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 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."


Information Literacy Test from ETS

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.


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.


Guys (Don't ) Read

Good Washington Post piece that looks at the lower incidence of readers among boys. It's agreed that there is little agreement on why boys tend to read much less than girls.

``Part of it is biological and part of it is sociological, but boys are definitely drifting down,'' said Jon Scieszka, author of the ``The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales,'' and founder of the Web site, which is aimed at helping interest boys in reading. ``We've been testing kids in America for the last 25 years and finding out that boys are doing worse than girls,'' he said. ``But we don't do enough to change that.''

(Do have a look at Scieszka's site--it's snazzy!)


Libraries/Learning in Yemen Not Respected

Here's an op-ed piece from someone who decries the state of higher ed libraries and learning in Yemen. In particular he talks about how higher ed libraries are filled with young women who are more interested in socializing than learning. He also acknowledges that the women gather at the library because they are not allowed to gather elsewhere in public.

It is interesting to think, then, about this amusing irony: that only when women in this society feel comfortable in other public places, and when libraries can be treated with the respect they deserve, will we be on the path to true cultural greatness.

More from the Yemen Observer.


Libraries' network to be set up across country: Atta

Anonymous Patron writes "Hi Pakistan reports on The Higher Education Commission (HEC) intends to launch a major programme, aimed at creating and enhancing reading habits among the people especially the youth. "


Watching TV--Great Training for a Spelling Bee

Some kids prepare for a spelling bee by studying the dictionary. Others have their parents quiz them from lists of long and tricky words. Thirteen-year-old Jason Liao, whose native language is Cantonese, has a unique strategy: He watches television — especially “The Simpsons,� with the captions on.

Jason's technique of TV as teacher helped him learn English as a toddler (Sesame Street), and now he hopes it will help him to make it through the semi-finals to compete in the 78th National Scripps Spelling Bee in Washington, DC in May. Here's the Portland Tribune story.


Losing punctuation

slashgirl writes "An editorial lamenting the lack of punctuation these days (I wonder if she's read "Eats, shoots, and leaves"?). 'Animals with brains invariably have ways of conveying meaning and messages. Horses flick their ears and lower their heads to say they want to be friends. Peacocks fan out their tail feathers to signal their availability and ambitions to hens. People wink and pose in a multitude of body language ways that speak volumes.

And on paper, in English, there are a host of shapes and marks that communicate meaning. Letters of the alphabet more or less symbolize sounds. Capitalized letters signify some sort of special value. Punctuation marks indicate when to stop or pause, question or exclaim when speaking what is written; they provide a sort of frame around the ideas on the page, to help keep things organized.'

The rest here."


Swaziland Govt Blows the Dust Off the Covers in Libraries

Anonymous Patron writes " Has This Report on the Swazi government's efforts to increase literacy. They just announced new measures to revive school and public libraries, with improved training for teachers and librarians. The education ministry estimates that 70 percent of Swazis are literate, but the degree of literacy is under debate. The high number of secondary school students who failed English in recent exams was attributed to poor reading skills: three-quarters of students failing Standard 5 exams could not pass the English test."



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