Literacy

Latinos discuss how libraries inspired them, changed lives

In all, nine prominent Latinos shared their memories of public libraries Saturday at the San Antonio (Texas) Central Library during a program called " Testimonios: How the Library Changed My Life."
For architect Jose Garcia de Lara, the public library was an institution of higher learning. He said college was not part of his family, but he knew he wanted to be an architect. So he read every book he could find on architecture.

LATimes.com - For Delta Librarian, The End

kctipton writes "Longtime librarian and library director Ronnie Wise is taking early retirement from his 30-year post in the Mississippi Delta and the LATimes is there to report on it (but free registration may be required to read the story, which is apparently a long Page 1 Feature).

How many have learned to read because of Wise? He lost count long ago. Hundreds, maybe thousands. He doesn't care. As director of libraries for Bolivar County, one of America's least literate places, where 41% of 40,000 residents can't read, Wise keeps his mind on what needs doing, not what's been done, which might be why he looks so cranky.

He glances out his office and spots someone headed toward Fiction, meaning another reader will soon discover the picklock words of Flannery O'Connor or Joseph Conrad, another person will soon escape the Delta, using one of Wise's libraries as the point of departure. Such is the hope, anyway, that's given shape to Wise's last 30 years.

It's a long time for anybody at one job, 30 years. For Wise it feels like 130, because he's spent most of it fighting arsonists, bureaucrats, censors, racists, tornadoes, apathy, poverty, thieves — and mold, that insidious green carpetbagger. He used to enjoy a good, clean fight, but less so lately. Lately, the hours have felt like days, the days like compressed eternities.

But eternity ends today. Come 5 o'clock, Wise is taking early retirement.

It's not a pretty story overall, how he busted his ass for 30 years begging for money and space for expanding the system, and how he used it extraordinarily wisely and effectively."

No Need for Reading?

Anonymous Patron writes "Interesting piece in USA Today about the future of reading "long" pieces of text.

Full story on
MSNBC".

"Revenge of the Book Eaters" - a Tour to Promote Children's Literacy

Starting on a six-city tour, the Revenge of the Book Eaters may (or may not) be coming to a theater near you (shows now through October in NYC, Chicago, LA, SF, Seattle and Ann Arbor). Stars of comedy (Jon Stewart), rock (David Byrne) and the literary world (Dave Eggers) will appear to help raise money for non-profit writing centers for children. The unique title of the show comes from a story written at a Brooklyn-based writing center by ten-year-old Rafaello Adler-Abramo.

Literacy Resources from the UN for International Literacy Day

Friday, September 8 is International Literacy Day (not to mention, 2003 - 2012 is the Literacy Decade). Today nearly 800 million people aged over 15 are illiterate and two-thirds of them are women.

The UN lists a variety of websites with statistics and resources here and from UNESCO, information on the history of International Literacy Day and activities around the world here.

Encouraging Reading With Dogs...and Cats

Most pets thrive on attention, and kids do too, which is why they make a perfect team for youngsters learning to read. This article is about R.E.A.D. -- Reading Education Assistance Dogs, a division of the mid-Atlantic organization, PAWS for People .

What happens? Kids read to animals. Think about it: Dogs won't laugh if you stutter. They won't correct a mispronounced word. Their loyal attention makes children feel supported as they practice reading. And recently, two cats, including three-legged Luke have been welcomed to join the READ team.

Study Concludes Learning About Art Helps Students Do Better All Around

In these days of educational cutbacks and 'No Child Left Behind', it seems that studying art is practically a luxury. But the Guggenheim Museum has found otherwise; a study to be released today by the museum, and reported in the New York Times suggests that studying art helps students improve skills in other areas. They specifically cited improvements in a range of literacy and critical thinking skills among students who took part in a program Learning Through Art in which the Guggenheim sends artists into schools.

Push for simpler spelling persists

From An AP Story: When "say," "they" and "weigh" rhyme, but "bomb," "comb" and "tomb" don't, wuudn't it maek mor sens to spel wurdz the wae thae sound? Those in favor of simplified spelling say children would learn faster and illiteracy rates would drop. Opponents say a new system would make spelling even more confusing.

Eether wae, the consept has yet to capcher th publix imajinaeshun.

It's been 100 years since Andrew Carnegie helped create the Simplified Spelling Board to promote a retooling of written English and President Theodore Roosevelt tried to force the government to use simplified spelling in its publications. But advocates aren't giving up.

What Effect Reading Has on Our Minds

Martha Brockenbrough Says Reading makes you smarter, and the more reading you do, the better. Why this is so and how the magic happens, though, is quite interesting.

In a paper called What Reading Does for the Mind, Anne E. Cunningham, associate professor of cognition and development at the University of California, Berkeley, makes the case that reading:
* increases vocabulary more than talking or direct teaching;

* substantially boosts general knowledge while decreasing the likelihood that misinformation will be absorbed; and

* helps keep our memory and reasoning abilities intact as we age.

Why D.C. Can't Read

The Washington Post takes a look at the D.C. public schools' misplaced priorities and shortsightedness.The result of this abysmal record is that a third of the city's high school students drop out without graduating. An equal percentage of District adults read at or below the third-grade level. More than half the city's schools -- including seven high schools -- have no librarian.

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