Literacy

The joy of lexicography

Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today's print dictionary is poised for transformation.



Interesting line in talk: Paper is the enemy of words

Elementary school students in Guatemala will be able to borrow books from the library for the first time

TORONTO, Apr. 9, 2013 — Elementary school students in Guatemala will be able to borrow books from the library for the first time, thanks in large part to the work of librarians and library students.

Librarians Without Borders members from across North America will be traveling to the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Quetzeltenango (Xela), Guatemala from April 13-28, 2013 to collaborate on the development and operation of a school library.

LWB has partnered with the Asturias Academy since 2009 to support the Academy’s vision to build a sustainable community library in the school. This year’s on-site work marks a major transition for their library: we are implementing cataloging, searching and borrowing technologies (and training the staff on these tools) to enable students to locate and check out books for the very first time.

Many Guatemalans are restricted from getting a quality education, in part due to a severe lack of access to books and literacy materials. In a country where books are taxed beyond the reach of the 75% of the population who live in poverty, it’s almost impossible to get children excited about reading because many cannot get actual books in their hands.

This year, we plan to change that.

Over the course of 2012, with the help of a full-time on-site librarian funded by Librarians Without Borders, students far surpassed the reading goal of 4 books per year, reading on average some 14 books per year. Given this enthusiasm, imagine the impact on (the less than 60%) literacy levels of Asturias’ predominantly indigenous students and their families — once they can check books out of the library and bring them into their homes. This is an unprecedented opportunity in Guatemala.

About Librarians Without Borders -- Read More

LISTen: An LISNews.org Program -- Episode #235

This week's program provides a news miscellany.

Related links:

Download here (MP3) (Ogg Vorbis) (Free Lossless Audio Codec), or subscribe to the podcast (MP3) to have episodes delivered to your media player. We suggest subscribing by way of a service like gpodder.net. The production team's Amazon wish list can be found here.

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/us/. -- Read More

5:45 minutes (3.97 MB)
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New Reading Standards Aim To Prep Kids For College — But At What Cost?

Piece on NPR: New Reading Standards Aim To Prep Kids For College — But At What Cost?

Atlantic article about David Coleman, one of the major people behind Common Core

Ohio Third Graders Must Learn to Read or Repeat the Year

Profiting From a Child’s Illiteracy

THIS is what poverty sometimes looks like in America: parents here in Appalachian hill country pulling their children out of literacy classes. Moms and dads fear that if kids learn to read, they are less likely to qualify for a monthly check for having an intellectual disability.

Full article

Opinion piece in the NYT: What Should Children Read?

Opinion piece in the NYT: What Should Children Read?

Excerpt: For example, the Common Core dictates that by fourth grade, public school students devote half of their reading time in class to historical documents, scientific tracts, maps and other “informational texts” — like recipes and train schedules. Per the guidelines, 70 percent of the 12th grade curriculum will consist of nonfiction titles. Alarmed English teachers worry we’re about to toss Shakespeare so students can study, in the words of one former educator, “memos, technical manuals and menus.”

Literature is not Data: Against Digital Humanities

BIG DATA IS COMING for your books. It’s already come for everything else. All human endeavor has by now generated its own monadic mass of data, and through these vast accumulations of ciphers the robots now endlessly scour for significance much the way cockroaches scour for nutrition in the enormous bat dung piles hiding in Bornean caves. The recent Automate This, a smart book with a stupid title, offers a fascinatingly general look at the new algorithmic culture: 60 percent of trades on the stock market today take place with virtually no human oversight. Artificial intelligence has already changed health care and pop music, baseball, electoral politics, and several aspects of the law. And now, as an afterthought to an afterthought, the algorithms have arrived at literature, like an army which, having conquered Italy, turns its attention to San Marino.

The story of how literature became data in the first place is a story of several, related intellectual failures.

Full article at Los Angeles Review of Books

Drink a beer, open a book: The best bars for reading in New York

Now that fall is here, scant will be the days of reading on the lawn in Central Park or at an outdoor Brooklyn café.

And that, as far as we are concerned, is a good thing. There is no greater pleasure, after all, than pulling up to a bar with a book

Your brain and reading

NPR piece about brain studies and reading. Deep reading engages more areas of the brain. See full piece here.

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