Links and Recommended Resources

Organizations & Programs

There are hundreds of local, national and international organizations that promote literacy and provide programs to support reading, writing and the role of books in children’s lives. The following is a selection of some of the most prominent. A comprehensive list can be found at the Library of Congress’s “Center for the Book” site: www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook/partners.html

  • American Library Association (ALA) – The oldest and largest library association in the world, with a mission to promote the highest quality library and information services and public access to information. ALA offers professional services and publications to members and nonmembers, including many industry and consumer magazines on the topics of reading, library services and publishing (see the “Magazines, Journals and Other Publications” section). It also provides distinguished annual awards to authors and illustrators (see “Book Awards” section) as well as important annual lists such as Notable Children’s Books, Best Books for Young Adults, Notable Children’s Recordings and Selected Audiobooks for Young Adults. ALA also provides tools for literacy and advocacy, reference sources, and much more. www.ala.org
  • Booksense – The independent bookseller’s network; a local and national effort to shine a light on the knowledge and diversity of independent bookstores, via the Booksense Bestseller List and Book Sense Picks, an eclectic monthly selection of new books chosen by independent booksellers. www.booksense.com/readup/awards/index.jsp
  • Bank Street Books – New York’s best bookstore for and about children, affiliated with the Bank Street College of Education, whose Children’s Book Committee produces the annual publication The Best Children’s Books of the Year, and offers several awards for excellence in children’s literature. www.bankstreetbooks.com
  • The Center for the Book, Library of Congress – A partnership between government and the private sector, dedicated to using the resources and prestige of the Library of Congress to stimulate public interest in books and reading, to support literacy and library promotion and to encourage the historical study of books, reading, and the printed word. The center’s website is a unique resource directory with links to more than 250 organizations that promote books, reading, literacy, and libraries, as well as information about forthcoming events, a list of the center’s publications, and other projects – including Letters About Literature, River of Words, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, the National Book Festival, One Book community reading projects (including Big Read) – and literary events taking place across the country. www.loc.gov/loc/cfbook
  • The Children’s Book Council (CBC) – the nonprofit trade association of publishers and packagers of books and related materials for children and young adults. The goals of the CBC are:
  • To make the reading and enjoyment of children’s books an essential part of America’s educational and social goals
  • To enhance public perception of the importance of reading by disseminating information about books and related materials for young people and information about children’s book publishing, and
  • To create materials to support literacy and reading encouragement programs (such as newsletters, magazines, and reading lists) and to encourage the annual observance of National Children’s Book Week and Young People’s Poetry Week. www.cbcbooks.org
  • Family Reading Partnership – A non-profit coalition of individuals, businesses, schools, libraries and other organizations who join forces to “create a culture of literacy” by promoting family reading practices and creating programs that provide books and encouragement for families to make reading aloud to their children a part of everyday life. www.familyreading.org
  • First Book – A non-profit organization that gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. www.firstbook.org
  • International Reading Association (IRA) – The non-profit, international membership organization for literacy professionals and reading teachers, providing advocacy, global outreach, awards and grants, conferences, and numerous publications, including peer-reviewed journals and the bi-monthly newspaper “Reading Today.” www.reading.org
  • JumpStart – A program to build literacy, language, social, and initiative skills in young children by pairing motivated college students with preschoolers in caring and supportive one-to-one relationships for an entire school year. www.jstart.org
  • National Book Foundation – Home of the National Book Awards and multiple programs celebrating the best of American literature. www.nationalbook.org
  • The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance – A not-for-profit organization founded by award-winning young people’s authors and illustrators with the goal of keeping young people’s literacy, literature and libraries an ongoing priority on the national agenda. www.thencbla.org
  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) – Advancing teaching, research, and student achievement in English language arts at all scholastic levels, and offering a range of special programs to reach out to underserved communities, celebrate multicultural literature, advance knowledge about critical education issues, better prepare teachers for success in the classroom, and safeguard intellectual freedom. www.ncte.org
  • National Institute for Literacy – A federal agency providing leadership on literacy issues. Working in consultation with the U.S. Departments of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services, the Institute serves as a national resource on current, comprehensive literacy research, practice, and policy. Programs include the National Early Literacy Panel, the Commission on Reading Research, and evaluation of reading assessment programs, as well as providing ongoing national statistics on the state of reading in America. www.nifl.gov
  • Reach Out and Read – A non-profit organization that provides new books for children and offers advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud via pediatricians’ offices and exam rooms across the nation. www.reachoutandread.org
  • Reading is Fundamental (RIF) – The oldest and largest children’s and family nonprofit literacy organization in the United States, dedicated to preparing and motivating children to read by delivering free books and literacy resources to those children and families who need them most. Among other programs, RIF sponsors community volunteers in every state and provides 4.5 million children a year with 16 million new, free books through their Books for Ownership program, helps parents develop the skills to take a leading role in supporting their children’s reading and learning through their Family of Readers and Shared Beginnings programs, and promotes reading at the first grade level with the Running Start challenge. www.rif.org
  • Reading Rockets – A national multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help. The Reading Rockets project is comprised of PBS television programs, online services and resources providing news headlines, research-based articles, tips for parents and educators, video interviews with top children’s book authors, a monthly e-newsletter, blogs by leading industry specialists, national and local resources and an online store, as well as teleconferences and free webcasts for teacher professional development. www.readingrockets.org
  • Target – The Target Corporation is an extraordinary example and resource when it comes to literacy advocacy. As part of their education-based community outreach, Target sponsors a host of reading-related events, programs and activities, including:

Book Festivals – Free festivals around the country, which include author and illustrator appearances, costumed characters from kids’ favorite books and storytelling stages for the whole family.
Family Reading Night – Target-sponsored events held at local schools, featuring guest readers, educational and fun activities and book swaps. Get a free planning kit at www.schoolfamilynights.com
Letters about Literature – A national reading-writing contest for grades 4-12, held in partnership with The Center for the Book at the Library of Congress, in which readers write a personal letter to an author, living or dead, from any genre explaining how that author’s work changed the student’s thinking. (www.loc.gov/letters)
Ready. Sit. Read! – Providing resources, tips and activities to support reading.

Target also maintains partnerships with:

Reach Out and Read – A national non-profit organization that promotes early literacy by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud in pediatric exam rooms across the nation. (www.reachoutandread.org)

United Through Reading – A national organization dedicating to uniting families facing physical separation (especially military families) by facilitating the bonding experience of reading aloud together. (www.unitedthroughreading.org)

Visit www.target.com and click on “Community” to learn more

  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – UNESCO’s literacy portal is dedicated to keeping literacy high on national, regional and international agendas www.unesco.org/education/literacy.

Websites, Blogs & Other Web Resources

  • www.thebestkidsbooksite.com – “An Interactive Media Channel where Books, Crafts, Podcasts, Online Video and Web Resources Intersect.”
  • Between The Lions – The website of PBS’s “Between the Lions” TV show, celebrating libraries and literacy. A wealth of resources – activities, quick tips, recommended books and curriculum materials – for parents and educators. http://pbskids.org/lions/
  • Bookhooks – “The world’s best book reporting site,” featuring illustrated book reports posted by kids. www.bookhooks.com
  • The Children’s Literature Web Guide – Links to the growing number of Internet resources related to books for Children and Young Adults. www.ucalgary.ca/~dkBrown/index.html
  • Cynsations – The blog of Cynthia Leitich Smith, YA author and faculty member at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Features interviews, reading recommendations, publishing information, literacy advocacy, writer resources, and news in children’s and young adult literature. http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com
  • A Fuse#8 Production – The blog of Elizabeth (Betsy) Bird, a children’s librarian with the New York Public Library, featuring reviews of new children’s books and links to what’s happening in the field. www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/1790000379.html
  • www.guysread.com – Author/illustrator and 2008 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Jon Scieszka’s website, motivating boys to read by connecting them with materials they will want to read, in ways they like to read.
  • International Children’s Digital Library – Offers a wide spectrum of children’s books, available for free in more than 44 languages. Students are invited to share reviews of the books they have read. www.icdlbooks.org
  • www.judyreadsbooks.com – The website of Judy Freeman, children’s literature specialist and author of “Books Kids Will Sit Still For.”
  • Literacy Connections – Promoting literacy and a love of reading by providing a wealth of information on, articles about, and links to reading and teaching techniques as well as literacy resources and programs. http://literacyconnections.com/
  • Lookybook – Allows you to look at picture books in their entirety-from cover to cover, at your own pace, before you buy. www.lookybook.com
  • Planet Esme – The website of author and “certified readiologist” Esme Raji Codell. Also check out her blog, which features “The PlanetEsme Book-A-Day Plan: The Best New Children’s Books from Esme’s Shelf.” www.planetesme.com and http://planetesme.blogspot.com
  • Read Kiddo Read – James Patterson’s new website recommending great books for kids. www.readkiddoread.com
  • Reading Rockets’ “Blogs About Reading” – Weekly insight into the best practices in reading instruction and using books effectively from leading specialists in the field. www.readingrockets.org/blogs/
  • www.ReadWriteThink.org – A partnership between the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Verizon Foundation, providing web resources, online fun and learning beyond the classroom.
  • Starfall – A free online program containing a series of animated interactive storybooks at beginning, intermediate, and advanced reading levels. Emergent and early reader books highlight individual letters, vowel sounds, and letter combinations. If a reader does not recognize a word in the text, he or she can place the cursor on it and receive visual and voice assistance. As the reading level increases, so do the reading choices, including a variety of myths, fables, plays, fiction, and nonfiction texts. www.starfall.com
  • Tumblebooks – An online library of animated, talking picture books, read-along titles and streaming audio books. www.Tumblebooks.com