Friday, February 15, 2008

The Wash Rag, Winter 2008 Edition

What a year it has been already! We can't wait to tell you about all of the things that are happening in the Reading Tub® You'll find all the same great stuff … just a little (dare we say it) splashier! To see the splashier web edition, click here.

CHAPTER ONE … General Tub Stuff

Welcome to all of our new subscribers and registered readers. We have just crossed the threshold of 1,000 people who at some point in the last 3½ years have sent us a book, asked us a question, or just registered!

Here in the Tub our bookshelves are bulging. In 2007, we received two books for every profile we posted. Even with publishing more than 235 profiles, we couldn’t seem to keep the number below 200 books waiting for review. Timely reviews are important, so we temporarily turned off the spigot to new clients in November 2007.

The good news is that we now have placed more than 150 books with reviewers. Some of those profiles are starting to come in. So as soon as we get the “pile” down to just 75 pending profiles, we will start accepting books from new authors and publishers again. I’m still hopeful that will happen by April 1. If you want to see where we are, just go to our Search page and check out the stats in the blue box.

We have renamed our One Letter at a Time Project. The purpose of the project is to place books with families that don’t have easy access to reading material. The goal is to have adults and children share the book together … hence the new name: Read it Together! Each donated book will be paired with a one-page guide that promotes reading in other ways.

The Soap Dish … Stuff We Are Bubbly About

Since we last published the Wash Rag (October 2007), we have more than tripled the number of family reviewers and schools participating in our Use Your ABCs program. Teachers and Library Media Specialists from around the country are getting kids engaged in reading and writing reviews. Here’s a sampling of what their doing …
  • Reviews prepared by Ninth Grade Advanced English students
  • Giving books to struggling Ninth Grade readers who read with first and second grade students.
  • Asking at-risk junior high students to read the books and write reviews … and let them keep the book!
  • Using a teacher’s read-aloud time to get a “class” review on a book.
  • Asking college students enrolled in library studies and early childhood education to select books to read with groups of kids.
If you are interested in learning more … or sharing an idea about how to get kids involved, please contact Terry.

More news ...

In 2007, the Reading Tub, Inc. donated books in excess of $3,700 in value to non-profits that work directly with children or who make books accessible to kids who wouldn’t otherwise have any reading material at home.

Thanks to an incredibly generous donation from Judson Press, the Reading Tub, Inc. has 288 new books for our Read it Together project.

CLICK HERE ... a new feature in the Wash Rag. These are sites that caught our attention as particularly valuable resources for getting kids excited about reading.

Jen Robinson’s Growing Bookworms newsletter is full of great stuff: book reviews, literacy tips, and articles. [Click link to preview.]

I.N.K. (Interesting Nonfiction for Kids) is a fascinating new blog that shows us how “real stuff” can be as captivating and powerful as fiction.

Bookmark Destined to Become a Classic if you are reading with or looking for books for middle grade readers (4th to 6th grade).

~ Author Showcase ~ Winter 2008 ~

The creativity of the human mind is incredible. Even as you read this, someone, somewhere is thinking up something incredible. I tend to focus on the stuff that helps our kids feel and become incredible. This quarter, we’d like you to meet four individuals who show us that ingenuity – when it comes to getting kids excited about reading – knows no bounds!

Frances Gilbert loves creating picture-book stories. She grew up in England during World War II, and has vivid memories of being entertained by stories while hiding in a bomb shelter! Frances’ stories can come from anywhere: an adventure with her grandchildren, or a what if question that pops in her head after reading about Peruvian history. Jump in the Tub to meet Frances Gilbert

For Amber Kingston five is an important number. She decided she wanted to be an author and illustrator in 5th grade, thanks to a writing project. A visit from her cousin Laura (then five years old) inspired Laura and the Leprechauns, a story she modeled after one of her favorite books … that she got when she was five years old! Jump in the Tub to meet Amber Kingston.

Patrick “Packy” Mader grew up in America’s Heartland. Packy’s books are inspired by his own life: growing up with six brothers and sisters on a dairy farm. His first book is the result of a promise he made to his daughter. He is committed to producing timeless stories with lessons that everyone can enjoy (even if you don’t know how to milk a cow)! Jump in the Tub to meet Patrick Mader.

Tara Rison loves books, and she loves kids. When she decided to open her own preschool, she wanted to build the curriculum around children’s literature. To her surprise she couldn’t find a program that combined classic children’s books with age-appropriate, activities. So she combined her training and experience in curriculum development, her love of kids, and passion for reading and created The Itty-Bitty Bookworm, a program for preschools and parents. Jump in the Tub to meet Tara Rison

The next edition of the Wash Rag will showcase these authors. Click on the links to see their books in the Tub.

Leona Bodie deRosa, author of One is Fun, a picture book for toddlers

Peter DeWitt, author, teacher, reluctant reader, and national speaker on literacy and reading. SeeToaster Pond and Isabella … and the Room of Lost Brooms

Marianne Richmond Award-winning picture book author, illustrator, artist, and creative services consultant See: I Love You So…>, Hooray for You, I Wished for You; an Adoption Story and You Are My Wish Come True

There is still one slot left for Summer 2008.

The Final Rinse

It’s hard to believe that 2008 we mark “only” our fourth year as a full-fledged non-profit! We continue to be excited about our growth and the opportunities to make a difference. It also means we need to do things differently, too. As we get more engaged in the overlapping worlds of literacy and children’s literature, we remain committed to offering fresh, useful content … and not clogging your in-box in the process.

So keep those cards and letters coming. We are always excited to hear about new books and broadcast ideas that get kids (and the adults in their lives) excited about reading.


  1. Thanks so much for linking to my newsletter, Terry! It's so nice to know a kindred spirit like yourself, who cares so much about getting children reading.

    I'm glad to see that The Reading Tub is doing so well, with books and reviewers and donations. I think that you're doing important work. Happy 2008!

  2. Hi Jen,

    You are most welcome. We get our energy from checking in with all of you in the kidlitosphere ... it's heartening to know that there are so many people passionate about helping kids read ... and so many authors writing stuff they will just LOVE!


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