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Dogs' new trick: Help kids read

News From California on Sal, Sal isn't a librarian or even a preschool buddy. He's a 2-year-old Labrador-golden retriever mix with a very important job.

The Orangevale Library and Orangevale Rotary Club have joined forces to bring local youngsters a nationwide program that aims to improve children's reading skills and confidence by using trained service dogs.

According to library officials, studies show that children who are afraid to read aloud to an adult will enjoy reading to a friendly, nonjudgmental animal. Intermountain Therapy Animals -- which launched the reading program five years ago in Salt Lake City -- found the act can relax children, boost their self-confidence and ultimately improve their reading scores.

Topic: Ready To Roll

Hidden amongst the seemingly endless barrage of SOBig virii this morning was an interesting email from that ResourceShelf Guy on the new .kids Domain.
Being billed as "an Internet domain that parents and children can trust for educational and appropriate online fun" Launches On September 4, 2003. You can read the Overview of Policies and Procedures, or Register A Name.
Interestingly they Say a company called cyveillance will be "monitoring and reviewing" content for the domains.


Write a Story, Go to Jail

Brian Robertson was charged with a felony count of planning to cause serious bodily harm or death thanks to the story he wrote, Evacuation Orders [PDF].
The story described preparations for an armed invasion of his school that included directions to unnamed fellow commandos to kill the senior class principal and then plant plastic explosives around the campus. After searching Robertson's car and his parents' home, authorities found no weapons, traces of explosive material or any other evidence that the teen was planning to attack his school.

But authorities said the story Robertson wrote was sufficient to charge him under an Oklahoma state statute, which was passed in the wake of school shootings across the country in the last few years.
The full story is at Wired. There's also more Here, and Here.


Children's books finally get to come of age

The Age says Children's books finally get to come of age.
This is the time of year when children's books are in the spotlight. No, not another Harry Potter book, it's the Children's Book Council of Australia awards and Book Week, which celebrates children's writing. But this year the industry is doing quite nicely even without this extra fillip.


The Myth of Generation N

Shifty pointed the way to an Interesting One from Technology Review.

The Myth of Generation N says that the notion of universal computer competence among young people is a myth. And the techno-laggards among us risk being relegated to second-class citizenship in a world that revolves around, and often assumes, access to information technology.

"As a society, we need to come to terms with the fact that a substantial number of people, young and old alike, will never go online. We need to figure out how we will avoid making life unbearable for them."


When did we start treating children like children?

Steve Fesenmaier spotted an interesting review of
When did we start treating children like children?.
It's a neat look at how kids have been treated over the years.

"People now say that “mind� and “brain� are two words for the same thing. That may be true also of continuity and sentimentalist theory—that they are just shifts in the angle of vision. Indeed, it may be true of theory and research."


E-mails and Net replace books for British children

Charles Davis writes: "This One Says, secondary school pupils in Britain spend less time reading than almost any others in the world, according to a study published yesterday.

However, they do well in international literacy tests for 15-year-olds because they spend more time browsing
through magazines, e-mails and websites - and enjoy it more than reading books.

An international study of test results for 43 different countries by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development revealed only four countries in the world had a lower percentage of girls reading for two hours
a day or more. The UK figure was 3.5 per cent.


Education Department pulls summer reading list

Jen Young writes "CNN Reports

The Education Department pulled its summer reading list from its Web site after learning the list misspelled and misidentified book titles and authors. Librarians also said the list was outdated.

The list included children's classics such as Beverly Cleary's "Ramona the Brave," Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" and George Orwell's "Animal Farm." But librarians say it recommends few titles from the last decade.



Home Schooling in Cyberspace

Jen Young spotted a look at Home Schooling From The NYTimes.
They say online education is only just beginning to spread to the lower grades. There are fewer than two dozen virtual elementary and middle schools nationwide, in Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Ohio and a few other states. Some are run by for-profit companies like K12, which has 7,000 students nationwide, or Sylvan Ventures, based in Baltimore, which teaches 400 students in kindergarten through eighth grade through its Connections Academy subsidiary. Others are operated by state education officials themselves.


Reading Childrens Minds

Lee Hadden writes "There is an interesting article in the Wall Street Journal of May 20, 2003:
"MRIs Take a Look At Reading Minds: Brain Scans Show Changes,
Shedding Light on Dyslexia." By ROBERT MCGOUGH.

In research that may shed light on what goes wrong in the brains of
children with reading disabilities, scientists traced changes in the brains
of normal children as they increasingly rely on logic and word decoding to
read and less on visualization.
The imaging study helps set a baseline for what happens in
the brain as children become proficient adult readers. The approach may
eventually help researchers monitor how effectively various
reading-intervention strategies work.
They say the research also helps link specific reading skills developed over time
with specific regions of the brain. Children who have trouble with these
skills are at risk of having reading problems.
Read more about it at: (subscription




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