
Subjects: Reading, English, Language Arts
Grade: K-1

This kit allows teachers to create a take-home "literacy bag" so that parents can read and engage with their children. The topic of this particular kit is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and features the classic children’s tale. The kit also contains lists of nonfiction titles about nighttime and fiction titles that emphasize concepts such as dealing with feelings and using your imagination. I like that the kit’s activities and suggested companion book selections are so well-thought-out: combined, the titles completely capture the spirit of Max, his anger, creativity, and the mysteries of night. Nonfiction selections focus on night animals or how nightfall occurs, while the fiction selections offer tales of young children’s changing emotions and their endless capacity for imaginative play and creation. The kit (available in Spanish as well as in English) also contains various resources to encourage hands-on activities for kids and parents to share.

Beginning Readers: Look! I Can Read This!
Subjects: Reading, English, Language Arts
Grade: Pre-school-1st grade

This brief article provides information on emergent readers, and gives a few tips for parents on how to support their children’s early reading efforts in a positive way. The article describes some literacy-related traits of beginning readers, as well as how to read with a beginner. This article - available in Spanish, MS Word, and PDF formats - may be reproduced in newsletters prepared by preschools, elementary schools, or parent organizations.

~Joann's Picks~

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