Literacy

Libraries Participating More in World Book Night

From Library Journal:

Library participation in World Book Night US is increasing, with libraries hosting launch events around the country for the fourth iteration of the annual April 23 event, which encourages public reading by distributing about a half-million free books and honors Shakespeare’s birthday.

Some libraries and bookstores host a special reception when the books arrive to foster community spirit among the volunteers. Last year, World Book Night US had volunteers in 5,200 towns and cities in all 50 states and a record 1,055 libraries and bookstores participate, program director Carl Lennertz said.

The New York Public Library (NYPL) main building on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street will host a public talk April 22 with several authors whose books have been selected for 2014 World Book Night US distribution. This is the first time NYPL is holding official World Book Night launch events; prior World Book Night events were held at the Barnes and Noble store in Union Square.

The guest list at the main library event includes writers Victoria Bond, Malcolm Gladwell, Garrison Keillor, Walter Dean Myers, Esmeralda Santiago, T.R. Simon, and Tobias Wolff. The talk will take place at 6 p.m. in the 250-seat Edna Barnes Salomon Room, and will also be live-streamed on the Internet.

I'm a "giver" for the third time and delighted to be handing out copies of Jamie Ford's "Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet." I will be picking up my books at my local branch library in Brooklyn, how about you?

The Decline of the American Book Lover

From The Atlantic. Subtitle is "and why the downturn might be over".

The Pew Research Center reported last week that nearly a quarter of American adults had not read a single book in the past year. As in, they hadn't cracked a paperback, fired up a Kindle, or even hit play on an audiobook while in the car. The number of non-book-readers has nearly tripled since 1978.

Does reading actually change the brain?

Does reading actually change the brain?
http://www.futurity.org/reading-novels-leaves-shadow-activity-brain/
"The neural changes that we found associated with physical sensation and movement systems suggest that reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist," says Gregory Berns. "We already knew that good stories can put you in someone else's shoes in a figurative sense. Now we're seeing that something may also be happening biologically."

When did there become too many books to read in one lifetime?

A tough nut to crack to be sure, but Randall Munroe has taken a stab at it on his wonderfully quirky What If? site.

"The average person can read at 200-300 words per minute. If the average living writer, over their entire lifetime, falls somewhere between Isaac Asimov and Harper Lee, they might produce 0.05 words per minute over their entire lifetime. If you were to read for 16 hours a day at 300 words per minute,[4] you could keep up with a world containing an average population of 100,000 living Harper Lees or 400 living Isaac Asimovs."

Don't just teach your children to read ...

Quote attributed to George Carlin

"Don't just teach your children to read ... teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything."

One thing to question is whether this is a Carlin quote.

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Adding Up The Cost Of Low Literacy Among Adults

Low literacy rates for adults can have wide-ranging effects on those around them. They may rely more heavily on government services; their children may not get that extra hand with schoolwork; their families may not get sufficient financial support.

But for the millions of adults with low literacy, the ability to read, write and speak English might offer them the most important opportunity of all: a chance to emerge from the shadows and participate as equals in society.

Full piece on NPR

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The Pursuit of Ignorance

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Americans Score Poorly in Numeracy, Literacy and Computer Skills

Are reality shows turning our brains to mush?

The Washington Post reports: Policymakers and politicians who wring their hands about the mediocre performance of U.S. students on international math and reading tests have another worry: The nation’s grown-ups aren’t doing much better.

A first-ever comparison of adults in the United States and those in other democracies found that Americans were below average when it comes to skills needed to compete in the global economy.

The survey, released Tuesday, measured the literacy, math and computer skills of about 5,000 U.S. adults between ages 16 and 65, and compared them with similar samples of adults from 21 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

The Americans are “decidedly weaker in numeracy and problem-solving skills than in literacy, and average U.S. scores for all three are below the international average and far behind the scores of top performers like Japan or Finland,” said Jack Buckley, commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the data collection arm of the U.S. Department of Education.

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