Reading Rockets News
The Reading Rockets newsletter is chock-full of great resources about reading. Browse the current issue below, or dig into the newsletter archive.
To subscribe to our free monthly newsletter, sign up here.
- In Focus: Summer learning | Start with a Book
- Books & Authors: Interview with Herman Parish | May booklist | Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: books and bookmarks | Teachers Are Terrific books and e-cards
- Ideas for Educators: Jigsaw strategy | Smart use of iPads in the classrooms | Early learning passports
- Ideas for Parents: Reading adventure pack: Gardening | Active read alouds | Buzz about the spelling bee | Better hearing and speech
- Research & News: The state of preschool | Pew survey: parents, children, libraries and reading | Transmedia, play and learning
In Focus: Summer Learning
Read. Talk. Explore. With 24 kid-tested themes to choose from, you'll find something for every child to dive into. Each theme includes dozens of carefully chosen fiction and nonfiction books, hands-on activities, writing ideas, apps and websites to deepen the learning. You'll also find simple, practical ideas on how to improve your child's fluency during the summer months. Sign up for our summer literacy text messages, in English or Spanish!
Visit Start with a Book >
Teachers: download and print this Start with a Book flyer to share with your families, for a summer full of discovery and learning.
Download flyer >
Six amazing Children's Librarians Who Blog will be taking readers on their tour of our Start with a Book (SWAB) resources. Find out how the themed books and activities can be incorporated into storytime at home, in the library and in summer programs; how to connect with underserved populations; how librarians can use SWAB with beginning readers; and more. Join the road trip, beginning Monday May 13 at Amy Koester's The Show Me Librarian blog. Readers have a chance to win a bundle of themed picture books!
Take the tour (May 13-19) >
Unpack our summer activity "beach bag" — designed for teachers to share with families — and launch a summer full of active and enriching learning experiences. What's in the bag? Ideas for encouraging everyday reading and writing, and links to online resources on how to start a neighborhood book club, reading incentive programs, volunteering and active citizenship, kid-friendly gardening projects, great science-focused websites, and much more.
See Summer resources >
Find out if your public library is part of the Collaborative Summer Library Program, a grassroots effort to provide high-quality summer reading programs for kids. Check out our Top 9 reasons to rediscover your public library. Our sister site, Colorín Colorado, offers tips for parents in Spanish about visiting their local library.
Three families, three different summer experiences — all rich in literacy activities and hands-on learning. In our Launching Young Readers program, you'll meet parents, teachers and researchers who are discovering the best ways to keep kids' brains active during the long summer break — and avoid the "summer slide." In one segment (Michael's Successful Summer), find out how specialized summer programs can help kids with dyslexia thrive and grow.
Watch video >
Find many additional resources for teachers, librarians, and families in our Summer Reading section
Books & Authors
The lovable, literal-minded Amelia Bedelia has charmed readers since she first arrived on our bookshelves 50 years ago. Amelia Bedelia really knows how to "dress" a chicken (in tiny clothes that fit just right). Herman Parish has been writing fresh Amelia Bedelia stories since 1995, inventing new adventures for the beloved character his aunt, Peggy Parish, created all those years ago.
Watch interview >
There's change in the air. Frogs wake up and sing — and so do birds. Boys imagine, invent and recycle. Trees show off a kaleidoscope of blossoms. Listen and look at changes all around in these new picture books perfect for the month that spans spring and summer.
See booklist >
From food (Bee-Bim Bop!) to folktales (Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story): discover the rich culture, humor and traditions of Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, Vietnam and Hawaii in these beautifully-told stories.
Go to booklist >
Additional themed booklists for APA Heritage Month, from our sister site Colorín Colorado. Family celebrations, family stories, favorite foods, heroes and legends, poetry and more.
See booklists >
Find the hidden letters in this whimsical, colorful bookmark created by Newbery winner Grace Lin in celebration of Children's Book Week (May 13-19). All ready to download and print.
Get your bookmark >
"Books erase bias, they make the uncommon everyday, and the mundane exotic. A book makes all cultures universal." Grace Lin (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon)
Watch our interview with Lin >
Teachers are kind of like superheroes: smart, brave, intuitive, able to react at a moment's notice, possibly magical…. Get to know Miss Frizzle, Miss Nelson, and the other wonderful and very human teachers in this collection of books for kids 3-9 years old.
See booklist >
Don't forget Teacher Appreciation Week (May 6-10)! Send an e-card to a favorite teacher in your child's life to thank them for the love of learning they bring to the classroom each day. Featuring delightful illustrations from Denise Brunkus and Henry Cole.
Send a teacher appreciation e-card >
Ideas for Educators
Jigsaw is a cooperative learning strategy that enables each student of a "home" group to specialize in one aspect of a topic. Go inside Cathy Doyle's second grade classroom in Evanston, Illinois to observe her students using the jigsaw strategy to understand the topic of gardening more deeply and share what they have discovered.
See strategy >
Education and technology expert Lisa Guernsey shares what she learned from a recent trip to Zurich about teaching with iPads. In one K-8 school she visited, the teachers cared most about how the devices could capture moments that told stories about their students' experiences in school. Instead of focusing on what was coming out of the iPad, they were focused on what was going into it.
See article >
By the end of the school year, preschool teachers know their students well, including each child's strengths and weaknesses. One way to make sure this important knowledge follows kids once they move on from preschool is to create an early learning "passport" — a folder containing checklists, documents, and work samples that can be passed on to a child's kindergarten teacher. This toolkit from the National Center for Learning Disabilities shows you how.
Get toolkit >
Ideas for Parents
Go on a green adventure! Our newest adventure pack encourages hands-on fun and learning centered around paired fiction and nonfiction books. Imagine your own backyard or community garden and map it. Or learn how to start seeds in easy-to-make starter pots. (In English and Spanish)
See gardening adventure pack >
The best story times are very interactive: You are reading the story and asking questions, your child is talking and there is lots of conversation between the two of you. In this video, kids and volunteers come together around books in an Alexandria, VA reading program. Watch how one reading volunteer engages kids in active conversation about vegetables, and how an outdoor "milking station" turns into a memorable way to learn new vocabulary words like "pasteurizing." (To set up your own farm station, download our Farms reading adventure pack).
Watch video and browse tip sheets >
For the first time in the 86-year history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, vocabulary knowledge will be part of the competition. Our researcher/teacher/mom/blogger Joanne Meier says Huzzah! (An expression or shout of acclaim — often used interjectionally to express joy or approbation, first known use: 1573)
Read blog post >
The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) sponsors Better Hearing and Speech Month each May. Visit the ASHA website for resources and check out their Listen to Your Buds safe listening campaign.
Related articles from Reading Rockets:
- How Does Your Child Hear and Talk?
- Healthy Hearing
- Activities to Encourage Speech and Language Development
- Reading Together: Tips for Parents of Children with Speech and Language Problems
Find more resources in our Speech, Language, and Hearing section
Research, Reports & News
President Obama has put pre-K on the national agenda with his State of the Union address and budget proposal. In contrast, the latest annual report from National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), shows that pre-K funding continues to decline despite decades of evidence showing high-quality pre-K produces significant gains in school readiness and academic achievement, higher productivity in the work force, and decreases in social problems. "The state of preschool is a state of emergency," remarked NIEER Director W. Steven Barnett.
See report >
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project reveals that a vast majority (94%) of parents of children younger than 18 feel that libraries are very important for their children. Among the parents surveyed, access to books tops the list of important services. "Libraries," parents say, "help inculcate their children's love of reading and books." Parents also want libraries to "increase involvement with helping children prepare for school and providing resources for school children." Nearly nine in ten parents say that libraries should "definitely offer free literacy programs" to help young children prepare for school, and 86% want public libraries to "coordinate more closely with local schools to provide resources to children."
Learn more >
This paper, funded by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, provides a guidebook to "transmedia" (or cross-platform media) in the lives of children age 5-11 and its applications to storytelling, play and learning. "We really have two goals for the report," says co-author Becky Herr-Stephenson. "Our first is to get educators thinking about how they might incorporate transmedia play into activities, lesson plans, or projects. Our second goal is to put the design recommendations before media makers in the hopes that the principles will reinforce the good work people are already doing as well as encourage others to bring play and learning to the forefront of their transmedia projects."
See report >
In Mother's Shadow
I walk behind Mother
through the woods
not to touch the poison oak
she points to with her stick.
She sees snakes before
She finds her way
by the smell of the trees.
She stops to rest
the very moment
my shoes grow
and gives me water,
gives me shade
in her steady
— from The Rainbow Hand: Poems About Mothers and Children
by Janet Wong