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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Celebrations fit for a new school year

September 16, 2013

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer after which schools are in full swing again. Various September celebrations are ideal complements to school, community and home activities.

In 1965, September 8 was declared International Literacy Day (ILD) by UNESCO. This year, ILD was marked by presentations and discussions (on the Monday after the official ILD) featuring among others, Alma Powell representing America's Promise Alliance and Maureen McLaughlin, President of the International Reading Association.

September is also National Library Card Sign-Up Month, to remind everyone in the community — at the start of a new school year — of the power of access to library resources.

Libraries are the ideal place for all kinds of literacy; information on various topics for myriad readers is available in multiple formats. Plus, reading is central to each type from financial to science to workplace literacy.

One thread that links them all, however, is the ability to think critically (key in the Common Core State Standards) which begins with the ability to ask questions. Perhaps adults could model the open-ended questions asked by curious young children; remember the dreaded "whys" and "hows"? (Marcus Pfister's Questions Questions provides a handsomely illustrated model for open-ended questions — sure to inspire further explorations.)

To adapt a quote from Voltaire, one can learn a great deal about a person — adult or child — by her questions rather than by her answers.

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"There is no substitute for books in the life of a child." — May Ellen Chase