Articles tagged "literacy"

Do enhanced eBooks promote children’s literacy?

Mixing a children’s book with something like a videogame seems like a no-brainer for promoting reading skills, right? Apparently not.

A new study finds that enhanced eBooks for children don’t raise literacy levels. The study, which followed 32 pairs of parents working with young children, found that the young readers were distracted by the many different interactive parts of the enhanced story, and quickly forgot certain key parts of the narrative. The young readers were given an eBook, a physical copy, and an enhanced eBook version of the same story. After reading them all, the comprehension just didn’t add up.

The authors of the study commented, “The enhanced eBook was less effective than the print and basic ebook in supporting the benefits of co-reading because it prompted more non-content related interactions. When adults prompt children with questions pertaining to the text, label objects, and encourage them to discuss the book’s content in terms of their own experiences and curiosities, this elicits increased verbalization by the child and can lead to improved vocabulary and overall language development.”

Literacy Month: Know the Facts, Make an Impact

As writers, the very ability to read is something we take for granted. But the truth of the matter is that 32 million adults in the United States have low literacy skills. That means one in seven Americans would have a difficult time finishing even a page of a book. To us, people who spend our days writing and reading, it seems unfathomable that illiteracy is still a problem in the United States. But it is.

The Facts:

When parents don’t read to their kids, it can lower their average reading score by 74%. (source)

Only 31 percent of college graduates have high level literacy skills. (source)

Only 24% of 17 year olds ever read for fun. (source)


“Butterfly in the sky…”

LeVar Burton, doing what he loves.

So, last night I found the picture below on the often hilarious shirt.woot.com. I was suddenly flooded with memories of my favorite show as a kid: Reading Rainbow. Sadly, I realized that, before last night, I honestly couldn’t remember the last time I even thought about this program. Then it dawned on me…the entire reason I like books, love writing, and work at a self-publishing company isn’t because of all the Hemingways, Faulkners, and Emersons – it is because of one man: LeVar Burton.

With his warm, friendly charm, Burton captured childrens’ imaginations each week with fun stories, guest celebrity appearances, and a genuine enthusiasm to inspire kids to read. Without this show, I wouldn’t have discovered greats like Goodnight Moon, Miss Nelson is Missing,The Very Hungry Caterpillar, or Where the Wild Things Are. Even more remarkable is Burton’s 20+ year struggle with dyslexia, which he overcame before auditioning for Reading Rainbow.

It took a silly cartoon to remind me, but Burton really is a true inspiration. He diligently piloted the show Reading Rainbow, helping it win a Peabody Award and 26 Emmy Awards. The man is almost single-handedly responsible for helping four generations of kids not only learn to read, but find the fun in it. My favorite episode was when he went to a hat store. Each hat would magically transport him into the pages of a story. I remember endlessly begging my mother to take me to that shop for the better part of my youth.  I think I speak for several hundred-thousand kids when I say:  Thank you Mr. Burton. Thank you for teaching us that yes, “we can do anything.”

Wonderfully enough, Reading Rainbow will be coming back on an iPad® near you soon. According to Fast Company, Burton plans on revitalizing the show as a multimedia app with games, voiceovers, and over 300 books at launch. “But, you don’t have to take my word for it…”


What’s your favorite Reading Rainbow memory? Did it impact you as much as it did so many other young readers? Feel free to share in the comments below. Also be sure to learn about Lulu’s own literacy program:  Lulu for Literacy.

Banned Books Week

Celebrate Your Freedom to Read!

Every year hundreds of books are threatened with removal from schools and libraries across the country. Since 1990, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom has recorded more than 11,000 book challenges, including 460 in 2009.

Even though most of these challenges are made with the best of intentions (protecting people or children from difficult ideas), banning books prevents the freedom to choose and express opinions. Challenged books range from Mother Goose stories and the Harry Potter series to classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

The ALA’s annual Banned Books Week is going on this Sept. 25 – Oct. 2. Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. Since its inception in 1982, Banned Books Week has served as a reminder that while not every book is intended for every reader, each of us has the right to decide for ourselves what to read, listen to or view.