Friday, September 10, 2004

Newbery Award

Newbery Award. This is a nice essay which has ideas on how to teach children in your school about Newbery Award winning books

From the site:

This is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. The award has been given annually since 1922. It is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

There are many ways that these books can be used in serving children in libraries and schools. Here are a few ideas:

1. Hold a Newbery Award party. Have the children read winning books by themselves and with each other. Have the teacher or librarian read a favorite winner or two. Decorate the library or classroom to fit a theme. Imagine a "Bridge to Terabithia " theme!

2. Have a Newbery Award alcove in your library or classroom. Have all the past winning books on the shelve. Explain to students, parents, and patrons why these books are important. Encourage that they be checked out and read.

3. Assign each student in a class or reading group one of the Newbery Award books. Make sure each child has a different book. Have them report back to the class or group about the book the student read at a latter date.

4. Have a costume day based on one of the Newbery Award books. Again, "Bridge to Terabithia " would be great for this theme. However, other books that have won the award would work good as well.

5. Others ideas? I am sure there are many ways the Newbery Award books can be used in serving children. These are great books! Show them to children and parents and help make sure that they get read.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Wikinfo | Children's literature

Wikinfo Children's literature: This is a good encyclopedia article which gives a decent overview on kiddie lit from Wikinfo.

From the site:

Children's literature is literature specially for children (not to be confused with literature about children, although there is a quite a large overlap between these two categories). The genre has a long history, although originally it was more for instruction than specifically for entertainment.

John Newbery's publication of A Little Pretty Pocket-Book in 1744 marks the beginning of pleasure reading marketed specifically to children. Previous to Newbery, literature for children was intended to instruct the young, though children adopted adult literature that they found diverting. Among the earliest examples found in English of this co-opted adult fiction are Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur and the Robin Hood tales.

In current publishing, the typical breakdown within the field is - pre-readers, early readers, chapter books, and young adults. Picture books, which cross all genres and age levels, feature art as an integral part of the overall work.

Many authors specialize in books for children, or have written books beloved by children. In some cases, books intended for adults, such as Swift's Gulliver's Travels have been edited (or bowdlerized) somewhat for children.

Picture books are very popular in the pre-reader and early reader market, as they are illustrated on every page.

The most noted awards for children's literature in the United States are awarded each year by the American Library Association (ALA): the Caldecott Medal is awarded to the illustrator of the picture book that the ALA deems "most distinguished"; while the Newbery Medal, nominally for the author of the most distinguished children's book in any genre, usually (but not always) goes to a chapter book. Runners-up are designated "Caldecott Honor Books" and "Newbery Honor Books".

Monday, September 06, 2004

Using Primary Sources in the Primary Grades

Using Primary Sources in the Primary Grades. As a librarian, I love to teach the kids about primary sources. Yes, they can use this stuff in elementary school!

From the site:

What do a stamped Christmas postcard dated 1910, a Confederate one hundred dollar bill, soda pop bottles from Egypt, ice tongs, a rug beater, and a woven prayer rug from the Middle East with a picture of the Kaaba at Mecca all have in common? These and many other artifacts can become primary sources, the very real "stuff" of the social studies that can so effectively engage the young learner in active learning. The use of primary sources in the classroom is a way for students to develop the intellectual curiosity that leads to further research and increased awareness of the world around them.


The definition of "primary sources" varies. Danzer and Newman (1996, 22) examine this conceptual problem by discussing several definitions recognized by historians. They tend to agree with Henry Johnson's expansive concept that "primary sources include all the traces left by the human past -- present ideals, present social customs and institutions, language, literature, material products of human industry, physical man himself, and the physical remains of men."

Johnson's broad definition of primary sources leads to great flexibility for classroom use, especially for beginning readers of the primary grades. The HISTORY-SOCIAL SCIENCE FRAMEWORK FOR CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, KINDERGARTEN THROUGH GRADE TWELVE (1997, 147) explains that "documents make up most, but not all, of the primary source materials used by historians." Historians may use documents but teachers of early grades will frequently use realia or "ephemera" (Danzer and Newman 1996, 24) of the material culture.