They are called “man’s best friend” but today,
I learned that dogs could be a young reader’s
best friend as well.
I just came across the website for a non-profit literacy program called Reading Education Assistance Dogs® or R.E.A.D. ®, a program of Intermountain Therapy Animals of Salt Lake City, Utah. Launched in 1999, the R.E.A.D. program is the first comprehensive literacy program “built around the appealing idea of reading to dogs,” providing children with “emotionally safe environments to develop their reading skills.”
The program uses registered therapy dogs of all sizes that have been trained and tested for health, safety, skills and temperament. The dogs “volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.”
As I watched the recent dedication ceremony for a beautiful new reading garden at my daughter’s elementary school, a thought hit me:
When it comes to reading, it is not only about what we read and why we read, but where we read.
The school already has reading places, of course (classrooms, the library). Yet when the campus beautification committee met, the idea of turning an unused area of dirt and weeds into a garden soon morphed into a plan for a reading garden.Why not further motivate young readers by creating an inviting place to read outside, with fresh air, trees and comfortable places to sit? And how about an inspirational mural, too? (In this case, bears reading books outside, with flowers and butterflies made from students’ and teachers’ finger and hand prints).
Sometimes you hear a short turn-of-phrase that makes you nod and smile because it says so much in just a few words.
I had that response when I heard the phrase: “books aren’t broken.”
It turns out the phrase is “somewhat of a rallying cry” for Fang Chang, Michael Fitzpatrick and Nigel Pegg, co-founders of Bookboard, Inc., which as most of our readers know, provides a service offering a subscription-based children’s e-book app for the iPad.
“Books are already intrinsically good,” Nigel explained. “That aspect doesn’t need to be made better. We don’t think the existing art form needs to disappear. We want to make it easier to read more, with greater variety and more quality.”
Just in time for Mother’s Day, we’ve got another new set of features for you this weekend.
Manage Your Kids’ Libraries
Code-named “Mommy mode”, this will allow parents (yes, Dads too!) to :
- Unlock new books as a reward for your kids.
- Put away books that you or your kids don’t want to read.
- Give your favorite books to friends and family.
“School librarians help children develop a love of reading and teach them to become critical thinkers. In other words, they are essential to building a child’s greatest asset – their mind.”
— Kareem Abdul Jabar, 2013 Official Spokesperson for School Library Month
In 1985, the American Association of School Librarians designated School Library Month as a time to honor the critical work of school libraries in building stronger communities, supporting students’ educational journeys and empowering tomorrow’s community leaders.
Bookboard kids get to “star” their favorite reads and return to enjoy them, again and again. For my daughter Hope, author/illustrator Chris Tougas’ Mechanimals (Orca Book Publishers) earned a star rating early on.
“It’s the funny one with the farm animal robots!” she reminds me.
“Ah, yes, that one!” I smile and nod, happy to read it again. Both kids and parents should be entertained by the clever text and illustrations of this barnyard-meets-industrial-age flight-of-fancy tale.
You know what’s great about Bookboard being a subscription service? We can keep bringing you more great stories and features over time.
More Great Stories to Unlock
And this week is no exception – Bookboard’s librarian, Cen, has been curating a new set of 20 unlockable books for your kids. Just for logging back in to Bookboard, we’ll unlock 3 books to get your kids on their way. From there, the more you read, the more you’ll unlock similar books.
So, what kinds of books are new this week? The mix includes some classics for you to unlock:
If you’re reading this, you haven’t yet joined the celebration of “Screen Free Week.” So please, finish reading this, and then think seriously about joining this very appealing, admirable, and surely healthy celebration of the “unplugged life.”
A bit of context first. Since 2010, the Screen-Free Week organization (www.screenfreeweek.org) has promoted “Screen-Free Week” as:
“A time in which parents, children, teachers and others across the country turn off screen media (TV, video games, computers, cell phones, etc.) and celebrate the magic of being unplugged.”
As always, we’re working away in the Bookboard labs, adding more features to the service and perfecting the ones we have. Here’s what’s new this week :
More Unlock Animations
Unlocking a book is a delightful, surprising experience, and our research has shown that it motivates kids to read more. How can we make it even better?
“I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library.”
–Jorge Luis Borges (writer, poet, librarian)
April 14th – 20th is National Library Week and this year’s theme is “communities matter.” The American Library Association (ALA) reminds us that libraries help support:
- Local economies (providing jobs and job development resources)
- Literacy and lifelong learning (often in partnership with families and schools)
- Community development goals (providing an open place for all to share ideas, socialize and learn together)
As Caroline Kennedy, Honorary Chair of National Library Week explains, libraries are places where you can “get help with your homework, use a computer, see friends, learn new skills, and find out what’s going on in the world.”