Literacy

Don't Know Much about History

Rock star historian David McCullough spoke to a Senate hearing last month about the sorry state of history education in America.

McCullough said at the hearing that the problem starts with the training that teachers receive. "Too many have degrees in education," he said, "and don't really know the subject they are teaching."

The rest of this David Broder/WaPo column is here.

England to give free books to all under-fives

Anonymous Patron writes "Guardian Unlimited Politics Reports England's Education secretary to announce initiative designed to promote reading and help overcome class barriers by targeting very young.Every child up to the age of four is to get a free bag of books under a £27m government scheme designed to promote reading."

Turning kids into happy readers

It’s National Reading Month in Malaysia and once again libraries are leading the charge to get people, especially children, interested in books. But is that happening? Daphne Lee finds out. It’s interesting though how many parents want their children to read yet baulk at the task of leading by example. And when the subject of public libraries is raised, most have little to say that’s positive.

The true axis of evil: illiteracy, poverty and mental illness

David Rothman writes "Literacy programs in isolation just won't cut it in many cases. What if some people are too depressed to attend? And what if they're just distracted by the general hassles of being poor? Could literacy programs be missing the people needing them the most? This is old wisdom to clueful poverty warriors, but I'm glad to see it getting some airing in a British educational consortium's report summed up in the Guardian. While e-books (my own little cause) can help fight illiteracy, they are hardly a panacea--nor, even, are literacy programs themselves. Needless to say, cause-effects can go in all kinds of directions. (Found via Bookslut.)"

Getting Boys to Read: A Matter of Taste

Here's a clueful story about the secret to getting boys to read: give them more flexibility in reading material. More from the Montgomery (AL) Advertiser.

"By keeping a collection of books that embrace a wide variety of literary genre, we also usually find boys are more willing to read," Daffin said. "Limit their choices too much via the traditional choices, and most boys look at reading as a chore."

International Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey

kathleen writes "Highlights From the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALL) were released May 11, 2005.
The Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) Survey is an international comparative study designed to provide participating countries, including the United States, with information about the skills of their adult populations. ALL measured the literacy and numeracy skills of a nationally representative sample from each participating country.

The International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) is a large-scale, international comparative assessment designed to identify and measure a range of skills linked to the social and economic characteristics of individuals across (or within) nations. As our societies become more and more information-oriented, it is clear that adults will need a broad set of skills in order to participate effectively in the labor market, in political processes, and in their communities. They will need to be literate and numerate; they will need to be capable problem-solvers; and increasingly, they will need to be familiar with information and communications technologies.

IALS provides information on the skills and attitudes of adults aged 16-65 in a number of different areas, including:

* Prose Literacy

* Document Literacy

* Quantitative Literacy"

Biblical Literacy

Kathleen writes " The Bible Literacy Project reports the study, Bible Literacy Report: What do American teens need to know and what do they know? by the John Templeton Foundation that most American teens lack enough understanding of the Bible to be able to receive a high-quality education. [Templeton and his foundation work on the premise that scientific principles of evolution and the idea of God as Creator are compatible]. 'The Bible and Public Schools: A First Amendment Guide' is located in the Bible Literacy Project's "Curriculum Adoption Kit," which also includes a printable sample chapter of the forthcoming textbook, The Bible and American Civilization.
MyWest Texas.com reports that Midland Independent School District administrators are hoping to introduce a biblical class before the 2006-07 school year.

The First Amendment Guide can also be obtained from the First Amendment Center"

Helping Mississippi Read

tncorgi writes "April 06, 2005 - In 2000, the Barksdale family of Mississippi decided that the reading skills in its home state were unacceptable and became determined to improve them. A donation of $100 million by family members resulted in the founding of the Barksdale Reading Institute in Oxford.

http://news.bookweb.org/3388.html"

Information Literacy Test from ETS

Slashdot
points to the ETS's (Educational Testing Service) Information
and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Assessment
. The assessment
attempts to measure critical-thinking and technical skills that include
the ability to define, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, create, and
communicate information. Wired
journalist Amit Asaravala took a trial test, which 'may' include completing
tasks like "scanning e-mail messages for important attachments, looking
for documents using a search engine and picking the most authoritative
sources out of a set of search results." Asaravala suggests it's still
rough and doesn't (yet) coincide well with real world internet technologys
but that ETS is using feedback from the test trials to make refinements. -- Read More

When Reading Wanes, It's Time To Worry

kylere writes "Interesting op-ed piece I found in the International Herald Tribune states, "One of the surprising findings of "Reading at Risk" was that literary readers are markedly more civically engaged than nonreaders." I {author Gioia}find it a shame that it took a study to determine this fact." The author of this article, Dana Gioia , is the Director of the National Endowment for the Arts, whose agency funded the Survey of Public Participation in the Arts.

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