May 042013

“I think ideas are one of the things I do well,” says Susan Anderson-Newham, 2013 Mover & Shaker, block-play advocate, actor, writer, storyteller and, most importantly, the Pierce County Library System’s (WA) early learning supervising librarian. In this interview, Anderson-Newman talks about the importance of collaboration and a good sense of humor, why hands-on play is key to kids’ learning, her inspirations and passions, and her top picture books of all time.


Mar 162013

Pushy parents who spend a small fortune lavishing books on their young children in the hope of giving them a head start before primary school may be wasting their time and money, according to experts.

In reality, as every child knows, the business of helping pre-school children learn their first words is surprisingly simple – repetition and familiarity. A favourite book read over and over again trumps the mini-library of children’s books found in some British households. As the saying goes, less is more. =>

Aug 282012

Random House has announced the Random House Teacher Awards, which recognises “dynamic and resourceful teachers” who use their creativity to inspire and successfully instill a love of reading in their students”. Open to full and part-time teachers in public schools, the awards will be presented by Crown author Jonathan Kozol at the National Council of Teachers of English annual convention during the “Mentoring Matters” breakfast, held November 16 in Las Vegas.

Awards consist of a $10,000 first place grant, $5,000 second place grant and a $2,500 third place grant payable to each teacher’s school. Book donations will be made to winners and runners-up. More information, including application guidelines, can be found here.

May 072011

Imagine not being able to read a thing, not even a road sign
“If you cannot read and write then you are always afraid,” my friend and award-winning Australian Indigenous author, Tara June Winch, once wrote to me over email. “To not be literate – not just practically, but socially, emotionally, economically, to not be able to engage or navigate your world – you are compacted. You are diminished. You are afraid. Literacy stays forever. People are stronger for it. It gives people life and hope to help themselves.”

Tara’s words have stayed with me since I first read them a year ago.

It’s the power of books. Of reading. Of being able to write your name, read a contract, a textbook, a manual, a medicine bottle, a street sign, a warning. We take it for granted. Well, I know I do.

At times I forget that despite the fact we are a developed nation, a number of our own communities are on fire. Particularly our Indigenous communities. =>

Apr 282011

“What is the use of a book,” thought Alice, eerily foreshadowing a critical question in the age of digital media, “without pictures or conversations?”

Soon enough, she plunges down the rabbit hole and finds pictures and conversations aplenty. But her question lingers for us today in modified form. With electronic books — a technology teeming with children’s titles, many of them stunningly rendered for the Apple iPad — mere pictures and conversations are passé, at least pictures that don’t move and conversations that you can’t hear. Nobody has to feel sleepy or stupid anymore, not with a fully charged iPad with a book on it. =>

Apr 272011

Audio books are great for long car journeys or other places where you can’t physically read a book, but I’m not sure if they’re a great idea for kids who are still building their reading skills. This Lego helmet lets kids simply look at the pictures while the stories are read aloud to them. =>

Apr 242011

Poverty and third-grade reading proficiency have a huge impact on high school graduation rates, says a new study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private charitable organization that helps disadvantages kids.
Students who don’t read at grade level by third grade are four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma than kids who are proficient readers, says “Double Jeopardy: How Poverty & Third-Grade Reading Skills Influence High School Graduation,” which studied nearly 4,000 students nationwide. Overall, poverty compounds the problem: poor students are three times more likely to drop out or fail to graduate on time. And poverty impacts even the best readers, with poor proficient third graders graduating at about the same rate as subpar readers who’ve never been poor. more » » »

Mar 222011

BANGALORE // The first thing that strikes you about Shane Watson, the Australia all-rounder, is his imposing physique.

The muscular opener for the world champions in one-day cricket has the torso of an Australia rules footballer and has been dubbed “Tarzan” in certain circles. Yet there is far more to him than initially meets the eye.

For one, Watson is the International Cricket Council (ICC) ambassador for Room to Read, an organisation that “seeks to transform the lives of millions of children in developing countries by focusing on literacy and gender equality in education”.

Jan 122011

“It is not enough to simply teach children to read; we have to give them something worth reading. Something that will stretch their imaginations–something that will help them make sense of their own lives and encourage them to reach out toward people whose lives are quite different from their own.”
– Katherine Patterson

Dec 162010

The Jolly Christmas Postman (The Jolly Postman) (Hardback)
By Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Illustrated by Janet Ahlberg

It’s Christmas Eve and the Jolly Postman is delivering greetings to various fairy-tale characters – there’s a card for Baby Bear, a game appropriately called ‘Beware’ for Red Riding Hood from Mr Wolf, a get-well jigsaw for hospitalized Humpty Dumpty and three more surprise envelopes containing letters, and cards.

A Genre Study of Letters With The Jolly Postman

Questions to ask before, during, and after reading


Language arts/Reading – Historical fiction

Library Letter Writing Unit Plan