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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the Common Core dictates that by fourth grade, public school students devote half of their reading time in class to historical documents, scientific tracts, maps and other “informational texts” — like recipes and train schedules.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.”
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
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
Opinion piece in the NYT that has elements on information literacy.
Excerpt: People assimilate new information in a selective fashion. When people get information that supports what they initially thought, they give it considerable weight. When they get information that undermines their initial beliefs, they tend to dismiss it.
Eight Detroit-area public school students returning to classes this week are plaintiffs against a school system they say has failed them.
Their families and the American Civil Liberties Union say that the Highland Park school system has denied the students the right to learn to read, and that the state has a responsibility to fix that.
Michelle Johnson has five children in Highland Park schools. Her daughter is heading into the 12th grade, but can read at only about the fourth-grade level.
The indispensible Lifehacker on one aspect of what makes a leader great.
"Note how many business titans are or have been avid readers. According to The New York Times, Steve Jobs had an "inexhaustible interest" in William Blake; Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow; and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman called poets "the original systems thinkers," quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson. In Passion & Purpose, David Gergen notes that Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein reads dozens of books each week."
“Print knowledge” is an awareness of the mechanics of the reading process, like the fact that English is read from left to right and that written words map on to spoken ones. Adults often take this knowledge for granted, but research demonstrates that children benefit when these aspects of print are explicitly pointed out. In a study published in the May-June issue of the journal Child Development, for example, Ohio State professor Shayne Piasta and her coauthors report that when preschool teachers drew students’ attention to print while reading to them, the children’s skills in reading, spelling and comprehension improved. These positive results were long-lasting, too, still showing up a full two years later.
Why does James Patterson care about our kids’ reading habits?
At this point, rowdy adolescents clutch their free copies of Patterson’s young adult novel Maximum Ride and listen intently as he gives a prescription for success in writing, or, beyond that, life.
"You have to have a dream; you have to have passion. And I strongly recommend you have a back-up dream. You have to have focus. Outline, baby. Before you write anything, outline."
He tells them to write down the coolest story they know. The sentences might not be any good, but the important thing is to get the story down – polishing can come later.