Thursday, 29 May 2014

Children’s reading – recent news, articles, broadcasts and videos plus lots of links

Issy and FrankieTime for one of my periodic round-ups of recent news, articles, broadcasts and videos about children’s reading. (And a lovely excuse to use this delightful photo given to me by a recent course participant. Thank you Tracy!)

How lovely that there is now a monthly radio programme about children’s books. This is  the first episode of Down the Rabbit Hole, and here’s the list of books recommended on it, along with other information and links.

Chris Evans has made a passionate plea for parents to read to their children. He highlights all that is special and important about sharing books. If anyone is wondering about what to read aloud, have a look at William Sutcliffe’s tips.

I was very impressed and moved by a radio talk by Varjak Paw author S F Said on the power of fiction to bridge divides in society. He describes fiction as ‘the greatest empathy machine ever invented’ and readers as ‘citizens of the country of the mind.’ Very well worth a listen.

Michael Rosen spoke at the Hay Festival this week, lamenting the emphasis on phonics and grammar at the expense of reading for pleasure.

If you’re on the look out for promotion ideas, try YA author Marcus Alexander’s brilliant video on reasons young people should read. Great for sharing in schools and libraries. And check out these top tips for getting reluctant readers into reading from Darren Shan, another very popular author. Not new, but I really like these book clips from the BBC. Literacy Shed is packed with fantastic book-related videos and animations, and has teachers’ tips too.

I am a big fan of local children’s book awards. There’s compelling evidence of their power to enthuse in a new video about the Shrewsbury book award.

I suspect  the debate about whether it is better to read something than nothing will never go away. Read one author’s viewpoint, and the fascinating discussion from other posters that follows it. I agree with the very sadly now late Maya Angelou: ‘Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.’

Children often get stuck on one author. The Guardian has recommended books for Jacqueline Wilson lovers. For anyone who does not know it, Who Next is an excellent resource for helping children find new authors and books to enjoy.

I firmly believe children and young people must have freedom of choice over books. (Though of course individualised suggestions from librarians, teachers and others are enormously beneficial.) Here a teenager discusses whether parents should be able to dictate what their teenage children should read.

It’s wonderful that there are now so many appealing ways for children to get into reading. The Bookseller recently reported that one in five children read on a tablet. E-readers are less popular.

Finally, the excellent Playing by the Book blog usefully lists all the UK university courses available about children’s literature and book illustration.