Literacy

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.

Sound-bite culture gives books short shrift

Beverly in Illinois writes "Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionWriter Jennifer Moses writes a wonderful story on the value of flexing your reading muscle to make sound decisions in a sound bite world. She Says today's students — like their elders — are in the grip of what she calls post-literacy...."

How do children get the book bug?

One From The UK: 30 years of books for children divide Ion and Lusa Thomas from their children. In some respects the children's choice of stories is similar to that of their parents - right down to the titles in the case of Asterix and Tintin.

But generally today's children have a much broader range of books and authors to choose from. The subjects covered are more diverse than in the early 1970s, when adventure books were the staple fare for young readers.

Keep Living, Keep Learning - A Word A Day

A favorite site of mine is wordsmith, and the e-mail advisory 'a word a day' by Anu Garg.

This week's words are all book-related, as next week is TV turn-off week. Here's what webmaster Anu says in today's e-mail:

So many channels, so little worth watching! Do you sometimes find yourself muttering those words? Next week is TV Turnoff Week
so give that TV a well-deserved rest, and instead say: So many books worth
reading, so little time!

People in the US watch TV for more than four hours a day. That's equivalent to sitting in front of a TV for two full months nonstop every year. It's not for nothing that TV has been called the plug-in drug, the boob tube, and the idiot box. For more, see : factsheets and research.

It's time to redefine television, from Greek tele- (far) + Latin vision- (view), as something that deserved to be seen far, far away. Instead, get
closer to books. Cut your screen time and increase your page time. This week we'll explore a few words from the world of books.

Today's word is

belles-lettres (bel-LET-ruh). noun;

Literary works valued for their aesthetic qualities rather than
information or instruction.

Subscribe for yourself or your entire library at wordsmith.

Better grades? Thank a librarian

The first Canadian study linking school libraries to student achievement indicates that better libraries improve student test scores and add to kids' reading enjoyment.The Ontario School Library Association says the research, released yesterday, is the evidence it needs to make a case for more trained school librarians and better-stocked shelves.

"There's such a clear link between libraries and student achievement I don't know how the minister (of education) can ignore it," said association president Michael Rosettis.

Brazil-A Nation of Non-Readers

C. Miller writes "

MANY Brazilians cannot read. In 2000, a quarter of those aged 15 and older were functionally illiterate. Many simply do not want to. Only one literate adult in three reads books. The average Brazilian reads 1.8 non-academic books a year;less than half the figure in Europe and the United States. In a recent survey of reading habits, Brazilians came 27th out of 30 countries, spending 5.2 hours a week with a book. Argentines, their neighbours, ranked 18th. More here: More at economist.com"

Check it out Guys...Jon Scieszka's Cool Site

is called "Guys Read". The author introduces the site as follows: GUYS READ is a web-based literacy program I've made it to help boys find stuff they like to read. Get started by checking out recommendations from other GUYS READ visitors. Or go ask GUY what he thinks you might like to read."

So guys...check it out!

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