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In her capacity as an international reading advocate, beloved Australian children's author Mem Fox shares a few thoughts on how children develop a love of reading.
As the second most literate country (next to Finland), Australia can boast about the number of children reading for pleasure (68%) and the significant number of boys that enjoy reading. Fox discounts the new government regulations that will allow extra reading credits for children that don't pass required tests in primary school as a cart-before-the-horse remedy; instead, she insists that reading aloud from birth to age three is what is most critical in developing a love of books.
A Washington Post Story, via The Detroit News, says the reading wars are heating up again, fueled by a scramble for $6 billion in federal money.
The reading methods practiced in P.S. 172 have won the enthusiastic approval of the chancellor of the New York City school system, Joel Klein, who embraced them last year as a model.
But they have been denounced as â€œunscientificâ€? by reading experts for the Bush administration, who advocate a much greater emphasis on phonics, the repetitive sound drills viewed by some educators as the key to early reading progress.
The dispute has become a test case for the implementation of President Bushâ€™s ambitious Reading First initiative, which aims to help every child in the country become a successful reader.
Without the federal governmentâ€™s seal of approval, New Yorkâ€™s reading program is ineligible for federal subsidies.
While tracking down something else, I came across an interesting article in the Journal of Industrial Teacher Education, Vol. 40, no.3, and it is on-line at Virginia Polytech. It is on â€œinformal learningâ€? and wasnâ€™t exactly what I expected to find. The study involved analyzing the advice experienced teachers would give first year teachers--i.e., what they had more or less learned from experience, not training.
The simulation work exercise asked participants to imagine that they have won the lottery and are leaving their current position. They have decided to write a memo to their successor containing their best piece of advice on how to survive in the job: what they know now that they wish someone had told them as they began their work in this position. Subjects worked individually and then in a group to place the advice into categories: instrumental, emotional, and political.
Because of the statistical tables and the literature review, this article is a cut above the â€œhow I did it goodâ€? articles that we all find so helpful, but which journals donâ€™t want to publish. Although written about and for trade and industrial education teachers, I think it would be useful for anyone in teaching, and in education in general. The political advice in the article is standard, but priceless for a first year person in any field, including librarianship. I wish Iâ€™d had something similar years ago in the library field--and perhaps there is something out there about informal learning and librarians. I havenâ€™t searched the LIS literature on this topic.
Studies show that FCAT scores up at schools with good libraries.
Good media centers mean better scores on the FCAT, according to a recent study. And yet media specialists are often overworked and inadequately compensated. With either claim, is this really the case? Read the full story and come to your own conclusions. Share them with all of us!
Librarians have long believed they provide more to their youngest patrons than a good time and an engaging story. Now they have more data to prove it.
A study of two dozen library literacy efforts released yesterday at the Public Library Association's conference in Seattle concluded that such programs motivate parents to spend more time reading to babies and preschoolers and helping them learn about letters, words and books.
At their recent meeting in Boston, the American Dialect Society named "metrosexual" "manscaping" and "flexitarian" as the newest words in the American lexicon. Story from the Seattle Times
According to the article, gay culture had a prominent impact on our verbiage last year. TV's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" spawned "zhuzh," which means to fluff up or primp. Hip-hop brought us the suffix "izzle" as in "televizzle" and "wait a minizzle." "Bling bling," as in flashy jewelry, has been clipped to "bling." Note to spell-checkers everywhere: better add these words to your lexicon!
From BBC news comes responses to a poll showing Britons knowlege and/or ignorance of popular culture and classic literature, including Wordsworth and Shakespeare. When asked to complete the line "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your..." from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, some people said swords or money rather than ears, but 71% knew that "the power of the dark side" was spoken by Darth Vader.
The ResourceShelf Dude, Gary D. Price, sent along an Interesting One out of Australia where Labor leader Mark Latham has promised every new-born child in Australia three free books in a $35 million pledge to improve childhood learning.
More parenting classes, adult-literacy education and screening for hearing and sight problems for all children at birth would also feature under a Labor federal government, he told the ALP national conference yesterday.
"This is a program that looks to the future, and invests in the future of young Australians," Mr Latham said.
This story from the Canada.com network reports on father-son book clubs and mentoring/intervention projects that bring average Joes into the classroom to read aloud and lead discussions. Assessment of boys who have participated in these programs indicate that male reading mentors can be an important factor in closing the growing literacy gap between boys and girls. Heather Richmond, a literacy expert at St. Thomas University in New Brunswick, says that boys need men to confirm the "guy rules of engagement" with a book.