New Orleans book project struggles

Hurricane Katrina has made an inner-city book project an even greater story of defying the odds.
MSNBC Covers the Neighborhood Story Project, started a year ago by New Orleans high school teachers Abram Himelstein and Rachel Breunlin. Five student books were published in June by the neighborhood project and have been a great local success.

Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha: Floating On The Information Super Riverway

Financial from Bangladesh, has a report on Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, a non-governmental organisation in Bangladesh, for its pioneering approach to bridging the digital divide and its commitment to providing free public access to computers and the Internet, said a press release.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation presented its 2005 Access to Learning Award of US$1 million to Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha.According to the sources, Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha provides educational services, access to technology and computer training to poor communities in a northern Bangladesh watershed through the use of indigenous boats converted into mobile libraries, schools and the Mobile Internet Educational Units on Boats programme.

Improprieties in Pres. Bush's "Reading First" Program?

One of Bush's signature education initiatives, Reading First provides more than $1 billion annually to public schools to help teach reading to disadvantaged children through third grade. Unprecedented in size, it is one of the few federal programs that isn't shrinking in this time of budget cuts. Congress is expected to distribute about $6 billion to schools by 2007.

A spokesman for Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., confirmed that an audit was taking place, opponents saying that the program has all but forced schools to buy textbooks and related materials from a handful of large publishers, several of which have retained top federal advisers as authors, editors or consultants. Gannett News Service story here .

Success is spelled r-e-a-d-i-n-g

The Gazette Reports from Montreal on Quebec schools will be the front lines of a labour dispute between teachers and the provincial government. Among the teachers' demands is more support for students with a variety of needs - learning disabilities, behavioural problems. Gazette education reporter Allison Lampert describes two groups of students who got extra help - and what it cost.Literacy is key to academic success in all subjects; indeed, some studies cited by Quebec's Education Department say girls do better at school than boys because they are more assiduous readers. This fall, the department is launching a literacy campaign that will invest $60 million over three years to improve school libraries.

It's August. Have the Kids Started Their Reading Lists Yet?

Summertime, and the living is e-a-s-y. But have the kids started their reading lists yet?

The Asbury Park Press (NJ) has an article on the age-old issue of getting kids to read, and which books will encourage the habit (Tolstoy, no; Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, yes). Kids, teachers and librarians chime in with their thoughts on the matter.

Group from Ithaca, NY draws praise

This editorial appeared in the Ithaca Journal. Ithaca is where I grew up and it is often described as "10 square miles srrounded by reality." Things like this show that is not always the case. I still live in Tompkins County and am proud of the area. - Bill Drew

The full story is at:
Literacy: Local group earns praise

There are times when we are reminded there's more to life's equation than cynicism comprehends. There are those who need, but there are tireless people doing wonderful things to help others.

Family Reading Partnership co-founder and Executive Director Brigid Hubberman's inclusion in the July 22 Newsweek “America's Best� feature is one of those reminders.

Nominated by Ithacan and Cornell staff writer Diane Lebo Wallace, Hubberman shares the spotlight in the feature with two Georgia mothers who created a medical research foundation, doctors who work with Africa's poor, a man who created a store that “sells� food to the hungry at whatever price they can afford, and a man who uses the outdoors to empower at-risk kids. It's a national stage and some grand company, and an honor Hubberman and all those behind the Family Reading Partnership richly deserve.

For most Tompkins County residents, the Family Reading Partnership has become as much a part of our reality as walks in cool summer gorges and hot-tempered debates about everything. For years it's been hard to drive or walk around the area without stopping to stare at one of the partnership's giant “Read to Me� banners, created and spread out around the county courtesy of the group's massive contributor network and coalition of individuals, schools, libraries and businesses. The group's goal is to promote reading as a family value - particularly reading aloud to young children to promote literacy and lifelong communication skills — and they put up more than banners to do it.

Australia Council's books promo

Crikey Says the site Books Alive is an annual initiative funded by the Australia Council promoting 50 "great read" books across a range of genres.

The 2005 program was launched this week and has roped in the internationally best selling author of Ice Station and Hover Car Racer, Matthew Reilly, to extol the virtues of reading.

Reilly has even written a free, limited edition, self proclaimed "page-burner" to mark the launch, entitled Hell Island.

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.

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