The power of friendship, adventure and reading could soon be coming to a city near you!
The popular Emmy-nominated preschool TV series Super WHY! recently announced dates for an upcoming live tour “Super WHY Live: You’ve Got the Power!” Written by the show’s creator Angela Santomero (also the creator of Blue’s Clues), the show features music produced by guitarist Jack Antonoff, of the Grammy Award-winning band fun. Kids (and parents too!) will love dancing and singing along with the cast of superhero characters plucked from the pages of classic storybook favorites, as they heroically take on challenges in the name of literature.
The tour kicks off April 2nd in Seattle, and will travel to 27 cities around the country in April and May.
Back in April, I blogged about the deliciously funny and clever “Book People Unite” video from Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). The video showcased various literary characters (Pinocchio, Curious George, Humpty Dumpty) along with media and music celebrities (Jack Black, Regina Spektor, LeVar Burton).
Reading Is Fundamental sent me the follow-up video below, an equally fun behind-the-scenes look at the making of the original. Several cast members are interviewed, including Raggedy Andrew and a very funny Big Bad Wolf, and there are snapshots of how the magical elements came together.
Recently, I spent two days with a special out-of-town guest, taking her sightseeing around New York City. We navigated Manhattan with ease, taking on diverse areas such as Gramercy Park, Flatiron District, Midtown East, Times Square, and the Upper East Side. My guest, part of the Flat Stanley Project, never made a fuss or complained — being made of markers and laminated paper.
For parents who are unfamiliar with The Flat Stanley Project, it was started in 1995 by Dale Hubert, a teacher in Ontario, Canada, and was inspired by the Flat Stanley children’s books series by Jeff Brown. The project involves children making paper cutouts of themselves (their personalized versions of Flat Stanley) and then mailing them to friends and family around the world. The goal is to encourage literacy as kids write about Stanley’s adventures through his visits, and to promote pen pal exchanges. Over 6,000 schools in 88 countries have participated in the project, and even famous folks such as President Obama and actor Clint Eastwood have been photographed with a Flat Stanley.
My friend’s young daughter sent me her Flat Stanley (from Georgia!) and my inner host and shutterbug went all-out visiting Big Apple landmarks (Empire State Building, Times Square, Rockefeller Center), historical sites (Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace, Fifth Avenue Public Library), and some children’s paradises (Toys “R” Us, FAO Schwartz, American Girl Place). It was really fun soaking up familiar sights I wouldn’t normally visit as a New Yorker, and I’m ready for my next Flat Stanley visitor.
Parents, learn more about how to get your school involved in this global literacy project at FlatStanley.com, and make sure to download the (free) Flat Stanley app from iTunes.
Befriending a guard outside FAO Schwartz
Resting at the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park
Just because your kids are out of school for the summer doesn’t mean they can’t keep learning! If you’re starting to feel like lazy summer days are frying their brains, check out Wonderopolis.org.
It’s an awesome new website that makes learning fun for kids—and sparks creativity for the whole family. Wonderopolis, started by the National Center for Family Literacy last October, helps parents and teachers make kids’ worlds a little brighter through the power of discovery, creativity, learning and imagination. Every day Wonderopolis posts a new “wonder”, or a curious question meant to make learning fun and practical. Each Wonder of the Day covers a clever topic that parents and kids can put to use together with activities, vocabulary words and videos.
Through the Wonders of the Day, kids learn why flamingos are pink, what makes Jell-O jiggle and how fish can breathe underwater, and along the way they learn to think critically and use their imaginations. Your child can even use the site to learn about world news and events, too, with wonders such as “Where is Tornado Alley?” and “What are the ‘Ides of March?’”
This summer Wonderopolis is launching Camp What a Wonder, a free virtual camp that engages families in imaginative learning while school’s out of session. Check out the site every Thursday from June 23 to August 11 and you and your child can explore and discover tons of “wonders” about nature.
Next time you have a free hour with your kids, be sure to check it out! You can connect with Wonderopolis on Facebook or Twitter, too.
Startling statistics from LitWorld.org states that almost 1 billion people around the world today still can’t read or write, and that 171 million children could overcome poverty if they learned to write and read in school.
To share how power of words to change the world, LitWorld is making today World Read Aloud Day. World Read Aloud Day “motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.”
Since last year, LitWorld has advocated for reading and writing in over 35 countries through 40,000 people who partcipated in sharing the word. This year, LitWorld invites you to continue sharing the importance of literacy in several ways: reading with your kids and family, joining a reading event at your local library or in your community, or stopping by Times Square in New York City for a 24-hour Read Aloud Marathon.