March 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

News Bites: Free Video Series from NBC Learn: “Writers Speak to Kids”

Free Video Series from NBC Learn: “Writers Speak to Kids”                    

Author interviews:Writers Speak to Kids” is a free series of 17 videos from NBC Learn that features interviews with popular and award-winning children’s books creators. The authors, responding to questions posed by NBC News correspondent Jenna Bush Hager, talk about their writing process and experiences. The series launched on September 17, with interviews of Peter Brown, Doreen Cronin, Jeff Kinney, Daniel Kirk, and Mo Willems. Gordon Korman, Ridley Pearson, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Philip Stead, Rebecca Stead, Clare Vanderpool, and Jacqueline Woodson are among the other authors that will be interviewed during the fall. The program is intended to inspire students and help them learn about creative writing techniques.

Mora Award Winner

Día celebration: The Lynden Public Library of the Whatcom County Library System in Washington has won the 2012 Estela and Raúl Mora Award for exemplary efforts promoting El día de los niños, El día de los libros (Children’s Day, Book Day). More than 250 people attended the festivities, and each child was given a book. The event featured craft activities led by bilingual teen volunteers, and had several storytimes that ended with a game of lotería (Mexican bingo) with books given as prizes. There was also a disc jockey, a piñata, and other games. The Lynden Public Library will receive $1,000 and a special plaque. “What resonated with the committee was the grassroots involvement of Lynden’s Día,” said Beatriz Pascual Wallace, Mora Award chair. “There was a strong sense of community connection with this event, of everyone coming together to plan, celebrate, and share.”

For the first time, three honor awards were given: the District of Columbia Public Library, King County (WA) Library System, and Sacramento (CA) Public Library each received $300. The award, presented annually in partnership with REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish speaking, was established in 2000 by author/poet Pat Mora and her siblings to honor their parents. The award will be presented during the American Library Association’s (ALA) Midwinter meeting in January 2013 in Seattle.

Common Core

Free writing rubrics: Turnitin, in partnership with the English Professional Learning Council, has made writing rubrics developed to align with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) available free to educators. The rubrics for argumentative, narrative, and informative essay assignments for 9th and 10th graders and 11th and 12th graders help instructors explain to students what is expected of them, assess student work, and track their progress. You can also watch a free video on the Common Core writing rubrics.

Early Learning

Digital content: Capstone’s myOn reader has expanded its collection of early childhood reading content with the inclusion of hundreds of enhanced digital titles from eight additional publishers: Bellwether, August House, Little Folk, August House Story Cove, Orca, Rourke, Speakaboos, and Sylvan Dell.

Launched in 2011, myOn reader is a personalized literacy program that offers access to an integrated library of digital books with reading supports, customized to a student’s interest and reading abilities. Teachers can monitor, track, and measure student reading growth. To date, myOn reader offers more than 2,500 books. These titles include reading supports such as an embedded dictionary, highlighting, and audio. “Reading proficiency is the foundational aspect of learning, so building students’ literacy skills early is critical to putting them on the path to success throughout school and beyond,” said Todd Brekhus, president of Capstone Digital. “The expanded collection of early childhood content available on myON reader combines a student’s love of technology with their innate curiosity and interest in learning.”

A Booklist for Teens

Best books: Sixteen school and public libraries have been selected by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), as official book groups for their Teens’ Top Ten, a booklist created by and for teens. Groups of young adults from these libraries nominate titles published during the 2013-2014 calendar year to create the Teens’ Top Ten nominations. Then, it’s up to teens across the country to vote for their three favorites. When the ballots are tallied, the Top Ten list is created. And that’s not the only job for these teen book groups. They also evaluate books for more than 30 publishers. New groups are chosen every two years.

The libraries that have been selected are: BHS Book Club, Barrington (IL) High School; Book Hook, Cecil County Public Library, Elkton, MD; Bookhype, Perry Branch Library/Perry High School, Gilbert, AZ; Bookmarked, Patrick F. Taylor Science & Technology Academy, Jefferson, LA; CCHS YA Galley Group, Concord-Carlisle (MA) Regional High School; Greene Teens Review Board, Springfield-Greene (MO) County Library; HCRHS Bookworms, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, NJ; Interesting Reader Society, Poudre River Public Library District, Fort Collins, CO; McReaders, Oakridge Middle School, Clover, SC; Mount Carmel Academy Book Club, Mount Carmel Academy, New Orleans, LA; PPL Teen Book Club, Prescott (AZ) Public Library; Read, Read, and Read Some More, Milton (VT) Middle School and High School; The TABbler, La Vista (NE) Public Library; Teen Book Posse, TAB, and Q Club, Kitsap Regional Library, WA; Teens Know Best, Metropolitan State University and St. Paul (MN) Public Library; Young Adult Advisory Councils, Johnson County Library, Shawnee Mission, KS.


Literacy skills: Want to help teens in grades 10–12 learn news literacy skills like distinguishing between fact, and opinion and between propaganda and news? Public libraries and library consortia can apply for more than $50,000 in grant money from the News Know-how initiative. Funded by the Open Society Foundations and administered by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF), students get training and support from librarians, journalists, and news ethicists.

Participating libraries select 12–15 diverse students from the 10–12 grades from their community. The students must attend about 25 hours of training during the summer 2013 and complete a team project that requires about 25 hours of outside work. All students who complete the project receive a stipend. Make sure to apply by December 8.

Book donations: Three Coretta Scott King Book Donation Grants are available for underfunded libraries, schools, and non-traditional organizations that provide educational services to children. Recipients of the grants will receive more than 100 titles submitted for consideration for the 2013 Coretta Scott King Book Awards as well as all the winning books. You have until January 31 to apply for the grant (make sure you click on Book Donation Grant after you log on). Winners will be notified in February.

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are presented each year by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the American Library Association’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) “to encourage the artistic expression of the African-American experience via literature and the graphic arts.”

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Phyllis Levy Mandell About Phyllis Levy Mandell

Phyllis Mandell was Managing Editor/Multimedia Review Editor for SLJ.