Literacy

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.

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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?

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