Children's books

April 7, 2016

It was my mom who introduced me to Beezus and Ramona. But the introduction was a bit unusual. We’re not talking about a cozy bedtime story or even a read aloud on one of our family’s long car trips. I had Ramona live in my living room.

Mom was, at the time, English Resource Coordinator for the Piedmont Schools Project. I didn’t know what that meant other than she...

March 31, 2016

A call for submissions for the 2016 Walter Grant is out for new U.S. authors and/or illustrators who are diverse themselves and not yet published. The grant program is inclusive of writers who identify themselves as having a disability as well as other categories of diversity including race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion that are listed in the grant application guidelines...

March 23, 2016

Creating access for learning through audiobooks may one day have full acceptance; yet changes are underway and options are improving so teachers, parents and students have choices about how students listen while learning.

Not created equally

Teachers of students who struggle to read print know that audio formats are not created equally. There is a continuum from listen-only...

March 21, 2016

A Washington Post columnist recently lamented the impact of the current polarized political climate in the United States. She said it was “contaminating” our children; that its impact was...

March 21, 2016

Teacher question: I’m confused. Our standards say that we have to teach kids to read at 820 Lexiles, but my third-graders aren’t even close to that. They are instructional at Level N on the Fountas & Pinnell gradient that my school uses. This makes no sense. How can I get my kids to such a high level in the time that we have? Shanahan responds:

I receive...

March 11, 2016

Super author Jeff Kinney, best known for his Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and the Wimpy Kid movies, does not have dyslexia, nor do his children, but he champions reading audiobooks! In fact, he personally only reads audiobooks as an alternative to traditional print.

Listening to audiobooks is reading, says Kinney. This view refutes claims by some to the contrary. In...

March 3, 2016

Beverly Cleary has received countless awards. They include being named by the Library of Congress as a Living Legend; Cleary received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her lasting contributions to children’s literature; she is the recipient of a Newbery Medal and several Newbery Honors; and has been the American nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award.

But...

February 26, 2016

The Open eBooks app debuted this week creating access to digital books for children in need. Right out of the box, there are questions on social media about accessibility features. That is a good thing. Many ebooks are not accessible or accessible enough for seriously struggling readers.

Accessible Educational Materials (AEM)

They need "born accessible" electronic books with...

February 26, 2016

WOWIE KAZOO! Surf's Up, a joyful picture book with two froggie friends at the beach debuted officially for all on February 1. The story unfolds on colorful pages with a unique literacy message that possibly could inspire readers who struggle.

This book combines two big talents — author...

February 4, 2016

Teachers get ready to contribute in your own way to the literacy festivities ahead. Join the Defined and Caption Media Program's (DCMP) 11th annual Read Captions Across America (RCAA) event!

NEA Partner

DCMP partners with the ...

February 9, 2016

Teacher question: I am a Reading Coach at a Title I middle school serving a student population of 95% African American. Less than 40% of our students read at/or above grade level. My goal is to increase the amount of individual time that our students spend reading novels. My suggestion has been to add more classroom novels that are about African Americans, and African American...

January 25, 2016

Get ready for the Battle of the Kids’ Books (BoB) that begins March 9. Schools, parent groups, and librarians nationwide work together to put on this "book-centric" equivalent to basketball's exciting March Madness tournament.

Be Inclusive

But wait! Are the chosen books in the competition accessible to students who struggle to read traditional print? AIM-VA offers some ideas...

January 12, 2016

Pinkney Wins Dual ALA Awards in 2016

"I truly believe dyslexia made me the achiever I am in my art, and it made me who I am as a person," said children's book illustrator Jerry Pinkney to Jane Wallace for an article for the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity. Pinkney won two prestigious awards at the 2016 Youth Media Awards on Jan. 11 in Boston. They are the:...

January 14, 2016

On January 7, the 5th Ambassador for Young People’s Literature was officially installed at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Gene Yang's induction was attended by former ambassadors, Kate DiCamillo and Jon Scieszka in a role also held by Walter Dean Myers and Katherine Paterson.

Yang, a former teacher and self-proclaimed nerd, challenged the children and adults to...

December 21, 2015

Reading for pleasure during school breaks can maintain a struggling student's academic progress and may stave off regressions.

Is Print A Troublemaker?

Titles on the list that follows can turn reading into a happy family affair during the upcoming winter break. These books—chosen by experts—come in accessible book formats that make a difference especially for learners who struggle to...

December 18, 2015

When you are traveling with your own child and your mother, the topic of parenting is bound to come up. While on our Little Journey, most of those discussions were bedtime and mealtime related. But we also found ourselves frequently remarking on the parenting skills of Charles and Caroline Ingalls.

In so many ways, Ma and Pa did right by their girls — even by today’s standards. They...

November 19, 2015

As regular readers know, this is the time of the year that I identify charities that try to help improve children's literacy and language and to make books available to kids. Readers of my blog obviously care about whether kids can read and why not make that cause part of your charitable gifting as well.

October 30, 2015

National Family Literacy Day® falls on Nov. 1 2015. This national observance often kicks off a month of family literacy activities in libraries, schools, and community settings. It is a time for educators, librarians and others to celebrate learning differences and many ways to read. Put a spotlight on accessible digital text and alternatives to print. Build a nation of readers. 

Digital...

October 23, 2015

A recent book for young readers and a presentation by the authors for 3rd and 4th grade children reminded me how much damage stereotypes and misinformation can create. In this case, Jim and Jamie Dutcher have spent their professional lives as filmmakers and writers documenting the real lives of wolves in an effort to correct the erroneous and ultimately destructive misconceptions about these...

October 15, 2015

Kidlit TV is a resource chock full of treasures to help educators and parents explore children's literature. Be sure to add the "Read Out Loud" selection to your teacher or parent toolkit. Find several books read aloud by their authors.

In the video above, author Mike Curato reads Little Elliot, Big City (4:46 min.), a story of how a little guy in a big city...

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"Let children read whatever they want and then talk about it with them. If parents and kids can talk together, we won't have as much censorship because we won't have as much fear." —

Judy Blume