Literacy

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.

Men - in general - are not ones for the books

"If I had to make a huge, sweeping, overgeneralized statement, guys probably read less - and less fiction - than women," says Jeff Garigliano, a senior editor at Portfolio magazine and the author of Dogface, a "guy" book about a punishing summer camp for kids who've been bad.

The reason men read less, Garigliano says, is that they think they should have outgrown the notion of make-believe, so they can't find as much enjoyment in fiction. When they do read, they tend to go for nonfiction and biographies. Just the facts, sir.

Where does the divide begin? And when?

Bush Mother & Daughter Discuss their New Book...Tune In Tomorrow on Today

Tomorrow morning on the Today Show, First Lady Laura Bush will act as guest host during the 9 am hour, participating in several segments, offering a tour of the Bush Family ranch in Crawford, Tex.,--and, with her daughter Jenna, discussing their new children's book, Read All About It! (HarperCollins, $17.99). Wonder if the shows ratings will go up...or down?

Clarion University Students Spread the Joy of Reading

From the University newsletter, a story about Clarion students in a new program working with literacy students on reading skills.

Volunteers from Education 414: Literacy Training, taught by Dr. Kathleen Murphy, assistant professor of education, are paired with Literacy Council clients through an arrangement with the Clarion University Center for Teaching Excellence. Murphy is in her second semester of working with the project instituted by Dr. Brian Maguire, associate professor of education.

The agreement calls for 30 Clarion University students to participate, 15 each semester. They receive three college credits for a 50-hour commitment. The Literacy Council matches them with an adult learner, who they will work with over a 15-week period, providing tutoring either at the Clarion University’s Carlson Library or the Clarion Free Library and even some at the Clarion County jail. The Literacy Council provides books and supplies.

“This helps the college students in their teacher training through this service learning option,” said Tucker. “They get experience before they do their student teaching. On the other hand, it gives the non-traditional adult a way to get an education in a personalized situation, not in a normal classroom setting.”

For the orthographically irked and grammatically grouchy amoung us . . .

From an article posted at AlterNet.org (no partisan politics involved in this one):

America, Corrected: Typo Vigilantes Check Spelling Coast to Coast

For centuries, travelers have crossed America to explore it, conquer it, settle it, exploit it and study it. Now, a small but righteous crew are traversing America in order to edit it. Jeff Deck, and his friends at the Typo Eradication Advancement League (Teal), are spending three months driving from San Francisco, California, to Somerville, Massachusetts, on a mission to correct every misspelled, poorly punctuated, sloppily phrased item of signage they encounter en route. Equipped with marker pens, stickers and white-out, they are seeking to scourge America's landscape of floating apostrophes, logic--defying syntax and other manifestations of laziness and/or illiteracy.

So, what do the signs say @ ure you're yure your library?

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