International Literacy Day, according to the calendar hanging in my office, was technically September 8th, but as I have been having inexplicable glitches attempting to access WordPress, I’m a little behind. (But the Salem LitFest isn’t for another week, so I’m still in the running!)
Therefore, in the name of celebrating cool stuff, which today is reading (who am I kidding? We celebrate reading all the time in my world), I bring you neat thoughts about literacy, and a handful of reading-related activities.
First of all, good news for those of us who have more books than shelves to put them on: Book owners have smarter kids from Salon.com
And next, hear about how educators at the Eric Carle Museum focus on ‘reading the pictures’ in their storytimes as much as reading the words, improving comprehension and engaging kids and adults in the art of illustration: Noggin video
Looking for good books to read? Ask your local librarian or check out some useful lists on Reading Rockets, helpfully organized by theme.
Also, don’t forget to check out the awesome interdisciplinary lesson plans available at the Kennedy Center’s ArtsEdge–many of them have literacy themes. One of my favorites is the Adjective Monster, a ‘paper sculpture’ art and geometry project built around Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley.
Illustration from Wiesner's Flotsam
Inspired by the ‘reading pictures’ video? Everyone loves a good wordless book, and David Wiesner has created several. Try out this very cool classroom photography project featured in School Library Journal and inspired by Flotsam, with neat tie-ins to science and history. Kudos to my Anonymous Tip-Master for pointing this one out! I love how crazy and beautiful his illustrations are, and part of a long tradition of fish-exaggerations. In 1719, the first full-color illustrated book of fish was published, including several fish that were figments of the illustrator’s imagination! (See The Fantasy Fish of Samuel Fallours for the scoop.)
For more science tie-ins, read Flotsam paired with Tracking Trash, a very cool book about ocean currents and the problem of the ocean as ‘plastic soup’ [National Geographic]. Sector 7 is also a personal favorite, and great for teaching story-boarding or introducing a unit on clouds.
And lest we think all literacy only has to do with kids old enough for words, a neat article about visual literacy that begins developing in infancy: Escher-Themed Nurseries? Even 4 month olds can recognize impossible objects from Cognitive Daily. (You thought I’d manage not to include a reference to Eye Spy in this post, didn’t you? Tune in next time for more cool stuff to do with impossible objects and how to create your own scratch holograms!)