Literacy

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!

Searching for Dummies

Anonymous Patron writes " New York Times: Beginning in the early 1990's, schools, libraries and governments embraced the Internet as the long promised portal to information access for all. And at the heart of their hopes for a cultural and educational breakthrough were superbly efficient search engines like Google and those of its rivals Yahoo and MSN. The new search engines not only find more, they are more likely to present usable information on the first screen.

Higher education is fighting back. Librarians are teaching "information literacy" and establishing alternative Web indexes. Graduate students, in the front lines as teaching assistants, are starting to discuss joining Wikipedia rather than fighting it, as many instructors still, quixotically, do."

High schoolers and the never-opened book

Interesting column from the Detroit Free Press, in which a community college instructor offers her observations regarding the epidemic of non-reading in her state and nationwide.

Over and over, my students -- all adults -- tell me that too many school districts neglect to include provocative selections within their curriculum. The collection of choices made and the way reading materials are handled fail to inspire. Why educators would undertake such a questionable course is murky, but the results are not. Michigan community college students struggle to speak in complete sentences and are challenged when asked to write coherently. Will they perform any better during job interviews? Is this next generation of workers prepared to create cutting-edge products and services?

She also comments:


It's easy to buy picture books featuring the gentle antics of big red dogs, but it's much more difficult to pick out thought-provoking selections for a 16-year-old when a parent hasn't read a book since high school -- if ever.

Thanks to Reading Today Daily for the link.

Spending on books dwarfed by Computers

The BBC Reports Schools spend more than five times as much on computer-based resources as on books, an analysis suggests. The figures, reported by the Times Educational Supplement, also suggest schools spend two and a half times more money on exam fees than on books.

Ministers said numeracy and literacy hours had led to a rise in standards.

Woman helps fill new jail's library shelves

Amanda Allen is quite the super patron. She is the founder of Motor City Kids Book Drive, a nonprofit group that brings books to inner-city kids.

Allen, a Port Huron native, wants to expand the organization into St. Clair County. She decided to start by bringing books to the jail after hearing inmates didn't have many reading choices.
"It will help us because we have plenty of time on our hands while we're here," he said. "I'm not just sitting around, I'm trying to better myself. It would help if we got a couple of books to better ourselves."

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