Wednesday, December 14, 2005

More on kids books and adult literacy news

Hi again,

Great story in yesterday's Sault Star about choosing books for children - aimed at parent's but quite useful for us.

In other news, New Brunswick released it's new Adult Literacy Strategy - so I've included a short article on that below.

For those interested in the blogging world - you may be thrilled as I was to find a reference to our little endeavour on another blog HERE. There are actually quite a few blogs out there on children's books (haven't found any others on literacy), but I may start listing a few along the side as they are good for inspiration re: choosing books and such.

PUBLICATION: The Sault Star
DATE: 2005.12.13
BYLINE: Roxanne Rissenan
SOURCE: Special to The Star

Great books for great kids

During the holiday season one of the best things we can give to the children in our lives is the gift of literacy.

Books and reading are a wonderful way for children to experience the lives of other children and the world around them.

There are several important factors to take into account when buying a book for a child.

Knowing the age of the child, their interests and reading abilities are all important to consider when selecting a book.

Board, plastic and cloth books are wonderful for children under the age of three. At this age, a child is exploring the world with their entire body including their mouth. These types of books are sturdy and can last through many readings.

Books with high contrast pictures that will capture a baby's attention are an excellent choice. Plastic and cloth books have the added benefit of being wonderful bath toys.

Books by Julie Aigner-Clark, Margaret Rey and Dr. Seuss are great choices for babies.

Between the ages of three and five, children are more aware of the world around them and are becoming independent. Books with few or no words and high quality pictures allow a child to become the storyteller.

Titles by Frank Asch, Mercer Mayer and Jane Moncure are all wonderful choices for children this age.

School age children between four and eight are well on the road to reading and have usually developed interests in certain topics. Research in reading has found that boys prefer non-fiction books while girls prefer fiction. Graphic novels are of great interest to both boys and girls.

As with any book you are selecting for a child it is important to look through any graphic novel to ensure it is age appropriate. Chris Van Allsburg, Robert Munsch and Barbara Park have authored wonderful books for children. Books for pre-teens or 'tweens are wonderfully diverse and enjoyable.

At this age, children have definite preferences. Simply ask friends or family members what books they like to read. Some favourite authors for this age group are J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snickett, Mary Pope Osborne and Christopher Paolini.

The children's staff at the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library is able to recommend books based on age, interest and reading level.

Another resource for locating great children's books is through the awards given to authors and illustrators of children's literature.

The Ontario Library Association sponsors the Forest of Reading awards, which recognizes books by Canadian authors and illustrators.

The best part is that Canadian children choose the winners; as a result these books are sure to delight all children.

The American Library Association sponsors both the John Newbery and Caldecott medals.

The names of these books can be found on the Internet or by asking the staff at the Children's desk in the library.

You can also take the opportunity to share the books you loved as a child this season.

And best of all books don't have to be assembled.

Roxanne Rissanen is the Children's Services Librarian at the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library. Contact her at (705) 759-5275 or r.rissanen@cityssm.on.ca

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PUBLICATION: The Fredericton Daily Gleaner
DATE: 2005.12.14
BYLINE: JOEL O'KANE jokane@dailygleaner.com

Literacy plan is unveiled

The provincial government unveiled plans to beef up adult literacy and education programs Tuesday, one month after literacy advocates called New Brunswick's consistently low literacy skill levels embarrassing.

Training and Employment Development Minister Margaret-Ann Blaney said the Lord government will spend $2.6 million annually to help raise adult literacy rates, an increase of $1 million over prior levels.

The Quality Learning Agenda plan also includes meagre pay raises for adult literacy instructors, measures to help people attain necessary workplace skills and improvements for libraries, including buying more books.

Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick president Lynda Homer said she's pleased the government is finally putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to adult literacy and education.

"I think that it takes time to actually put your money where your values are and to recognize what steps you have to take to make that difference," she said.

Over the next 10 years, the government hopes to increase participation in adult education by 25 per cent and bring adult literacy levels to the national average. By 2012, the government also hopes to see New Brunswickers exceed the national average for percentage of the population who are registered library users.

But not everyone's impressed. Liberal education critic and Fredericton-Fort Nashwaak MLA Kelly Lamrock said the plan should have been in place years ago and does not do anything specific to help people.

"There is not one new dollar of new money and not one specific action," he said.

According to a Training and Employment Development official, wages for adult literacy instructors are going up to $14.14 an hour, at least a dollar higher than before. But hours are also being cut from 40 to 35 a week, meaning many instructors will see little difference in each paycheque.

Homer said she knows of instructors making wages as low as $10 an hour.

Blaney defended the small raise as a first step toward building regular pay increases in the future.

"There's no question it has been a long time - many, many years really - since our literacy instructors have received pay increases," she said.

1 Comments:

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