Literacy

Retired from Maytag, He Learned to Read at 61

It's never too late.

This article from the Southern Illinoisian tells the inspiring story of Jerry Mezo who learned to read at age 61.

Mezo was one of ten honored in Springfield a Spotlight on Achievement award from Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White and David Bennett, executive director of the Illinois Press Association.

The door to literacy opened late for Herrin resident Mezo; crossing that threshold, the impossible suddenly became so very possible. "When you can't read, you have to depend on everybody else. I was lucky to have gotten on at Maytag when I did because if I had to try to get a job like that now, I wouldn't make it. I couldn't fill out an application, couldn't take the tests. I was always afraid I would get caught," Mezo said. "But now that I can read, I've finally got some independence. I've got confidence that I never had. My life is a lot better. I don't have to hide anymore."

Hawaii Library Reinforces Time To Read With Your Children

Even in this island paradise, it's important to make time for reading...and turn off the TV sometimes.

More than 250 parents and children crowded into Kualapu’u Elementary School’s cafeteria to participate in the final session of the Read Aloud Program (RAP) on Thursday. Jed Gaines, founder of Read Aloud America in Hawaii, hosted the event. This is RAP’s second year on Molokai; the program consisted of six sessions and has helped to improve the quality of family life in the community.

Claudette Ka’ahanui regularly attended RAP and said her children have started reading much more. “It’s unbelievable what this program has done for my kids,” she said.

Ka’ahanui said RAP has encouraged her to read to her children. “I never did,” she said, adding she often found herself too busy with work. “This has really brought me to realize that I need to make time. You have to fit it into your schedule, whether you’re working or not. It’s only to benefit the kids,” she said.

Another parent, Amethyst Tuisamatatele, brings seven of her children to RAP sessions. Tuisamatatele said she hardly went to the library, but because of RAP, she now pays a visit at least once a week. She said a big change in her family is the recent restriction of the television, which has resulted in her children finding more productive activities to participate in.

Community libraries enhancing democracy in Malawi

“Nice believe that by introducing citizens to the basic rules and institutional features of a democratic political system, through democratic managed community libraries, helps in building the people’s trust in the system.

“The community must democratically elect people who will oversee the library, and then they should come with a constitution which will regulate the operation of the library. If all these seemingly small things are properly followed, democracy becomes institutionalised at the grassroots,” says Chikafutwa.

Digital Transition Looms, but Do Americans Have a Right to TV?

Digital Transition Looms, but Do Americans Have a Right to TV?

The huge information campaign and an incentive program are casting American taxpayers up to $1.5 billion. And it's illuminating to put the government's $1.5 billion allocation in perspective. Consider: The proposed 2009 federal budget for adult basic and literacy education is $574.6 million. The Rural Development program has approved 85 loans totaling $1.68 billion since 2002 to help fund broadband infrastructure rollout in underserved areas. Is nationwide availability of speedy Wikipedia queries as important as delivering Ryan Seacrest digitally to your living room?

See Also: IMLS Budgets [PDF]

Messaging shorthand seeps into formal usage

OMG! WTH r kidz riting 2day?

Are you finding students utilizing text-message shorthand to express themselves in classwork and other communications? It's a trend so it seems.

While students are more likely to forgo text-messaging slang and acronyms in school assignments, they often will forget to maintain a level of academic formality when communicating with their teachers via e-mail, dropping punctuation and using acronyms.

“You’d think they would think ‘Oh, I’m writing my English teacher,’ but they use acronyms and forget punctuation and capitalization,” but that's not the case. Many teachers will forgive the informality in e-mails, because it’s a practice they themselves have grown accustomed to.

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington recently expressed concern about what he called the “slow destruction of the basic unit of human thought, the sentence.” Mr. Billington said he fears the disjointed prose of text messaging and chat-room discourse has damaged young Americans’ ability to write clearly. Chattanooga Free Times has the scoop.

Bush's Report Card on Reading...Inefficient At Best

President Bush’s $1 billion a year initiative to teach reading to low-income children has not helped improve their reading comprehension, according to a Department of Education report released on Thursday and reported in today's NY Times.

The program, known as Reading First drew on some of Mr. Bush’s educational experiences as Texas governor (?!), and at his insistence Congress included it in the federal No Child Left Behind legislation that passed by bipartisan majorities in 2001. It has been a subject of dispute almost ever since, however, with the Bush administration and some state officials characterizing the program as beneficial for young students, and Congressional Democrats and federal investigators criticizing conflict of interest among its top advisers.

The rise of Literature?

Here's the argument: contemporary mainstream fiction is very different from the storytelling of the deep past because of a demand side shift. Women consume most fiction today, and their tastes differ, on average, from those of men. How do they differ? To be short about it men are into plot, while women are into character. This means that modern literary fiction emphasizes psychological complexity, subtly and finesse. In contrast, male-oriented action adventure or science fiction exhibits a tendency toward flat monochromatic characters and a reliance on interesting events and twists.

An A-level in Harry Potter: Experts fear ‘dumbing down’ as book becomes set text

Good News For Harry Fans: Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone is being offered as a 'set text' by the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA), the UK's largest exam board, which is responsible for nearly half of the country's exams. But horrified education experts fear Harry will rob the A-level of credibility.

Writing, Technology and Teens

From a new report from The Pew & The Internet American Life Project: Writing, Technology and Teens: Teens write a lot, but they do not think of their emails, instant and text messages as writing. This disconnect matters because teens believe good writing is an essential skill for success and that more writing instruction at school would help them.

Information alert

A recent survey shows many students from the so-called 'Google generation' lack the basic skills needed for online research, Wendy Wallace Says Many libaries have assumedyoung students have learned to use the internet for research simply by virtue of their age. But while many are proficient with Facebook and Wikipedia, they may not be information- literate. Many lack the skills to differentiate between authoritative information and amateur blogging.

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