Meg Medina Offers Office Hours as National Ambassador for Young People's Literature | News Bites

In a first for the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Meg Medina establishes office hours at the Library of Congress; AASL opens submissions for Innovative Reading Grant; there are big changes at Teachers College; the Mathical Book Prize submissions are open; and more in this edition of News Bites.

In a first for the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, Meg Medina is going to have office hours at the Library of Congress; AASL opens submissions for Innovative Reading Grant; there are big changes at Teachers College; the Mathical Book Prize seeks submissions; and more in this edition of News Bites.

Meg Medina sets office hours for families

As National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Meg Medina is making history as the first to hold office hours. The Newbery-winning author is launching Meet Meg Medina: Family Office Hours with the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, an opportunity for DC-area families to speak with her for 20 minutes at the Library of Congress.

In each session, children, teens, and family members can talk about their favorite books and ask questions about writing. Medina will share her favorite Library of Congress resources as well as book recommendations connected to a child's interests.

Office hours are open to groups of no more than six people that have at least one adult (age 19 or older) and one child (ages 7–18). Registrants with two or more children must be accompanied by two adults. 

Due to expected high demand, tickets are required and will be selected by lottery. Families can register for the lottery through noon Eastern on Thursday, Sept. 21. Selected guests will receive an e-mail on Friday, Sept. 22. Sessions begin Oct. 7.

This program will run quarterly. Future sessions will begin Jan. 23, 2024, April 20, 2024, and June 8, 2024. Registration dates for those later sessions will be announced in the future.

Applications open for Innovative Reading Grant

Applications are open for AASL’s Innovative Reading Grant, which is awarded to an applicant who presents a “unique and innovative” project or reading program designed for the school library that motivates and encourages reading for K–9 students, particularly for struggling readers. The proposals must show an ability to measure and evaluate the impact of the program on young readers. The grant awards up to $2,500. The deadline for applying is February 1. Applicants must be AASL members.

Changes at Teachers College Reading and Writing Project

Columbia University’s Teachers College announced a change in direction for its Reading and Writing Project. Lucy Caulkins, the program's founding director, remains a tenured professor but is on sabbatical at the institution. (The first press release and early reports said Teachers College Reading and Writing Project was “dissolved.” Columbia has corrected that to remove the legal term of dissolution and announced a “transition” instead.)

“The work of the Teachers College (TC) Reading and Writing Project (TCRWP) and its staff will transition to an Advancing Literacy unit within TC’s Continuing Professional Studies (CPS) division for the 2023-2024 year, a return to its original professional development roots. TC is working to align the work of TC staff with the needs of school districts and changes in reading curriculum locally and nationwide.

“For many years, TCRWP’s founding director Lucy Calkins led efforts to support teachers as they develop students as readers and writers. Dr. Calkins has stepped down as Director of the Reading and Writing Project. She is Robinson Professor in Children's Literature at Teachers College, a tenured faculty member in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, on sabbatical during the 2023-2024 academic year.”

According to the announcement, the new Advancing Literacy unit will offer a variety of curricular support for educators across the country.

“TC staff are poised and ready to support teachers and school districts using different curricula and approaches,” it said.

Submissions open for Mathical Book Prize

Submissions are open for the 2024 Mathical Book Prize Award, given to fiction and nonfiction titles for ages 2-18 that inspire a love of math. In honor of the award's 10th anniversary, publishers can submit an unlimited number of titles for all age groups.

The deadline for submissions is September 29. 

Follett Literacy Program offers virtual author visit

The annual “Write to Connect” from Follett Content Solutions will once again bring an author to a classroom for a virtual visit. In this fourth year of the program, the author is Ana Aranda (Our Day of the Dead Celebration). Teachers must enter their classrooms for the opportunity by Friday, Sept. 29.

Six classrooms will be randomly selected to participate. Each teacher will read the book to their students, who will send questions to the author. One of the six classrooms will be randomly chosen to participate in a conference call with the author. The other five schools will receive a personalized, prerecorded message.

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