Spread the Love of Reading to Your Grade-Schooler with These Books (ages 6-8)

Ajla

Ajla Grozdanic, Manager, Marketing and Communications, U.S. Programs

Washington, D.C.

January 31, 2012


This is the third post in our "Love to Read" series which highlights fun and educational books that will help your child develop into an avid reader! Be sure to check back later in the week for recommendations for older children.

Reading_by_level_age_6-8Latest findings by the American Educational Research Association reveal that a student who can’t read at grade level by third grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than his reading-proficient peers. Practice makes perfect, so help keep your child’s reading skills on track through regular reading sessions. Here is a list of 10 recommended books you can enjoy together:

  • Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff
  • The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
  • Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
  • Dogzilla by Dav Pilkey
  • Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

Looking for other ways to spread the love? Get your limited-edition Valentine's Day cards and support Save the Children’s education programs in the United States. Learn more about our Love to Read, Read to Live campaign

Spread the Love of Reading to Your Preschooler with These Books

Ajla

Ajla Grozdanic, Manager, Marketing and Communications, U.S. Programs

Washington, D.C.

January 27, 2012


This is the second post in our "Love to Read" series which highlights fun and educational books that will help your child develop into an avid reader! Be sure to check back later in the week for recommendations for older children.

Did you know that less than half of children under 5 Reading_by_level_age_3-5are read to every day by a family member? Ensure your little ones get their daily dose of reading with these 10 expert-recommended book selections:  

  • Best Friends by Charlotte Labaronne
  • How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
  • Mine! Mine! Mine! by Shelly Becker
  • Sharing How Kindness Grows by Fran Shaw
  • Sunshine & Storm by Elisabeth Jones
  • I Accept You as You Are! by David Parker
  • The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen
  • I’m in Charge of Me! by David Parker
  • I Love it When You Smile by Sam McBratney
  • I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas

Looking for other ways to spread the love? Get your limited-edition Valentine's Day cards and support Save the Children’s education programs in the United States. Learn more about our Love to Read, Read to Live campaign. 

“It works!” says the NY Times

January 27, 2012

Westport, CT


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In Nepal, 8-year-old Himal now has a favorite book – discovered through Save the Children’s Literacy Boost. In Malawi, Literacy Boost helped 11-year-old Beatrice learn to read, although she is blind in one eye. Amazingly, she now volunteers as a reading mentor for fellow students.

A model learning initiative, Literacy Boost was featured in the New York Times on January 19, 2012, in an article entitled “A Boost for the World’s Poorest Schools.” 

With your invaluable support, this innovative program is making it easier for children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to master the reading skills so necessary for a successful future. In 2011, Literacy Boost reached nearly 66,000 children. This year, we hope to reach 59,000 more.

Designed for young readers in grades 1-4, Literacy Boost lets everyone – from parents to teachers, to community volunteers to older children like Beatrice – get involved. Learning materials are often made locally and are in sync with the local language and curriculum. Books are loaned out to encourage reading at home. Songs, games, reading camps and reading buddies make sure learning is not only educational, but fun!

Does it work? Absolutely! Assessments, a regular part of the program, show that students who participate in Literacy Boost make significantly more progress in reading than students who don’t participate. Even better, Literacy Boost participants attend school more often – and they do better in math as well as in reading!

We hope you’re as proud of these results – and of your part in making them possible – as we are! To read the New York Times article, click here.

Spread the Love of Reading to Your Toddler with These Books

Ajla

Ajla Grozdanic, Manager, Marketing and Communications, U.S. Programs

Washington, D.C.

January 25, 2012

This is the first post in our "Love to Read" series which highlights fun and educational books that will help your child develop into an avid reader! Be sure to check back later in the week for recommendations for older children.

Reading to your children can start soon after birth. The simple act of reading aloud as you flip through picture books with your infant or toddler is a shared activity that not only helps create a closer bond between you, but also boosts your child’s language and cognitive development. Get your newborn bundles of joy off to an early reading start with these 10 picks:

  • Mine! A Backpack Baby Story by Miriam Cohen
  • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
  • I Went Walking by Sue Williams 
  • Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
  • Sail Away by Donald Crews
  • Nuts to You! By Lois Ehlert 
  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
  • All Fall Down by Helen Oxenbury
  • Pots and Pans by Anne Rockwell
  • Jungle Walk by Nancy Tafuri

Looking for other ways to spread the love? Get your limited-edition Valentine's Day cards and support Save the Children’s education programs in the United States. Learn more about our Love to Read, Read to Live campaign. 

In a Haitian Tent Camp, Grit and Hope

Lane Hartill

Lane Hartill, Director of Media and Communications

Port-au-Prince, Haiti

January 11, 2012


What’s it like to be teenager in Haiti?

Well that depends.

If your parents have the means, you will go to a private school in Petionville, a hilltop neighborhood of Port-au-Prince where some of the best restaurants are found. Someone will drive you to school. Your uniform will be washed with laundry detergent regularly and, each day before school, it will be ironed.

Sounds pretty normal, right?

It’s not. In Haiti, this life is a pipe dream for most kids.

***

DARLINE_AND_MARCKENSELY_1_96509Go to the Gaston Margron camp in the Carrefour neighborhood, and you’ll find a family of teens, managing on their own. Marclene, a shy 20 year old, acts as the mom for her three younger siblings. She shares a hot tent with her sister, Darline, who recently had a baby, Marckensley (she named him after the Gospel of Mark in the Bible). The two sleep on a twin mattress with Marckensley between them. Their younger sister, Mouna, sleeps on a mat on the floor. Their clothes are slung over a cord that runs across the tent.

When I visited them, they had no money for laundry detergent, so they were rinsing their clothes in a big tub of water. It’s the same tub they bathe in; they don’t have money for body soap either, so they just rinse the sweat off.

Their biggest concerns are elemental: food, water, and sleeping. They rely on their brother, Ted, who sells plastic bags of water in the market. But they cost only a few pennies a piece. Ted has to sell hundreds to make a few dollars. He says he makes about a dollar a day. This is the money the five of them live on.

Life is tough. But Marclene tries not to let it get her down. She’s prays a lot—her Creole Bible is worn at the edges—and she tries to stay positive. Like young people everywhere, she scraped together enough money for a cell phone, but finding the money to pay to charge it is hard.

***

A lot of kids live like Marclene and her family. It’s not a pleasant life, but they’re getting by. One thing they don’t have to worry about: health care. Save the Children provides if for free in their tent camp. Our clinics in Haiti average 4,500 visits a month. And it’s all free.

A lot of people shake their head when they think of Haiti. But they shouldn’t. Haiti is still in better shape than a lot of countries. Think about it: It is next door to the U.S.; more than 1 million Haitian live in the U.S. and send remittances back to Haiti; foreign government pledged billions to Haiti and the first signs of private investment are slowly starting – a Marriott Hotel is slated to be built outside Port-au-Prince.

While the news out of Haiti is often grim, don’t give up on the country. 

Haitians certainly haven’t. And that should be a lesson to us all.

____________________

Learn more about our ongoing work to ensure a better future for Haitian children.

 

In 2011, Disasters Hit Kids Hard. Let’s Make it Better in 2012

As is almost always the case when large disasters strike, kids suffered disproportionately in 2011 in the face of earthquakes, tsunamis, floods and tornadoes. While the biggest disasters were the tsunami and earthquake in Japan and the resulting nuclear reactor crisis in March, and the Horn of Africa hunger crisis that got the world’s attention this summer, there were more than 20 emergencies in 2011 to which Save the Children and other relief and recovery agencies responded. And in all of them around the world, children bore the brunt of the suffering.

 

In Japan, where more than 15,000 thousand people died and close to 400,000 lost their homes, children and the elderly were hit hard, given the demographics of the northern coast. Many children lived for weeks in shelters and—though the response by the Japanese government was swift—the impact was painful for children who had lost all their possessions and sometimes family members and friends. Save the Children’s response focused on helping kids transition back to school and we continue to work with local organizations to make sure children’s needs are met, with a special focus on supporting child care for working families. Just like our work in the United States following Hurricane Katrina, we will also focus on making sure future emergency responses in Japan pay more attention to the specific needs of children, working with local government officials as well as community organizations.

 

A very different emergency unfolded over the summer across the Horn of Africa, where the worst drought in 60 years hit Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. I visited Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world in August, when 1,200 people per day—more than half of them children—were streaming into the camp in search of food, water, and safety. I met a few children who had traveled days on their own or with strangers. Some parents sent their children with relatives or alone to make the dangerous crossing from Somalia to Kenya . As a mom of three children, I can’t imagine anything worse than having to turn your children away to save their lives, or to decide to leave a dying child behind to save another. No parent should have to make that choice.

 

Save the Children has reached more than 2.1 million people with help in these three African countries in 2011, and the response is not over yet. While the rains have started in some of the hardest-hit regions in the Horn, the malnutrition rates for children continue to be horrendously high. We will continue to provide relief to tens of thousands of families throughout 2012.

 

Right here in the United States, a series of deadly tornadoes of historic proportion hit Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri in late spring and early summer. Save the Children helped serve children in shelters, working with the Red Cross and other partners to ensure that children who had lost everything had some measure of comfort and a safe place to stay. And we continue to support hardest-hit Alabama with emotional recovery programs for children and caregivers. The work we did following Katrina is paying off, with much more attention to kids’ needs before, during and after these disasters– more than we had ever seen. While it takes years for these new ways of working to be part of disaster response systems inside states, we could see they were making a real difference for real kids. Yet only 17 states meet all four of our basic preparedness and safety standards to protect kids in schools and child care facilities during a disaster. There is still more to do. 

 

And that’s one of our biggest continuing challenges in our emergency work – to respond to emergencies while at the same time trying to prepare for or mitigate the underlying factors that cause them. For almost a decade we have been working in Ethiopia to help pastoralists (people who make a living from their sheep, goats, cattle, and camels and move with their animals from place to place) to withstand periodic droughts and better predict when longer droughts are coming. Our efforts on food security and coping mechanisms helped Ethiopians help themselves through the Horn of Africa drought with the proper knowledge and tools. This advanced planning helped tens of thousands of Ethiopians escape hunger and death during the recent crisis.

 

It is widely believed that many more would have died in Japan without the warning system and rapid response mechanisms the Japanese government has developed over decades. It is hard and often unrecognized work, but it is the key to saving millions of lives when disasters strike. And it is work that Save the Children will be spending more and more time and effort on as the number of disasters seems to climb each year.

 

With the help of our many supporters throughout the world, we raised almost $150 million for emergency work in 2011 and saved and improved millions of lives. No one can predict the future, and I don’t know what 2012 has in store for me or for the children of the world. But I do know that we will work to prepare families to face the challenges ahead, to safeguard the wellbeing of children in crisis and to make 2012—and every year following—a better time to be a child.

Some wins for kids but so much more to do……

As I reflect back on 2011, the changes in the world and the world for children were vast, both here in the United States and around the world.

 

Here in the US, more children are living in poverty as we begin 2012 than in the last 20 years, both as a percentage of our kids and as a total number. Across the US,