Literacy

Non-Fiction Reading Improves Test Scores

According to reading educators, students can improve their SOL (Standards of Learning) scores by increasing their non-fiction reading.
Story here from the The Virginian Pilot

Douglas Reeves, founder of the Center for Performance Assessment, a national education organization, believes nonfiction reading and writing drives improvement on tests,
and laments an "overexposure" to fiction, that presumably leaves students "ill-equipped to absorb facts."

Reading to Kids: Pointers from Mem Fox

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.

Reading isn't taught by the book in N.Y.

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 “unscientific� 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 Bush’s ambitious Reading First initiative, which aims to help every child in the country become a successful reader.

Without the federal government’s seal of approval, New York’s reading program is ineligible for federal subsidies.

Informal learning

nbruce writes:

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 “informal learning� and wasn’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 “how I did it good� articles that we all find so helpful, but which journals don’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 I’d had something similar years ago in the library field--and perhaps there is something out there about informal learning and librarians. I haven’t searched the LIS literature on this topic.

More books equal better brains

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!

Library literacy programs have positive influence

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.

One million books for kids

slashgirl writes 'Ontario's North is being flooded with more books than Lieutenant-Governor James Bartleman ever dreamed of, as Ontarians' donations to native children approaches one million tomes.' Article is here.

Dialect Society Reveals Top Words of 2003

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!

Britons know Darth Vader Better than the Bard

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 Australian $35m plan to improve literacy

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.

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