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Frustrated Doesn’t Begin to Cover It

27 March 2009

I’ve come to the conclusion that the relationship with my computer suffers the same ups and downs as the ones in *real* life.

What was supposed to be seamless is now protracted! The world may be flat, but it is not without its bumps, and it was laid on my earlier this week that the redirect may take 90 days. UGH! So here’s Plan ? – I think I’m up to C or D.

If you follow Scrub-a-Dub-Tub in your reader, you’ll want to update to this link. It’s easy to subscribe … it’s up in the right corner.

If you’re inclined to update your blogroll, that’s great. If not, that’s Okay, too, because I have dug in my heels about making this redirect work! This is supposed to be easier on the consumer. But enough of that kvetching …

poetryfridayIt’s Poetry Friday! … the perfect way to spend the day and get warmed up for all of the fun that begins next Wednesday. [Yes, April is almost here.]  This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted by Julie Larios at The Drift Record.

Children’s Literacy and Reading News – 23 March

23 March 2009

Well, the good news is that Scrub-a-Dub-Tub has a lot of new, great stuff. The bad news is that we still haven’t gotten the redirect (and a few other things) to work. I thought we’d have them done by this morning’s post time, but Monday has arrived and the time for news is now!

This week’s edition of  Children’s Literacy and Reading News Round-Up brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog is available at the new Scrub-a-Dub-Tub.

We are hoping that you won’t have to change the URL for your blogroll. Embedded links should automatically be redirected. We hope to have the last pieces fixed later today.

A brief Intermission

19 March 2009

I have finally taken the leap and am transitioning from a WordPress-hosted blog to a site I am hosting myself.

Do you remember when you went to Powerpoint class and played with all the bells and whistles until you laughed yourself silly? Well, I’m testing lots of things and am sparing you the construction noise.

Things may be quiet here for a few days as I get all the kinks out … The good news is you won’t have to change your blogrolls, etc!

See you in a few days!

Share a Story-Shape a Future: The Curtain Call

17 March 2009

bearbutton1When I first stuck a toe in the water to see if there would be an interest in creating a blog tour for literacy, I had no idea what to expect. I was hopeful, but never in my wildest dreams did I envision that a first-time event would shape up the way it did.  I’m still over the moon …

I am incredibly thankful all of the energy and enthusiasm across blogging communities that went into making Share a Story-Shape a Future a successful week.  There were bloggers from all corners of the kidlitosphere; corporate support from Stenhouse Publishers and Teacher Magazine; and book giveaways courtesy of Boni Ashburn, Fiona Bayrock, Aimee Buckner, Mary Lee Hahn, Donalyn Miller, and Eva Mitnick. There were lots of comments, with familiar folks and *new faces* sharing stories and ideas.  According to the survey,  everyone found at least one thing new and valuable. More importantly, some of you have already started using some of the ideas.

This was truly an ensemble effort.  I cannot thank our hosts – Sarah Mulhern, Susan Stephenson, Eva Mitnick, and Elizabeth Dulemba – AND THEIR GUESTS enough.  Together, we all chimed in with ideas for planning, organizing, and presenting this first-of-its-kind event.  It was very collegial, and the program was richer for the exchange.  The spontaneous, collaborative effort of Brimful Curiosities building on Elizabeth Dulemba’s art was just one example of how we all pitched in.   I am looking forward to meeting and thanking them in person this October. Until then, there are two people, though, that I want to recognize individually.

Jen Robinson – Although several of us had given some thought to a literacy blog tour, it was her Encouraging Reading-Aloud post that pushed us to solidify the idea and move forward.  Jen once again put on her Literacy Evangelist cape to help us spread the word about Share a Story-Shape a Future.  Thanks Jen.

sue_steph13Susan Stephenson – When I asked Susan if she’d be interested in helping, she jumped in with both feet, two hands, and a ton of ideas. Her artistic abilities really added polish to what we were trying to do, and the documents she created help separate Share a Story-Shape a Future from the usual event.

Share a Story-Shape a Future will be back. For the near term, the blog will remain our bulletin board and archive.  If/When we pull together the links and bloglists into a single spot, that’s where you’ll find it. When we’re ready to start thinking about themes and start planning our lineups, that’s where we’ll make the announcement. Between now and then, if you have any ideas, don’t hesitate to leave a comment there or send me an email [thereadingtub – at – gmail dot com].

In the meantime, keep reading. We look forward to sharing your stories and ideas in 2010.

Share a Story-Shape a Future Bear logo created by Elizabeth Dulemba.
Brimful Curiosities created the event button using Elizbeth’s artwork.
Child’s drawing for Share a Story-Shape a Future created by Susan Stephenson

Children’s Literacy Roundup – 16 March

16 March 2009

Welcome to this week’s  edition of  children’s literacy and reading news, brought to you by Jen Robinson’s Book Page and Scrub-a-Dub-Tub, a Reading Tub blog.  We focused our energies on the Share a Story – Shape a Future literacy blog tour last week, so Jen has a super-sized installment over at Jen Robinson’s Book Page.

Jen has some great links that complement some of the themes we covered in the blog tour last week.

  • Bookninja talks about two recent studies on how daily life can interfere with reading to kids. Both Bookninja and Natasha Worsick offer their own personal perpsectives about dads reading with children.
  • An Hawaii Reporter about Wally”Famous”  Amos, who created Read it LOUD! includes a list of parental reading tips.  You can find more tips in Anna Belchelder’s Handout for Parents at Literacy is Priceless: A Blog for Reading Teachers.
  • Jen found an OpEd piece in the Courier Connection. The author, Deanna Gouzie, is a children’s librarian. She makes four points on ways to reach reluctant readers: give them freedom of choice, play to their passion, try audio books, and make a connection. I liked this part of her message: “Unfortunately there is no one magic book which is going to hook every kid; however, we can help them find the right one. Respect your child’s likes and dislikes and be supportive of their choices. “

vabook09Here in Charlottesville, the big event this week is the 15th Virginia Festival of the Book.  This is a five-day (mostly free) event that “honors the book culture and promotes reading and literacy.”  The entire community gets involved, and there are events all over town. School and Youth events actually begin today, with authors heading to schools all around town.  One local middle school is devoting an entire day to “independent reading and book group discussions of favorite novels.”  How cool is that?

The feedback survey is still open for last week’s Share a Story-Shape a Future event. We would love to have your thoughts as we decide whether or not to try something like this again.

There is a lot of really great reading at Jen’s children’s literacy and reading news roundup today, so please be sure to stop by.

Share a Story: The Future of Reading (updated)

13 March 2009

Oh, my. Friday is here already. As Carol Rasco said “I’m going to miss the tour next week.”  But I’ll let you in on a little secret: the tour is just the beginning. Now that we’re all excited and filled with new ideas, we can open the next book (pun intended).

We created Share a Story-Shape a Future as a medium for promoting reading not just for us  (we all love books), but as a way of reaching beyond ourselves to the people around us. As we’ve said from the beginning, this isn’t about *telling* people they need to read, it is about making ourselves available – as models, as mentors, as members of our community.

So it only seems appropriate that on Day 5, we look to the future. Over at, Elizabeth Dulemba has put together an incredible post – a primer really – about the evolution of reading, from storytellers to story gadgets. Over the next few days, she’ll be publishing full-length interviews with some of her guests, and we’ll link those as they come live on the Share a Story-Shape a Future blog.

Day 5: Technology and Reading – What the Future Holds
is hosted by Elizabeth O. Dulemba at

Elizabeth has pulled everything into one post today.  Here is SOME of the content (I don’t want to spoil her surprise).

Some other wrap-up-type news.

I will be back, probably tomorrow or Monday, with some final thoughts and thank yous.  It has been a marvelous week and I want to say a proper thanks to everyone.

We have uploaded our piece d’resistance: The Share a Story-Shape a Future Literacy Resource Kit. You can use it online, download it to your own site, or even print it. In it you’ll find the fully-credited collection of comments from Jen Robinson’s How Do We Encourage Reading Aloud? and other reading ideas, as well as a TON of links to literacy resources, children’s booklists and reviewers, and literacy organizations. We put together the kit before the tour began, so it does not have all of this week’s content. Stop by The Book Chook – Susan is the creative genius that made it sparkle.

Last but not least, we would appreciate it if you would take a few minutes to complete our short survey about the event.

Share a Story: What’s in Your Wallet

12 March 2009

The most valuable piece of plastic in your wallet is (drumroll, please) your LIBRARY CARD! They don’t charge you for your interest, the books are free to use, and there is no credit limit. As Adrienne and Jules point out, there may be the occasional fee, but it is put to good use.

subduedSort of makes me wish that I could personalize my library card the way I can personalize my credit card. Wouldn’t that just be too cool? Oh, the possibilities …mod

Can I have a hologram of me and one of my favorite characters? It would look mostly like me, but then, when you tilt it it would be, oh, Nancy Drew. It’s a security device … to protect against identity theft … really.

Okay, I’m back! Today we’re going to the library, beginning with Eva Mitnick and Elizabeth Bird taking us on tours of the Los Angeles Public Library and the New York Public Library, respectively. Here’s our lineup for today!

Day 4: A Visit to the Library
hosted by Eva Mitnick at Eva’s Book Addiction blog

Be sure to return to yesterday’s  Read Aloud Day, too. Aimee Buckner’s post about engaging kids in conversations about what you’re reading is at the Stenhouse Publishers blog, and we have new posts in our More Great Posts list.

As links go live, I’ll update this post. Done.

Picture Books and Reading Aloud: A Match Made in Heaven

11 March 2009

Last week, Betsy Bird (Fuse #8) announced that she is conducting a 100 Best Picture Books readers poll on her blog at School Library Journal.  She is looking for our top ten personal favorites, in order of preference. Betsy’s deadline is March 31, but since picture books and reading aloud go together, I set my personal deadline for this week.

Every time I thought I had the list together, I’d see one more post and the pile would come toppling to the floor.  For now I have stopped the other great lists!  I’m still fidgeting with the order, but today is my (self-imposed) deadline. So here goes … in alphabetical order.

The Empty Pot by Demi This is a beautifully told, beautifully illustrated folktale.

Hug illustrated by Jez Alborough It’s hard to compare this with other picture books, because with Hug, this is less about the story and more about the memorable experience of reading this with a young child on your lap.

Jumbo’s Lullaby written by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by Henri Sorensen Brightly-colored illustrations complement a soothing poem about a baby elephant.

Lily and the Paper Man written by Rebecca Upjohn, illustrated by Renne Benoit This is a beautifully presented story of overcoming fears and compassion that doesn’t bang you over the head with its message.

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. As kids, we would take turns playing the parts in the story – even the boys wanted to be Mary Ann.

The Princess Gown written by Linda Leopold Straus, illustrated by Malene Laugesen. Every list needs a fairy tale, and this one has all of the classic elements, without being  Disney-fied.

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. This is one of my all-time favorite books. Even thinking about it, I can hear the crunch, crunch.

The Story about Ping written by Marjorie Flack, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. I would spend hours with this book. I “Yangtze River” sounded so exotic.

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig.  This is a story I remember only by rediscovering it with Catherine.  It reminded me of The Musicians of Bremen, a beloved Grimms fairy tale.

Time for Bed by Mem Fox, illustrated by Jane Dyer Every list needs a lullaby.

Share a Story: Today We’re Talking Read-Alouds

11 March 2009

Sorry for the posting delay, I was off enjoying the posts du jour about reading aloud. Susan has packed Day Three with great content.  She’s got three posts herself! I’ll plug in the day’s agenda below, but I want to make sure you don’t miss these tidbits …

Suan is giving away two children’s books: Bubble Homes and Fish Farts by Fiona Bayrock here; and Hush, Little Dragon by Boni Ashburn here.

Over at BookDads, not only did Brian put together a comprehensive post, but he loaded it with great book ideas and lots of links for resources and reading lists.

Over at the Book Whisper, Donalyn Miller has opened her contest: “Submit your favorite read alouds; include testimonials and recommended ages; and enter to win the drawing for a copy of my new book, The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child published by Jossey-Bass and Education Week Press.”

picture-009Dr. Freud would probably have something to say, but I still have some of the bookmarks I made as a child: the macrame bookworms (6th grade); the leather book corner (4th grade?), and my all-time favorite: the ice cream cone (5th grade).  Bookmarks can be a fun way to engage kids with books – they can keep their reading list on them, they can create art to express themselves.  To get you started, we created a document with links to bookmarks you can download, instructions on how to make your own, and a collection of blank templates to get you started.

Be sure to stop by the Share a Story-Shape a Future blog, too. That’s where I’m going back to add links to posts that hosts add to their lists.

Day 3: Reading Aloud – It’s Fun, It’s Easy
hosted by Susan Stephenson at the Book Chook blog
  • What to Do When the Reading is Done – Aimee Buckner, hosted by the Stenhouse blog
  • Never Too old: Reading Aloud with Independent Readers – Donalyn Miller @ The Book Whisperer
  • Happy Reading!

    Share a Story: Now It’s Time to Pick a Book

    10 March 2009

    Did you ever have a teacher that opened doors inside you didn’t know existed? For me it was Miss Sauder, my seventh grade English teacher (back then it was English, not Language Arts). She transformed the way I looked at language and stories. I even changed careers.  I was going to be the first female conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. In fifth period English, I discovered my destiny – an English major.

    Why am I rambling about 1975? Because Sarah Mulhern is that kind of  fabulous teacher. When you read her blog, you get the chance to sit in a chair at the back of the room and catch a ray of enthusiasm – hers and her students.  She’s got a great day planned … Enjoy!

    Day 2: Selecting Reading Material
    hosted by Sarah Mulhern at The Reading Zone


    Sarah”s Host Post: Selecting Reading Material

    Eeny, Meeny, Miny, May- Which Book Do I Choose Today? The ABCs of Reading: Infants, Toddlers & Preschoolers – Valerie Baartz on The Almost Librarian

    How to Help Emerging Readers – Anastasia Suen @ 5 Great Books

    I Don’t Know What I Want to Read Next: Helping Middle Grade Readers – Sarah Mulhern @ The Reading Zone

    Using Non-fiction for Read-Aloud – Mary Lee Hahn of A Year of Reading, hosted by the Stenhouse blog UPDATED (11:20 AM)

    Other Share a Story-Shape a Future News

    # Eva has announced her Favorite Library Contest. Either send her an email with a pic of your favorite library, or leave a comment with the answer to “My favorite library is __ because ….” Eva is giving away books for the winners. You can see all of our book giveaways here.

    # Jen Robinson has an open call for ideas on how to start a public information for read-aloud.  Stop by and join the discussion.