Tag Archives: reading

Reading is Fundamental

reading is fundamentalReading Is Fundamental “is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the United States.” Their mission is to encourage children to read, and their website has a number of resources to help parents accomplish this at home.

The Kids section of the site has three great resources:

  • Leading to Reading – this site has early literacy activities for pre-readers, with sections for ages 0-2 and 3-5, and resources for parents
  • Reading Planet – this site is designed for kids ages 5 and up and features a Game Station, Activity Lab, and Book Zone
  • Let’s Read as a Family – this is site has literacy activities parents can do with their children at home and also has lots of tips for parents

For use in the library, check out the Literacy Resources, which include:

The Activity section is probably the most useful resource for library programming, including:

You can also search for activity ideas by category, age, and other factors. These activities could be used in conjunction with story time, or for additional programming throughout the year.

Read for the Record

bunny cakesToday is Read for the Record! What is Read for the Record? It’s a national campaign, organized by Jumpstart, that “mobilizes millions of children and adults to celebrate literacy by participating in the largest shared reading experience.” The event is held each year in October to shine a “spotlight on America’s early education achievement gap.”

This year’s book is Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells. ***You can read Bunny Cakes for FREE online all day today!*** There are also free activity guides and coloring pages. This year’s celebrity ambassador is North Dakotan Josh Duhamel.

Jumpstart’s mission is “to work toward the day every child in America enters kindergarten prepared to succeed.” Last year, 2,462,860 adults and children worldwide participated in the event, breaking the record.

Are you Reading for the Record at your library today? Share your stories in the comments! If you want to plan an event for next year, be sure to check out the event resources.

Apps in the Library

Many kids these days are more likely to be found playing games on a tablet or phone than reading a book, but there are ways to encourage literacy through electronics. Check out these free apps for ideas:

1000 books app1000 Books Before Kindergarten is an organization designed “to promote reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers” and “to encourage parent and child bonding through reading.” Whether you’re reading in print or online, use the free app to track your progress to 1000 books!

bedtimemath appBedtime Math’s mission is “to help kids learn to love math so they can become capable adults.” If you already read a bedtime story to your kids, why not encourage their numerical literacy as well by adding a bedtime math question? Use the free app to access math questions for children of various ages.

For teens, use yalsa appYALSA’s Teen Book Finder to access  YALSA’s award winning books and lists for the last three years. There is also an App of the Week feature on the YALSA blog. Check out the archive for more app ideas that might be useful for the teens in your library.

For more ideas, check out Emily Lloyd’s presentation entitled “iPads and Early Literacy: 50 Fantastic Free Apps for Pre-Readers.” All apps were free as of January.

If you weren’t able to attend the Spring Workshops here in Bismarck, be sure to check out the list of apps Charity Nix highlighted in her presentation “iPads in Education.”

How do you use apps in your library? What’s your favorite library/reading app? Share your suggestions in the comments!

Ways of Reading

In preparation for a 9th grade student training, I was thinking how reading sources for a research paper is different than reading a novel for pleasure. Because of the recent arctic vortex, the student training was cancelled. However, the different ways of reading are still a relevant topic to consider.


Maybe you read differently, but when reading a novel, I read every word; I don’t skim or read a bit here and there. The art of the novel includes the way the author uses words to enhance plot, dialogue, and description. If you don’t read every word, you may miss the elegance of novelistic writing. Sometimes the subtle bias or plot twist is hidden in a turn of a few words.

Reading sources for a research paper is much different than reading a novel. It is not necessary and often too time consuming, to read every word. To get the general point of an article, you can read the abstract or the first few paragraphs, or the executive summary. Read conclusions. Skim. Ask yourself questions while reading that fit your thesis statement or outline. Does this article or study mesh with your research paper? This way of focused reading for research is a useful tool to add to a student’s critical thinking toolbox.

“The middle of the road is where the white line is, and that’s the worst place to drive.” – Robert Frost

Brooklyn’s Finest Book Lists

brooklynThe Brooklyn Public Library is many things (including very far from here); one thing you might not know about them is that they curate some wonderful and wonderfully targeted book lists. These can help you fill in areas of your collection that need a little jazzing up. Here are a few choice examples to whet your appetite and get you in a book buying (and reading!) mood…

Books for Teens

Picture Books

Not what you’re looking for? They have tons more. Browse and search through the rest of their spectacular book lists here.

Have any recommendations you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

Paper Isn’t Dead

What is the most influential invention in history? Some might argue that it is paper, which affects every aspect of human activity from the arts to education to business to living. We even use it to clean up after ourselves.


The evolution of digital resources has many claiming that the printed book is obsolete. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, some for-profit colleges are moving exclusively to e-textbooks. However, a Pew study notes that college students continue to prefer printed textbooks to electronic ones by wide margins. Students prefer the “feel” of physical books, and printed books still account for almost ¾ of total books sales in the U.S.

A recent Norwegian study of high school students revealed that people comprehend print text far better than reading the same text on a computer screen. It seems that reading is a mind/body experience and handling the physical print book in some way increases comprehension. The physical experience is nearly absent when reading on a screen. According to this study, paper also seems to affect our emotions more than a computer screen does. Our brains do not work like computers; our minds perceive things, not symbols. Researchers are trying to understand how reading is a bodily activity.

There are some definite advantages to eBooks: portability, text searching, currency, links to other sources, cost, and no more heavy backpacks. But reading the printed book is a mind/body experience that will endure.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” –Albert Einstein

November is Picture Book Month

picture book monthNovember is Picture Book Month! Picture Book Month was started by Dianne de Las Casas, an award-winning author and storyteller, as an international literacy initiative to celebrate print picture books.

Each day in November, there will be “a new post from a picture book champion explaining why he/she thinks picture books are important.” So far, several big names in picture books have been confirmed, including Tomie dePaolo, Rebecca Emberly, Mercer Mayer, Rob Scotton, and Rosemary Wells.

If you want to promote Picture Book Month in your library, there is a promo kit with a poster, table topper, and shelf talkers. There are also badges to add to your website. The activities page has bookmarks and certificates, as well as links to various picture book themed activities.

How are you celebrating Picture Book Month at your library? Share your ideas in the comments!

Winter Reading Programs

snowflakesSummer Reading has long since wrapped up (though you may already be planning for summer 2014!). For many libraries, Summer Reading is a major program that brings lots of kids to the library. Why not take advantage of other school vacations to keep kids coming back to the library after summer ends? Christmas Break and Spring Break are both great opportunities to attract kids to the library during the snowy months! Continue reading

Summer Reading Resources from Teaching Books

Teaching BooksAre you planning a Summer Reading program? Did you know that Upstart and Teachingbooks.net have partnered to bring you free online, multimedia resources for titles related to the 2013 Dig Into Reading theme? While Teachingbooks.net normally requires a subscription, the Summer Reading resources are available to everyone at no cost, without a subscription.

Dig into Reading logoIf you are looking for other Summer Reading resources, check out the learning tools on the Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) website. They have learning tools for family literacy, diversity, and summer reading research. There are other resources for the children’s program, including a Pinterest page and bibliography.

Summer’s Coming!

It may not seem like it here in the northern Great Plains, where we are still looking out onto completely snow-covered lawns, but summer is right around the corner. And with summer comes the annual fun that is Summer Reading!
Last week, the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) released its Summer Reading Book Lists, which feature recommended titles for children in grades K-8. There are separate lists for: K-2nd Grade; 3rd-5th Grade; and 6th-8th Grade.

Some of the featured titles include:

Check out your local library or the ND State Library for these and other great titles on this year’s summer reading lists!